Public Relations

Regret to inform that you are not shortlisted (After 18 rounds!)

Unreal or ridiculous? Am I exaggerating? Oh sorry, let me first set the context.

If you happen to be on a job hunt, then the unending number of interview rounds, could actually overwhelm you. And now you think I’m trying to look for a shortcut from hardwork! Really, may I turn around the tables and say how incompetent are the hiring teams in decision-making? How can one humanly need beyond 5-7 rounds to make up their minds and evaluate the talent they intend to hire or not. 

Absolutely understand the need to evaluate talent across various functions, avoid any unconscious bias and ensure expectations are met, from various teams. Sometimes, its integral to understand if the talent themselves know their jobs well. Are they fine-tuned to think out of the box and explain their responsibilities to another individual, who doesn’t belong to their industry? This is an interesting way to conclude that the individual you intend to hire is brilliant at influencing opinions. This skill is indeed not restricted to the consumer facing roles, anymore, but applies to one and all (especially today).

But if the ultimate focus is to hire talent who would seamlessly fit into the organization’s culture funnel, deliver beyond expectations and be a great team player – then why are the hiring processes so inhuman?

Again, this varies as the years of experience vary. The higher the number of years to your expertise, the (insane) number of interviews are directly proportionate to that. I fail to understand the connection, if you do, please explain. For me, it’s simple, someone starting off or with minimum years in their hat, should display a spark to learn and grow. Else, there is something drastically wrong (and twisted). Someone, with enhanced grey cells, should be malleable to learn, focus on growth and enable everyone around to grow. Difficult to assimilate these skillsets? No? So, why so many interview rounds?

And I forgot to address the elephant in the room!

Why does every round or interaction, for hiring, begin with this unbelievably ridiculous question – Please tell me something about yourself! Now multiply that to the number of rounds (approx. 10!?) and imagine you got to be creative each and every time. Otherwise, the future employers might think – you so staid in approach – can’t innovate about yourself. I mean, there are 2 decades of experience in the bucket, with relevant skillsets that the job needs, enough goodwill within the industry that you belong to, and come with an open mind to keep exploring. Now, how many different ways do we have to express this?

So, if you expect the candidate to go through innumerable, unending, clueless – interactions – to bag that coveted role you have announced, then could you take few minutes to read about the same candidate? Instead of asking them to talk about themselves. When will this age-old archaic question be thrown out of the window! When?

Let me be clear. The number of rounds is not the problem. It’s the treatment, rather the journey, and the result. It’s when all the interview rounds begin with typical questions, where the candidate has to specify what their resume already did – that is the problem. Aren’t you taking enough notes? Could you pass it on the next interviewer? Maybe ask the candidate to express what value they can bring, ask them about different situations in their previous job roles (and please don’t try to force fit it with your culture!).

Infact, if you want a new candidate to respect your focus and love for the organization, then its time you begin respecting the candidate’s valuable effort, as well. Instead of one-on-one interview rounds with leaders from various teams, could you plan a panel with all together? I mean Miss India, Miss Universe, Miss World – all of them get rated for different skillsets in each round and ultimately have a panel questioning them. Sorry, am I reminding you of something you already knew? Then I’m hoping you will communicate the same to your hiring managers or the important decision makers to take the leap of faith and evolve with better practices.

So, this was the journey piece (what candidates go through). Now, moving on to the results.

If you ask me to show my email inbox, from couple of months prior, I felt that the inbox should be renamed as – Regret to inform you – I literally lost count. But that’s really not the bone I’m picking here. It was unprofessional of the companies to take so much of my time for the interviews, but then send me across a standard, rather automated reply, as a closure. Come on, atleast at this stage use humans to write back or just make a call? Hiring teams want autobots to match the resume keywords, then evaluate their written assignments, calculate the scores from all the interview rounds and ultimately send out an automated response. And this is all part of hiring humans!?

When you decline an opportunity for someone, call them. You will be surprised to see that they would take this in their spirit and in fact ask for more to become better. Yes, everyone intends to do that. Because it’s called behaving like a human being. If you don’t have time to call, then write an email that helps the other individual to understand what they could do better, the next time round.

Don’t just narrate stories of empathy and inclusion for your employees, extend that courtesy to people you still haven’t hired, yet. That’s called making a difference, because not many are nice to others without getting anything out of it.

After months of going through this arduous process here is my humble request:  Make the hiring processes simpler, shorter and mindful of the effort everyone puts into convincing brands to hire them.

If you want people to believe you are a people’s brand…start believing in people.

Pooja Trehan (Now Hired)
PRPOI, Co -Founder

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