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Thursday, March 06, 2008

Slow Hiring

I am applying for an internship. I understand that the job is low priority to them, as it is indeed an internship, not full-time. But the hiring process is very slow. I believe I had a successful phone interview with a member of their HR, then was told that HR was awaiting a response from upper management regarding the position. The wait has now been a month long. I have been in contact with my interviewer and she welcomes me to call back and check on my status, but the status is unchanging. Each call is the same, "I'm so sorry to keep you waiting. I will let you know as soon as .. . "

If they weren't interested in hiring me, surely I would get a verbal rejection when I speak with them, or the cold shoulder. But instead, I get the response that the hiring process has been halted, due to the need of feedback from upper management. Are they trying to turn me away?

If they are trying to turn you away, they've got the wimpiest recruiter this side of the Mississippi! (Please note, I don't actually know what side of the Mississippi you are on. For all I know this job is actually on an island in the middle of the Mississippi. You're going to be acting out Tom Sawyer for tourists! I knew it!)

Here's how the hiring process should go:

1. Manager decides there is a vacancy
2. Recruiter does what it takes to bring in several qualified candidates
3. Manager and friends interview candidates
4. Decision is made
5. New person accepts fabulous offer
6. Person starts job--total time, start to finish 4-6 weeks.

Here's how it ends up going many times.

1. Manager decides that there is a vacancy.
2. Recruiter starts looking for qualified candidates.
3. Boss disagrees. "Even though Jane left, you can do the work without another headcount. I'm transferring your headcount over to Heidi's department.
4. Recruiter sets up several appointments with qualified candidates
5. Manager says, "Ummm, I may be losing the headcount, but let's interview anyway."
6. Recruiter cringes, but goes forward.
7. First interviews happen
8. Boss finds out and is livid. Massive political nightmare ensues.
9. Recruiter puts all candidates on hold
10. Department misses important deadline due to lack of staff.
11. Boss agrees that headcount is needed.
12. Recruiter calls back all the candidates
13. It's been so long that 3 of the candidates have dropped out. She starts over again.
14. Round 2 of interviews. Candidate from first round is wondering "why is this taking so long?"
15. Heidi throws a hissy fit. "You said I could have the headcount! I've started recruiting!"
16. Heidi's recruiter comes in and yells at the other recruiter. Big political nightmare ensues.
17. Candidate calls back, "How are things going? Has a decision been made?"
18. Recruiter says nicely, "We're still in a holding pattern. I'll let you know."
19. Then a hiring freeze comes from the top. "No hiring without VP approval."
20. Manager and Heidi rush to fill out paperwork to get VP approval.
21. VP is a wimp and signs both approvals, not knowing there is only one headcount.
22. It keeps going until Evil HR Lady gets a headache.

So, in short (too late), they probably aren't trying to get rid of you. They are probably trying to make up their minds and there's all sorts of stuff going on behind the scenes. Just keep looking for another job. Never place all your eggs in one basket. You may get the job and you may not. Keep looking elsewhere.


Anonymous said...

lol!! you work in my company?? :-) Too sad that this is a common pattern.

Anonymous said...

No, she works at my university! I almost wrote her a note about this exact thing only I was the person trying to hire someone!

Best of luck to the prospective intern.

Anonymous said...

EHRL - spot on again. Unfortunately, this is a common occurrence no matter what setting - university, Fortune 500, etc.

Anonymous said...

EHRL - spot on again. Unfortunately, this is a common occurrence no matter what setting - university, Fortune 500, etc.

Evil HRISguy said...

Just like my company too---Albeit we would have an additional step.

Manager completely changes the job requirements and does not tell the recruiter. Manager yells at recruiter for bringing up now "unqualified" candidates.
Recruiter yells some unprintable comments.

Anonymous said...

I feel like you just explained my life....

Anonymous said...

In one of my blog articles, I called this the "Interview Gauntlet."

What I still don't understand are two things:

1. If the position is so important to be filled, why would we delay filling it -- or be so indecisive about telling candidates that can't fill the position that they are no longer in consideration?

2. As an potential employee, what does this indecision tell you about the rest of the decision making in the organization -- and that weighs on your willingness to engage in the position if you get it.


Katherine said...

Hahahaha! We end on "A job offer is extended contingent on extensive background check which 1/4 candidates fail (mainly due to the fact they can't follow instructions). This results in a whole new round of interviews (why we don't take our second choice, I'll never understand. Probably because it's now been 6 months since we've made the choices and maybe some one new is out there.)"

But I do have to say since we implemented an electronic hiring/recruiting system, we've gone from an average 8 month hiring time to 3 months. It is getting better...

Anonymous said...

Good to know Im not alone. :)

Anonymous said...

And it's always harder for an organization to make up its mind when there isn't much mind to make up.

I'm developing an Decision Duration Factor, in which the speed (and possibly wisdom) of a decision varies inversely with the number of levels involved in the decision.

Anonymous said...

What about this cycle?

Hiring Manager and Recruiter agree on position specs. Both are content.

Recruiter finds various candidates, one in particular has all the traits, but misses some minor aspect of required specs. Hiring Manager says keep looking.

2 months go by with more candidates interviewed, but still no match. Recruiter is concerned, but swallows hard.

3rd month goes by.....Hiring Manager missing deadlines and starting to look bad in his department. Berates Recruiter for not bringing good enough candidates. Recruiter replies that perfection is unattainable and that Hiring Manager had a good slate long ago.

4th month - Hiring Manager tells Recruiter to hire that young lady who had most of what he wanted in Month 1. Recruiter swallows harder, bites tongue deeply, and attempts to reach young lady. Young lady took offer with competitor company.

Recruiter hires Search Firm in desperation. Hiring Manager thinks, at last, I am getting competent support.

Month 5, Search Firm provides candidates. Hiring Manager hires first remotely qualified candidate. Company pays big fee.

Month 6, New Hire resigns. Too much work, too much expected.

Rinse, Repeat, and Recycle.

Magdalena Masluk-Meller said...

Dear EHRL, I always enjoy your cool insight and the common sense you use to explain the world.

As an opposite to slow hiring, I propose Just-in-time hiring (and I don't mean hiring of Temporary & Contract Staff)

Anonymous said...

Alas, we've created a Monster!

Too much analyzing, examining, and searching always ends in finding nothing more than what's in your own "front yard."

Folks, this is not "American Candidate Idol."

It’s simply finding a qualified candidate [within 80% tolerance of requirements], interviewing it, and hiring it.

Anonymous said...

Uggh, I am going through this right now, waiting now a month to hear on a position. Why is it that even supposedly great companies can't get their act together? I'm applying for a junior level position -- not for the CEO of the company! There's no reason why the process should come to such a screeching halt after the company displayed such interest in me. They just delay, delay, delay, but they never deny! If you don't want me, just freakin' tell me! Don't tell me to wait!

Anonymous said...

Currently experiencing this! First recruiter calls saying they love my resume and even send me the exact job description. Piece of cake - did similar projects in grad school. Two weeks later Round One, i get grilled by senior dev managers. Next day they call back very much impressed. Another two weeks pass. Round Two, interview with entire team and they're similarly impressed. Four weeks i am leaving my comments here. No decision has been made as of yet. 8 weeks in a total and no decision. Incredible!

Anonymous said...

The HR Ladies or Men I think for the most part are some serious WEENIES LOL!! Or something is wrong with the company that you are looking to get hired by for the internship. Another serious question I would ask yourself is if say this was a full time position or your internship could possibly turn into a full time position with the company and they took this much time would you want to work for a company that takes so much time making decisions. Then down the road for example let's say you ask for a raise they most likely will keep delaying, pissing you off you want to know the answers but the HR people or bosses keep stalling because they think they have to go through the hire ups and don't have the balls to make up their own minds and decisions. I think in this situation you have to take it into your own hands call the company, ask them if you are one of the top choices. If you are on the top of the list or the only choice to get the position then you have the control to tell them you need a decision say like within two days or so and say if I don't hear back from you by then you will be gone and have to look elsewhere. That way it puts a fire up there asses to do something quick or they will have to start the miserable process all over again :)!!!

Anonymous said...

I curretnly going through same scenerio. Company contacted me, asked me to resond in writing something about myself. Sent off a great response which intiated a quick comeback from VP Sales that they want to me meet very soon to inteview. then proceedd to knock their socks off in interview and was contacted by regional sales manager to meet to discuss my interview and the position. they in the meantime had checked my references and confirmed they wanted to do this hire quickly. Met with S/M and he would be my direct supervisor and we bonded quickly and he outlined the job and possible start date which would have been a month from then. He then qualified that he was recommended me to the position but HR decides if they are going to hire. He was defintley sent down on orders from the VP to say only certain things and that he could not commit to the hire as he nows passes the file to HR. He said testing and physical next step then was approved offer made. that was 3 WEEKS ago. I realize that I'm not a priority but I just do not understand the HR culture. no sense of urgency or follow-up. Everyone I talk to explains this is the norm and to be patient as hiring is very methodical with proces and procedures because if the hire does not workout the HR has to wear it. but very frustrating and disconcerning. Thanks for the vent!

Anonymous said...

I myself had many graduating classes that entered my class in the beginning of the year not knowing the structure at all, but once done with this class, ooooh weeee did they skim through a resume without wasting their future boss's time with long papers, perfectly worded and straight to the point thats all I have to say :)

-Love all
Garry B

Anonymous said...

Me too. Going through a similar pain-in-the-butt. It's so interesting that when a job is posted it describes the company (in this case) as a leader blah blah blah. I mean the company I am talking about IS THE LEADER in the sports industry in Europe but it has been about six months! After a follow up call, I found out that the HR specialist is now on vacation and will not be back for another 2 weeks and that his colleague would handlematters in his absence. It turns out, Mr Colleague is NEVER at his desk and doesn't respond to emails. SO FRUSTRATING. No wonder HR Departments have a Terrible reputation.

Anonymous said...

Thank you!

I finally understand why this one company keeps asking me to come in for an interview, then ignores me for a year, just to ask me to come in for another interview (for three completely different potential positions by the way, only one of which they told me about beforehand...)!