Raison d'être - the ways we mess up tech hiring

Here are some typical ways we mess up tech hiring.

the ways we mess up tech hiring
the ways we mess up tech hiring

Even though I give my thoughts and intentions about this site in the “About” section, I've been thinking about what exactly I want to write about and how I intend to structure it. While I don't have a good answer for the structure yet, I gathered several topics in the form of draft stubs.

I'd like to give some clarity and start the conversation… hence this post.

The intended audience for this site are hiring managers, recruiters, recruitment coordinators, talent acquisition managers, engineers (and others) doing interviews, and even CTOs who want to form healthy, performant hiring setups.

As a teaser, I've gathered a shortlist of how companies and candidates usually mess up their hiring process:

  • Companies often oversell the role, the company, the team, career possibilities. They promise the perfect workplace, working with the best people ever, or redefining the future of X, having it better than FAANG. Then reality strikes after joining.
  • Companies can be slow 🐌 and unresponsive throughout the process, losing candidates or making them frustrated and unsure about the place.
  • Interviewers frequently fail in being empathetic, making the process feel inhumane and cold, which prevents candidates from showing their best capabilities and making the company unappealing.
  • Many companies severely lack a structured process and end up with plenty of biases and unfair evaluation of candidates. This results in great candidates being rejected and bad hires.
  • Interviewers also tend to check for the wrong signals and skills. They don't know how to assess soft(er) skills, and they are looking for irrelevant signals in the tech rounds, again resulting in unfounded hiring decisions.
  • Interviewers and recruiters not investing time to actually look at candidates' profiles and connect with them. This results in cold, transactional discussions, makes the company look unappealing and misses the opportunity to break the ice and thus enable better candidate performance.
  • Because of lack of effort or fear of candidates suing, companies rarely give good feedback during or after the process. As a result, many candidates fly blind.
  • Hiring managers and talent acquisition fail to partner up, resulting in a broken process and artificial handoffs.
  • Hiring managers make unrealistic and late requests to talent acquisition. “Please get me 5 seniors by the end of the month”.
  • Hiring managers cling too much to their definition of seniority and downplay learning skills, the role of onboarding and mentoring. As a result, great candidates don't make the cut.
  • Lack of regular calibration of salary ranges – the market is moving fast, and companies have to react.
  • Not thinking of internal hiring and internal job advertisement. This makes an excellent source of candidates nonexistent, plus it's a missed opportunity in retaining talent.

Enough bashing of the hiring side, let's look at how candidates typically shoot themselves in the foot:

  • They don't invest in their profile/CV – yes, resumes make sense even nowadays, often they are the first point of contact. Many recruiters need to look at a ton of CVs in a batch, if they can't make sense of one, that's out.
  • Juniors and career changers typically don't invest in their portfolio – when candidates don't have enough good experience in the job, the best way to compensate is with showcasing hobby projects.
  • Not even looking up what the company is about. It's not about being interested or not, but the interviewers will wonder what they could expect from you in the job if you jump on calls with no context whatsoever.
  • Not reading/listening to the instructions for interview steps. This can both hinder their performance (as they won't know what is expected and what is not) and show red flags about their communication style or skills.
  • Failing to understand and practice different interview steps. Aiming for clarity in your communication, speaking what's on your mind while solving a task or being familiar with e.g., the STAR method aren't optional, and it's hard to just wing it.
  • Unrealistic salary expectations. Just because you read on Hacker News that there's an engineer making X doesn't mean you'll get that from any random company. Do your research. Yes, there's room for negotiation, but if you're starting from 2x what the company's willing to pay, that negotiation likely won't happen.

I'll be covering these topics, and more.

Now, let's get back to hiring!