Recently, one of my good friends got hired at a new job.  This was the sort of dream job that one absolutely couldn't turn down.  But she almost never took the recruiter's call.  You see, this recruiter called her back for an interview almost 7 months after she initially applied.  We talk a lot about the candidate experience and how to communicate with candidates through the hiring process.  But rarely do we turn it around on its head and say what does a candidate expect from me?  Is it realistic? Let's discuss some prevalent recruiting myths that candidates cling to during the hiring process.

Dispelling the Myths of the Hiring Process

During the hiring process, candidates have many expectations and hopes.  But are their expectations realistic? It's worth examining these to see if our Talent Acquisition teams can do a better job of communicating with candidates and adjusting their methods during the hiring process.

  • Myth #1: The best candidate will win the job. Sometimes candidates go after jobs they think are a perfect fit for their skills.  And they may actually be the best fit for the job.  However, there are many reasons why they may not land the job.  Consider that the candidate may be up against a dozen other candidates for one position.  At that point, the hiring manager could be looking at any number of factors- who wants more money, who knows their software better, who can get along with a difficult team member, or more.  There are many reasons why a top candidate may get passed over for a job.  But knowing this myth about the hiring process can help hiring managers and recruiters to communicate better with candidates.  The challenge for employers are to communicate the intangibles the team may also be weighing as a part of their decision.
  • Myth #2: If you haven't heard back from the hiring manager in a couple of weeks, the position was filled. Sometimes, the hiring process just drags on.  At times, it can be difficult to get all the stakeholders together to weigh in on a candidate.  Or it can be a case of trying to ensure there's enough money in the budget for a new hire. There are many reasons why the hiring process may slow down after an interview.  The challenge for recruiters and hiring managers here is to streamline the interview process.  Software such as video interviews are a great solution to reducing the amount of time to hire. And this can be a great way to ensure your time to hire doesn't force you to miss out on the top candidates.
  • Myth #3: Companies post every open job position.  Many jobs never make it to the job boards.  This is because hiring managers may be looking at promoting individuals internally.  Or, they may be interested in another candidate that they're personally acquainted with.  There are many reasons why jobs aren't advertised.  However, this may limit employers from attracting passive candidates who may apply on a whim.  The challenge is for recruiters and hiring managers to offer these jobs internally but to balance that opportunity with a brief public posting of the open position.  Without passive candidates, the Talent Acquisition team may not have a full pipeline of candidates for future job interviews.  Consider opening up the position after an initial internal offering.
  • Myth #4: Cover letters don't matter. Many candidates think cover letters just aren't important. However, a candidate's cover letter is an opportunity for candidates to give insight into their personality and convince a hiring manager they're more than a set of skills on the page. My sister once got a job interview because the interviewer admired her volunteer work for search and rescue. The Talent Acquisition team should be aware of this myth and seek to proactively position the need for a cover letter as an opportunity for candidates to show off what makes them special.
  • Myth #5: Nobody will discover exaggerated skills.  CareerBuilder cites that approximately 1 in 4 candidates lie on their resume. Clearly, candidates are under the impression they won't get caught.  But not every hiring manager will blissfully accept what candidates claim as truth. Increasingly, recruiters and hiring managers are implementing pre-hire testing.  This can include everything from software tests to advanced typing, grammar. and skills tests. While screening tools such as background checks and credit checks have come under fire in recent Ban the Box legislation changes, pre-hire testing has not.  This is an excellent way for hiring managers to find out whether candidates really are a good fit for the job.

When it comes to hiring a new employee, the hiring process can be difficult.  There are many expectations from candidates and a looming pressure to provide a wonderful candidate experience. But if candidates are not being realistic, there are lessons that the Talent Acquisition team can take to improve their hiring process.

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