It’s the HR department,
stupid!

 

I first heard that from a guy who hired 120 people in 12 months. Before that, the company had 10 employees. The first thing they did – hire a head of people. 

 

Don’t get me wrong.

 

Not many companies would grow at such a rapid rate. What’s important here is the process behind it. It’s also that a head of people role becomes vital if you want to retain employees. Even, the founder’s could’ve done a great job in recruiting people. Most founders are good at this.

 

Yet, if they didn’t build a proper onboarding process, such team hyper growth would’ve turned into one epic d-i-s-a-s-t-e-r.  What do you think the employee turnover was going to be if they didn’t prepare for such rapid hiring?

 

Yet, most companies don’t know how to or don’t see the importance of having the right hiring and employee onboarding processes in place…

 

I mean, forwarding CVs to hiring managers and emails to interviewees is admin work NOT talent acquisition. Not to mention that it’s admin work that can and should be automated in the 21st century… Yet, I’ve been a witness where people with the title HR partner in 2020 do exactly admin work. It was unbelievable to witness, yet there’s still a bunch of such dinosaurs out there.

 

How to improve talent acquisition ?

What feeling do you get form the careers & about page?

Lack of information about culture and working style of the company may indicate the company doesn’t pay much attention to that. For me personally, that’s a red flag. In case it’s an early stage startup, chances are they probably didn’t have the time to take care of that. In that case I’d lookup the LinkedIn profiles of founder’s and try to extract information from there.

Information about values, photos of people, short descriptions are all indicators of a company that cares to nurture a value system and has a standard in what’s expected as behaviours and collaboration. If there’s such information, it’s natural for you to evaluate if you have a cultural match with an organization or not even before applying.

TaxJar‘s job page is a great example. No wonder they are a company with 150+ employees and a bunch of rewards for high customer satisfaction. 

How detailed is the job post?

Generic requirements not tied to objectives, stakeholders and collaboration expectations may be an indicator that the company doesn’t know what exactly they are looking for and probably copy pasted requirements from a generic posting on the web. Do you want to be part of such an environment and do you think it sets you up for success?

In-depth job specific requirements, outlined expectations, information about culture and interview process steps are all indicators that the company really thought carefully about what they need and how they expect a candidate to help them achieve it. If you know yourself well enough, at this stage you already know if you want to invest time in that application.

Post “apply” button experience

What happens when you click on the apply button in the job ad? Is that triggering your email? Lack of an applicant tracking system in a mature organisation with 75+ employees may be an indicator of a lousy HR process. Such lousiness could be present in other parts of the business. I’d double check for other red flags.

Applicant tracking system and HR technology may not only make your experience as a candidate better. At small to medium sized start up/scale up companies HR tech is an indicator of a well thought recruitment process. Again, process oriented thinking at such small scale companies could be an indicator of an organisation with progressive thinking. 

 

Final thoughts

If you have a poor application experience, chances are you are dealing with a small team still figuring things out with priority to get break even. . If you are up for adventure, then probably you’d have to expect to onboard with one of the founding members and roll up your sleeves and get up to speed fast. 

If you’re applying for a more mature company, a poor application experience may be an indicator of a company going though transition or even a leadership that not very people-oriented. In general all those are indicators for a poor choice as a next career step.