Lazy hiring to the extreme

If you follow my blog, you know that one of my pet peeves is #LazyRecruiting and its cousin #LazyHiring. Lazy hiring/recruiting is rampant in any job market. When it’s an employer’s market, it takes the form of hiring companies kicking back, and having job seekers do all the work. In a candidate’s market, like we are in now, lazy hiring is represented by hiring companies that appear desperate to fill positions and will extend offers to pretty much anyone. Because the current job market reflects the former, I would ask that you consider the following story I recently heard from a client. For context, my client works for a multibillion-dollar, publicly traded company, and not some small schlock shop. At any rate, read on:

We had an opening that was vacant for months. It had finally gotten to the point where the hiring manager had to fill the position, or risk losing it. I was on the interview team, and I will say that we saw many qualified, capable candidates. I told the hiring manager multiple times that the salary he’d budgeted was not market rate, and that we wouldn’t be able to make a good, experienced hire if that was all we had to work with. He dismissed my concerns outright.

Months go by, and we eventually interview a woman I will call Irina. From her resume, I glean that Irina has 20+ years of experience and a relevant degree. She can clearly write well; we bring her in for an interview. She shows up looking like a hot mess. Unkempt hair, frumpy, sloppy clothing. Filthy tote bag in tow. But, I decided to overlook her appearance and give her the benefit of the doubt. She goes on and on about how awful her current workplace is, how she’s underpaid, and how she’s in an abusive relationship with her employer. I mentally write her off. I mean, who does that during an interview?

I get on the subway to go home, and who sits down next to me? Yup, it’s Irina! For the next 20 minutes, she tells me how awesome our company is, how she would love to work with us, and how she could make such great contributions. She even says that she is looking forward to working with “the gentleman with the sparkling blue eyes.” (I had no idea who she was talking about!) She gets off at her stop, and we go our separate ways, and I assume, I will never hear from her again.

Two days later, the hiring manager tells me that he extended Irina an offer! Why, you ask? (As I asked!) Because she is a good writer and she grew up in the same neighborhood as the hiring manager did. Now, here is the best part of the story. She turned the offer down! She decided to stay at her current place of employment. Now we are right back where we started.

Whew. So much to unpack here. First of all, to avoid #LazyRecruiting, it is imperative that HR and hiring manager research current salary benchmarks for the positions for which they are recruiting. Those benchmarks may be higher or lower than they were a few years or months ago. This is reality. This is the free market. You need to respond to changing trends. Second, regardless of how desperate you are to fill your open requisition, you need to be alert for red flags, such as being unprepared (in dress and presentation or knowledge) for the interview, trash-talking former employers, or just plain crazy. Lastly, hiring decisions should be based on empirical evidence as to how effectively the candidate could solve the business problem at hand. Not, as you will note, where the candidate grew up! Luckily, this team avoided making a bad hire. This time. Hopefully, they’ve learned a lesson.

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