• Neil Bailey

Is recruitment broken? A candidates perspective

This last eight weeks of redundancy have been interesting ones when looking for new roles. Over the period there have been some shocking practices and a definite lack of consideration for the candidate’s time and circumstances.

If you search online for Ghosting, there’s much published about candidates ghosting recruiters, a practice where candidates suddenly disappear from a chain of communication or simply don’t turn up for an interview. I read somewhere as much as 1 in 10 candidates.

However, this has been happening progressively more often to me as the candidate. Three practices seem to be prevalent:

1. Long, drawn-out processes that take weeks to work through (when as a candidate money can be tight and finding a role quickly is key).
2. Attending a first interview (whether phone, video or face to face) and then never hearing anything, even after chasing.
3. Job adverts that don't include a salary range.

Let’s look at the first one.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’ve also been in the position as the hiring manager and of course you want a process that will help you get the right person for the role. But it seems increasingly that an interview process can take weeks and weeks to work through with initial phone interviews, then several face to face interviews, plus a presentation or dreaded role-play and psychometrics.

When you need a job to pay the bills (most people I know don’t just get a job for the fun of it) being put through a process that at times can take three months to get a rejection at the end, how is that respectful? Even worse is when maybe the presentation and interview questions seem from the outside to be an attempt to get free ideas and advice for solving their business problems.

As for the second point...

This is the one I’ve now been on the receiving end of three times in the last 5 weeks. I did one phone interview, one video interview and travelled not a short distance for a panel interview. For each I was promised to be told the outcome within an average 4 days. I’m still waiting 3 weeks later. I’ve emailed and left various voicemail messages…nothing…no response. These three were all employers.

I’ve also had four conversations with recruiting agencies who’ve seen I’m looking for a role on LinkedIn, been promised to be put forward for several roles and then have heard nothing. Again, I’ve chased through LinkedIn and nothing back.

It seems to be a disheartening trend that candidates are treated with a lack of respect for their time and effort. Most like me I’m sure are seriously looking for a role, not just any role, but one where they can belong, add value and make the best use of their skills. It seems a shame when recruiters and companies are prepared to show a lack of courtesy for their effort.

An automated rejection email would be better than nothing. At least you can then move on and stop hoping.


as a candidate it makes it very difficult to know whether it's worth applying for a role when a salary range isn't given. Surely it would help recruiters for candidates to deselect themselves because the salary is either too low or too high. Recently I put a lot of effort in to an application for an L&D role in London for a role with no salary given. All told I spent a good few hours doing the application. I was chuffed to get an email inviting me for an interview. I chased twice to get some more details on the role so I could prepare for it to eventually be told the salary was a third of my previous salary; absolutely untenable for a London commute. I could have saved myself and the recruiters time by deselecting myself right at the start.

And so some thoughts.

Recruiting companies, look at your processes. Where can they be streamlined to shorten how long candidates are left waiting between interviews or presentations? Time is likely to be key for their future.

Please put on at least an approximate salary, or give an idea somehow. Trust me, it'll help you receive more relevant applications.

...and finally. Recruiters (agencies and employers) please remember you have someone's life in your hands. Keep candidates up to date with decisions. If you say you'll let us know by the end of Monday please make sure you do; we'll be biting our nails, staring at our phones all day.

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