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Recruiting Horror Stories And How To Fix Them With A.I.

Adrian Dixon

May 21, 2019

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Have you been wondering if your recruiting horror stories are things that only happen in your company? Trust us, they aren’t.

There are any number of recruiting horror stories in the world. The whole reason that “candidate experience” has become such a big concept in the last 3-5 years is that, well, oftentimes candidates were receiving either no experience or a very negative one, and that was harming companies. They were losing access to top talent and harming their brand and bottom-line. Now more people are discussing how to treat candidates, and that’s a welcome change.

We decided to comb LinkedIn and the Internet (and some of our friends and family) for recruiting horror stories, then show you how they can be fixed with better processes and products.

Failing in Phoenix

We heard about this one on a LinkedIn thread. An Operations Director in Phoenix was applying for a job. You know the drill: She read the job description, researched the company online and on LinkedIn, and thought she would be a perfect fit. We have all encountered those jobs. So, she put a ton of effort into the application, applied, and … crickets. There wasn’t even an email indicating they had received the application. Nothing. Nada. So, she tried the careers site and the generic email addresses provided a few times to try and get context. Nothing. Nada. Zip. Zilch. This went on for two weeks, then three. She assumed she hadn’t gotten the job, but wanted to check to be sure — so she reached out directly to a recruiter on LinkedIn to see if she could learn anything. Nada there as well. A month had passed with no communication, and she was incredibly frustrated with the brand. And then, A-HA! A two-line, generic rejection email came across at the 33-day mark. She read it quickly, somewhat in shock that this was the first thing she had heard from this company, and deleted it, never to contemplate that brand again — even for purchase.

The Solution Here: What is described above is terrible candidate experience. It’s very poor communication and context, which are the ideas at the heart of candidate experience. To improve communication without killing your recruiting staff in terms of time spent responding to candidate inquiries, use a chatbot for FAQ and other communications. Create additional efficiencies with automation.

Blown Away in Boston

This was from one of our friends.

He was unemployed for 2-3 months, and had a newborn daughter at home. He needed some source of revenue, and quickly. His wife was starting to get concerned, as were both sets of parents. There was a lot of pressure. He was throwing his resume everywhere he could on the Internet. He was definitely in a lot of databases.

He wanted to work in communications, or even email marketing. He didn’t necessarily care about for-profit vs. non-profit, and was even flexible on location.

What kept happening? He’d get alerts from recruiters (and even job boards) about nursing jobs, trucking jobs, and even a baggage handler job at Logan Airport in Boston. He had no background in any of these things and they certainly weren’t helping him get a job and solve some of these pressurized life issues. And let’s be honest: a company who needs A-Player nurses (a truly important job) isn’t doing too well if it’s targeting communications professionals.

The Solution: For the companies involved here, resume screening at scale using AI. Smarter, more efficient decision-making. Better targeting and better candidates. For our new dad in Boston? Keep trying, and hope that one of his target companies is approaching screening in a smarter way. Hang in there. Tech might save you. (Soon.)

Wailing in Winnipeg

Drea applied for a job at her dream agency. She had a few interviews (4, to be exact) and ultimately didn’t get it. She monitored the place on social media, though, and 3-4 months later, she saw a similar job role posted. They had told her “We’ll keep your resume on file!” Well, that was clearly a lie! Here was a similar job and she had been an active candidate less than a half-year before and now, nothing. What was the deal? When she reached out to her contact in the previous job search, he gave her a generic response akin to “Well, we’re opening the search and being strategic!” Nothing about the process from a few months ago. Drea was sad.

The Solution: The organization should be using candidate rediscovery to mine “old gold” in the Applicant Tracking System. They should also be sending nicer emails to previously-successful candidates. (Tech can’t solve that one, though. That’s humanity.) And if the recruiter doesn’t want to deal with Drea, again, he can be optimizing that work over to chatbots who are equipped to handle FAQs on open searches.

What recruiting horror stories do you have from your own life? And do you think tech could solve them?