A subpar interview process is a chief reason why IT pros turn down job offers. Here’s how your hiring team may be sabotaging its chances of landing top talent in a tight market.
If you were to call Sherlock Holmes to help you discover why top tech talent who you’ve interviewed declined your reasonable offer, he might call your mystery common. But the killer is not — as you might believe — the mercurial nature of candidates, a failure of education, or anything outside the room where the interviews happen. It’s more likely that your process or team are inadvertently undermining your own efforts.
“People blame the candidates, but the interview process is the main reason people turn down jobs,” says Barbara Bruno, author of High-Tech High-Touch Recruiting: How to Attract and Retain the Best Talent by Improving the Candidate Experience.
It could be the questions you ask, the people asking the questions, or a host of other missteps that telegraph a subtle message to candidates to move along.
I asked hiring managers, recruiters, and directors of talent what — specifically — hiring teams are doing to cost them those key hires they so desperately want.
You’re fishing with the wrong bait
Candidates end up in your interview room because they responded to your job description. That’s your bait. As with actual fishing, the bait you use has a lot to do with what you catch. You might want to check that you are targeting the right people and expectations.
“There seems to be a huge disconnect right now between traditional job requisitions — that are a laundry list of skills — and how candidates will be evaluated on the job,” Bruno says.
Bruno suggests ditching the laundry list and instead taking a hard look at what your team needs in this role. “I always ask employers, ‘Can you give me five performance objectives?’ or ‘How will the candidate be evaluated in six months?’” Bruno says.
Once they are forced to answer those questions, she finds hiring teams discover that much of their “must have” list won’t be needed in the position. Even worse? There are many more skills — like the ability to prioritize, problem solve, communicate, and ask for help — that aren’t in the job description but that anyone who hopes to succeed in the role will need to possess.
Step back from your shopping list and think instead about what success in the role would look like. Then come up with skills and experiences that would genuinely help.
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