Recruiting Stuff That Made Me SMH This Week

Most likely I’ve shared before that I consume A LOT of content (daily) on various business topics – a hefty chunk of it being HR and recruiting related articles, blogs and social media conversations. Earlier today I came across this post describing 5 Things a Candidate’s Salary History Reveals about Their Personality.

My Salary Means WHAT?

It’s starts off with this line “Two of the main reasons for asking for a candidate’s previous salary are to help you with your starting salary negotiation and to determine the size and scope of their role within their former/present organization.”

I’m sure many people reading that will agree and find absolutely nothing objectionable about that statement. I, on the other hand, don’t believe the amount one company decides to pay a person to do a particular job is automatically the appropriate way to start a salary negotiation. Nor would I consider a person’s income an accurate basis to assess the nature of their current or previous role(s).

Most (perhaps all) places I’ve worked established pay rates or salary ranges for each position using their own internal or external criteria - not information obtained by job applicants within the context of seeking employment at that company. While each firm relied on its own priorities and methodology, the compensation structure was typically comprised of elements such as value of that position to the company, organizational hierarchy and comparable level positions in other functions, along with objective market data obtained from formal salary surveys conducted by and purchased from official compensation data entities.

Having job applicants disclose their earnings during the process of applying for a new job is a relic of “how we’ve always done things”. And, for that reason alone, I’m prone to questioning that practice (in general) and even more so when I see it rationalized for the reasons provided in the above example.

Beyond that concern, the remainder that piece stretched into the territory of hocus-pocus, fortune-telling, tea-leaf reading in the form of “personality assessment” that I certainly hope was just the outlandish mind-wanderings of someone practicing creative writing and not intended as a serious screening and selection technique. The idea that how any given company decides to compensate its workers has any correlation to the personality of such workers is nothing short of ridiculous.

Do we really need to invent new ways to inject bias and assumptions into an already incredibly subjective hiring process?

How about we just stick with how and why this money exchange takes place? Companies have work that needs to get done and elect to pay “qualified” people what they deem a reasonable amount of cash to do it. Those people in turn decide if they are willing, able and interested in doing that work in exchange for the pay a company is offering. If and when that arrangement is no longer mutually agreeable, the parties part ways and the cycle continues with different companies, different work, different pay and different workers.

Why do YOU request salary information from applicants and what do YOU gather from doing so?

Referring or Deferring to References?

During this week’s Recruiting Animal show there was a discussion about third party recruiters (or agencies) requiring candidates to provide references to be checked prior to the recruiter introducing the candidate to the hiring company/client for the possibility of an interview. That topic expanded onto the Recruiters Online Facebook group where multiple comments were in agreement and others were opposed to that practice.

Not that I’m entirely convinced that the procedure adds much value beyond possibly a slight dose of comfort in the due diligence department, I’ve always believed reference checking should take place when an offer is imminent or once an offer is extended. I view the request for references at any earlier stage as a sign of distrust (of the candidate) or a lack of conviction (on the part of the hiring manager) to make an eventual hiring decision.

If you’re on the fence about a candidate why not discuss that with him/her directly to give him/her an opportunity to address the source of hesitation. If you are already leaning toward not believing what a candidate has shared with you about his/her qualifications, experience, education or any other information, why would you waste time or resources confirming your suspicions?

Where do YOU stand on the timing of requesting references and conducting reference checks?

Hung Up on Decade-Old Minutia

During a conversation with a fellow industry contact, he shared with me the excruciating detail a head of recruiting went into during the “walk me through your resume” portion of an in-person interview. For whatever reason, the recruiting leader (hiring manager) seemed obsessed with spending the bulk of the interview poking around the details of very distant past positions (10+ years earlier).

That was accompanied by dwelling on rudimentary questions in which thorough answers and examples had already been covered during the above line of questioning. And, more importantly the type of work performed should have been abundantly obvious given the fact that these two individuals do the pretty much the same thing for a living.

It was as if the head of recruiting had zero ability to discern anything relevant about the interviewee’s abilities unless it came in cookie-cutter “been-there, done-that” circumstances coinciding with the scripted questions she was reading. It also didn’t impress my contact that this hiring manager had apparently not bothered to review and familiarize herself with his resume in advance and chose to delve into it then and there for the first time.

Do YOU think it matters to the process to acquaint yourself with a candidate’s resume before the interview takes place?

Do YOU make an effort to develop relevant questions pertaining to the position being discussed or just cover what the candidate does/did elsewhere?

Please tell me what you think about these points and/or feel free to tell me I'm crazy and wrong! @TalentTalks

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