6 Outdated Interview Practices That Make You A Horrible Recruiter

Floppy disks

6 Outdated Interview Practices That Make You A Horrible Recruiter

There was a time when floppy disks were the rage. You could throw a few floppies in your bag and get access to 5 megabytes of storage, and that was great, even high-tech at the time.

But if you hold a floppy in public today, don’t be surprised if passersby scan the area for the cave you emerged from.

Yes everything changes eventually, and those who succeed are those who can keep up with change.

Yet in many areas of recruitment, we find people who are holding on to ancient practices that should have seen their last days years ago.

Many highly talented people lament about the lack-luster interview experiences they’ve had, and from the evidence available, it’s clear that many recruiters are harming their ability to recruit top talent by sticking to interview processes from the 18th century.

And so in our post for this month, I would be shining the light on 6 interview practices that should be scrapped right away, by every recruiter on the planet.

1. Using a precise, rigid set of questions, every time.

Interview a surgeon, same questions. Interview a programmer, same questions. Everybody has to fit into a specific mold of what is considered an ideal employee.

There are probably a thousand problems with this approach, but let me bring out two. First, you end up hiring people with a set of criteria that ensures they are all alike. This can harm a company because diversity in personality and talent is great for creativity.

The second and most obvious problem is that such cookie cutter criteria are not adequate to determine if individuals are suitable for the particular roles for which they are being considered.

2. Interviewing people you do not plan on hiring.

I read a post recently from a candidate who apparently had a great interview with a company for a clearly advertised position, but who (after discussing a start date with the company) got a call from HR and was informed the position never existed.

Here’s how the candidate felt:

“I am so angry and confused. I spent a ridiculous amount of time on this job. I updated my resume, wrote a cover letter, filled out an extensive online application. Then I did an hour-long exam to show I was qualified. Then I did a phone interview, using my vacation time at work. Then I completed a detailed online profile with the company and did a background check that required me to provide the dates and addresses for every job I’ve ever had and every place I’ve lived for the past 10 years (I even had to reach out to previous landlords and roommates to make sure it was accurate). And for the interview itself, I spent countless hours preparing for different questions. All for a job that doesn’t exist.”

Frankly, you can’t read that without feeling sorry for this candidate. A recruiter who is in the habit of performing interviews just to fulfill company policy, or for any similar reason, is quite frankly an unkind person. I can’t put it more pleasantly.

There are however times when a company might perform a few interviews just to see what’s out there, and there’s nothing wrong with this as long as the candidates are duly informed about the purpose of the interview.

3. Letting HR do the entire interview.

Many companies no longer make this mistake. Nowadays you often have to sit with the manager of the department you are applying to, as well as a few team members before you are considered for the job.

And this makes sense. Of course HR should coordinate the interview, and possibly perform the first interview. But when a candidate shows promise, it is time for them to be interviewed by those who know best, what is required for the role. And who better than the department manager, and other potential work mates.

4. Using a long, drawn out interview process.

The suggestion above doesn’t mean the candidate has to be interviewed by the whole company. Some companies perform so many interviews per candidate that their process has appropriately been termed “Death by interview.”

For example, the CEO of one technology firm required that each new candidate goes through “17” interview sessions. Now if I had seen this in a comedy column, it’ll be funny, and I’d laugh, and I’d move on.

But to know that a company actually wants (or wanted) candidates to go through 17 interviews just makes me wonder, because this is inherently a waste of time and resources for the company, and torture for the candidates.

In the past, Google also had the practice of subjecting candidates to double digit interviews.

“Fortunately, its well-earned death-by-interview reputation forced Google to eventually conduct internal research that demonstrated that ‘after four interviews, you get diminishing returns.’” – Eremedia

5. Not following up with a candidate after an interview.

I wrote an article about poor recruitment practices last year (Read it here) and this item also made that list. Maybe I’d start randomly including it in every article I write, just to get people to take note.

The truth is, it is quite awful for a person to spend many hours preparing for an interview, go through the tough interview process, and then sit down and watch their phone and email until they decide to give up.

When people who had this experience were polled, many decided that they would not become customers of the company involved if they needed the goods or services it offers. So aside from being unfair to the candidate, this practice can also make you lose customers.

When candidates do not make the cut, find time to tell them they didn’t. If you are short for time, send out an email blast to them. A simple BCC to all candidates in this category may even do the job. And this should only take 10 minutes of your time.

6. Selecting people based on biased factors (university attended, race, etc.)

The best candidates may not have attended an Ivy League University, so if you tend to give preference to these candidates, you are narrowing your talent pool, and harming your process.

Also, while we want to believe racial bias is completely behind us, the truth is, it isn’t. A recent research concluded that African-Americans are 16% less likely to be called for interviews.

There are many possible kinds of bias in recruitment, some may even be unique to a particular recruiter. However, a good recruiter should be able to get over any bias to ensure employees are selected based on how suitable they are for the role, and nothing else.

How Can You Apply This Information

This list of outdated interview practices is by no means exhaustive. It only brings out some of the major practices that make job applicants reconsider starting a business instead of working with your company.

You can start from this list and weed out these practices from your process if any of them are still being used, and then go on to examine your whole recruitment process to see what else should go, and what should remain.

The fact is, the modern business world evolves at the speed of light. And recruiters stand in the forefront of each company’s effort to keep up (and even lead) by bringing in the right talent. But if your recruitment process is outdated, you may end up being a drain on your company’s success.

Nobody wants to be that.

By: Mesheal Fegor
Sales & Support

The Impact of Skills Management on Business Performance

Skills Knowledge, Abilities

The Impact of Skills Management on Business Performance

In our modern business climate, companies are made or broken by the amount and kind of information they use in guiding business decisions, and each day, new ways to gather data and new applications for available data are explored.

Since there is a general consensus that a company’s most important asset is its people, reliable data about people’s skills and how they relate to business goals should have tremendous effects on every company.

Many companies have thus implemented skills management systems, some for more than a decade now. And so, ample time has passed to assess the impact skills management has had (and can have) on business performance.

I recently published a whitepaper that analyzed this topic. The paper provides an in depth view into the experiences of companies that have implemented this system, and how it has improved businesses in 4 major ways:

1. Bridging the Skills Gap.
2. Effective Employee Development and Succession Planning.
3. Getting the Right People into the Right Positions.
4. Financial Benefits.

Download the whitepaper here:

White paper cover

By: Mesheal Fegor
Sales & Support

Why Do Companies Use Skill Management Systems?

Talent Management

Why Do Companies Use Skill Management Systems?

(Exploring Skills DB Pro’s Top Use Cases)

“What are you trying to accomplish with our system?”

If you ever plan to book a demo with us, you can be fairly certain this is one of the first questions we will be asking you, hopefully after pleasantries.

We often receive requests for demos from business people who want to find out how our system can help them with their requirements.

Today, I’d be sharing some of the most basic and popular use cases of our skill management system, based on what our clients want to accomplish with it.

It’ll give you an idea of what other companies are using skills management for, and why it has become quite popular.

And if you were looking for reasons to justify implementation of skills management in your company, you’ve come to the right place.

No 1 – We need a way to manage and score employee skills

Many companies simply need a way to know who has what skill, and how good they are at it.

A company with hundreds or thousands of employees can hardly make the most use of its talents if they do not make an effort to keep their skills list organized.

Many employees have multiple skills and talents – much of which may only come to light when employees are asked to rate themselves.

Self Assessment
Self Assessment in Skills DB Pro

Here’s a common scenario – Kerry, Julia, and Mark were hired for their knowledge of the web and were assigned web management tasks. However, they also know how to craft delightful newsletters, but since this was not required for their job, they kept it to themselves.Their company which has over 3000 workers is in need of someone to assist in their marketing efforts by creating newsletters. They decide to hire from the outside.

Can you imagine how many such superfluous hires may be taking place in a company? Many of our clients can.

Companies have thus opted for skills management that provides a way for employees to score themselves so as to get their people into the right activities.

No 2 – We want managers to be able to rate employee skills

This is another common requirement we get during demos, and for good reason.

While employee self-assessment is great, a second opinion is usually needed to help ensure the data in the system is accurate. That is where manager assessment comes in.

Surely, we believe employees will rate themselves properly – nobody wants to rate himself an expert only to be given tasks he knows nothing about. However, we (and our clients) also recognize that people may not always be the best judge of their abilities.

Manager Scoring is thus required to combat both overly modest and overly confident ratings.

Let’s say a worker gives himself a 3 on a skill, but the manager has worked with this person and realizes he is actually more skilled that he credits himself, the manager can then rate him a 5 on the skill and thus ensure he engages in activities suitable for his skill level.

The Manager Rating feature in Skills DB Pro is single blind, which means employees cannot see the scores assigned to them by managers.

Note: A manager’s rating of an employee does not overwrite the employee’s rating of themselves. They are both available for use and a manager or admin performing an evaluation can decide to use either or both.

No 3 – We need a way to search among our employees for people with required skills.

Many companies ask for this feature so they can make effective plans for upcoming projects. Others, so they can get the right people into current projects.

We can surely see the sense in that – selecting the wrong people for a project could tank it even before it starts.

For such clients, we gladly demonstrate how our Expert Search feature fills their use case.

Let’s say you need five people who are expert in project management, and can speak some Spanish. You simply select both criteria, set the level of competency you want for each, and click search.

The system searches among your employees for those who have the skills and skill levels you selected and returns the list for you to choose from.

Besides skills, employees can also be sought based on certifications. And so if you want the selection above to only include experts in project management who are PMP certified, you add this to the criteria and the results are limited accordingly.

Check out this video to see how expert search works

No 4 – We want to be able to generate skills reports for individuals, departments, or the whole company.

How much of this skill do we have? How much do we need? Who are close to having the necessary skills for this upcoming project so they can be trained? What are our skill gaps and how can we bridge them? Which employees have certifications that are expiring soon?

These are just some of the skill-related questions that could arise in an organization, and many of our clients know it is vital to have a precise way to get the answers.

Skills DB Pro offers 20 different reporting options to help you do just that.

The reporting tool we feature most often to our clients during demos is the advanced analytics module. This module offers a drag and drop function that allows you create custom reports by simply dragging and dropping filters.

Advanced reports
Skills DB Pro Advanced Analytics Reporting Tool

These reports do come in handy – whether for discussing with employees about their career, assessing a department or the entire company, creating outstanding proposals, or acing that presentation.

And we know how much you love charts – I mean, why represent information only in tables when it can also be done with lines and rectangles and pies right?

So when our clients request it, we show them our reporting functions that can also be displayed as graphical charts.

Other Use Cases

We want to be able to schedule and track employee training: Keeping track of training attended by employees complements the skills management process.

This is yet another way to know precisely how proficient employees are, and what roles are suitable for them.

We need a way to know if workers are competent enough for their job position: Skills DB Pro has an entire module just for this purpose. Employees can be compared against their job position to see if they are competent enough, or against an open job position to determine if they are suitable for promotion.

By: Mesheal Fegor
Sales & Support