Face It. Your Hiring Process Is Broken.
Startups and companies of every size — you’ve failed me. And you’ve failed yourself.
By the time you finish reading this article, I’ll have posted it 3 times.
- I published this rant on bad hiring practices on this account as a draft, that I stupidly shared with Reddit, that was retweeted by Indeed employees. Which scared the absolute crap out of me. So I deleted it.
2. I published this rant on bad hiring practices on an alt account because people kept asking for the article since the link was ‘dead’. People are still asking for the article on Reddit at this very moment.
3. And now, knowing that underemployment, unemployment and the ills and ails of everything in between, is far too topical a topic, far too big a bruise, and far too vital a verse to leave hanging around in the ether that is Reddit comments, I have published it again.
I’m absolutely terrified. So why am I publishing it?
I’m publishing this because of the 134+ comments this post received on the platform (and counting). And the 2.8k+ views. And the 12 people so far who have connected with me on Discord, email, reddit, and Linkedin over this topic. And the 87% upvotes. Which to the Reddit layman means 87% of people who voted on the article liked it. And out of those 134+ comments, there are countless stories championing the sentiments of it directly. The sentiments being: Your Hiring Process Is Broken.
I’m publishing it because Indeed staff like Erin Khoo have reached out and taken notice. As has Workey, a startup geared towards making as much of the hiring process anonymous as possible. People are listening. So I can’t silence this topic.
I can’t silence myself on the state of the hiring processes in America, because I’d be silencing the people who commented, and the people who upvoted, and all those that didn’t, but agreed in silence. It’s just not right to take that away from them.
So, buckle up, buttercup. This is going to end badly for me, possibly, but it may end better for you. It may shine a more direct light on what’s been going wrong in job-land and may influence some change. I hope. Fair warning: I edited it a bit for clarity.
RIP my career.
I’m shooting myself in the foot right now. But I’ve been up since 3:30 am, on a Saturday no less, applying for jobs. Since 3:30 in the morning. Let that sink into your brain for a moment while I huff some coffee. And as I huff coffee, I realize in this moment, that the process of hiring is broken.
Employers that can’t seem to hire the right candidate: the wages you wish to pay are most likely too low. The requirements for the job are decidedly and irrevocably too high. Or, better yet and more realistically, your hiring manager (bless his or her heart) doesn’t actually know what the job entails. So they write random stuff that has nothing to do with anything and pick job applicants arbitrarily. Your hiring process is broken.
You get too many applicants because the job market isn’t as good as people say it is. And you don’t bother reading even 10% of the applications you get because you hired Jim from accounting’s second cousin Steve who only knows how to stick post-its on his forehead and shout “YOLO!”. Your hiring process is broken.
Reddit, the meeting place of relatively anonymous internet-savvy humans also realizes that the hiring process is broken. Seemingly, they all realized it before I did, while I was slogging through job portals for two months.
We have grown adult persons asking what to wear in interviews that have interviewed before, countless times. But as they have not landed the position, they are wondering to themselves astronomical things like:
- Do I wear a different colored shirt?
- How tall should my high heels be?
- Should I wear this blazer, or this identical blazer in a color one shade down?
- Here’s my crazy resume that dwarfs even Kira’s nuts skills — should I apply at McDonalds?
- I’ve been unemployed for 1 year but job hunting every day — am I literally just incapable of being hired?
- Should I lie on my resume?
- I’m a high school freshman and I’m already worried about job hunting.
And this type of post that I see literally every day from a different Reddit user, each time:
No interviews no nothing — any advice, losing hope
Before you point out that they probably just suck (and by extension, I also suck) let this sink in for a moment. ‘No interviews no nothing — any advice, losing hope’ is a sentiment that is posted literally every single day. The majority of Redditors are Americans. Think about that. With an unemployment rate of 4.3% we have topics like that. Is your mind blown yet?
I keep getting rejected from jobs for which I’m qualified has 52 upvotes and 36 comments and counting.
Update: We’re at 72 upvotes and 63 comments.
To hit the malaise of the underemployed or unemployed American worker home even harder, here’s a thing I did with computer things and data. Which is a job requirement for many of the marketing jobs I apply to.
The last time I scraped Reddit using Zapier and imported data on the keyword ‘depressed’ in the /r/Jobs forums it came up in the thousands upon thousands. Your hiring process is broken.
I also know how to apply this skill to marketing, and I’ll bet my sweet butt that many of your marketing managers had no idea they could glean topical information from Reddit, automated, to cast a net on trends for current content marketing initiatives before they read this article. Which also means your hiring practice is broken, since Zapier is objectively one of the most important tools you’ll ever use. And Reddit is literally a treasure trove of content. Literally.
“I keep getting rejected from jobs for which I’m qualified” will be on my tombstone when I’m dead at the ripe old age of 98 unless stress gets to me first. Which it might, let’s be honest.
We can also see how not only is the hiring process broken, but the thought process of many employers is broken as well. All it takes is a little medium.com searching and there it is, black and white, clear as crystal.
This article by Jason Shen is eye-opening as per huge differences between hiring managers and applicants in terms of what they think about the hiring practice. Specifically in tech. Which is specifically broken.
Speaking of tech, let’s talk about sexism and discrimination in hiring practices in the tech-world.
(Some of you are going to stop reading at this point, which is sad, because discrimination in tech hiring practices is real, and you are in denial.)
The most devastating thing I’ve ever seen in my life that has come from a recruiter or hiring manager is the following topic and consequent response, listed in Jason’s article:
Finding diverse candidate pools to hire from:
“It’s difficult to find women and minorities to apply through traditional channels.”
Read it again. “It’s difficult to find women and minorities to apply through traditional channels.” Can you hear me screaming right now? Amplify that by the thousands. This is the quantified scream of every single qualified minority or woman that you have failed to hire. Does it sound loud? It should. It should sound like the Wilhelm Scream turned up to 11.
It is complete and utter nonsense that people find it hard to garner female and minority applications through traditional channels. It is complete and utter nonsense because although women and minorities make up a smaller pool, we are by far hungrier, paid less, and have to overcome larger obstacles when it comes to work-cultures. We aren’t getting hired not because of our lack of skill — mark my damn words. We aren’t getting hired, and aren’t being paid well, because of unconscious biases. Or very clearly conscious biases, might I add.
There are tons of writers just here on medium.com alone that talk about sexism and discrimination in tech near-daily. And somehow they can be discredited with a hand-wave. Why? Biases.
Before some of you start with your tirade, citing your superior logic skills in terms of “well, if you were paid less, how come companies don’t just hire women and minorities to cut down costs, hmm?”, let me answer. But you’re not going to like the answer, because it conflicts with your worldview.
The answer is this: If minorities and women even get to the interview stage, you can end up hiring them anyways, but you low-ball them. They take it because they know how hard it is to get into the field, and especially in this job market, how hard it is to even just get a job in the first place.
Many dudes negotiate at the start of it all. Many white dudes are seen as assertive when they negotiate. Me, specifically, as a woman? Shrill and difficult. And then I don’t get the job. So I accept the low-ball salary. See how fun that is? Either get paid less, or don’t get paid at all. Wonderful. Your hiring process is broken.
We suffer sexual harassment and discrimination, which companies are trying to address, but check out the most recent Uber scandals and women coming forward en-mass in the tech world about the same exact thing.
Or, for shits and giggles, check out the Google Manifesto, and see that some milquetoast gish galloping member of /r/IAmVerySmart decided to ram his face into Google’s hiring practices and get himself fired over crying about diversity hurting hiring practices. And also how women just aren’t drawn to the field as much as men, which we know when we leave America and look at India, this is simply not the case. The gender gap closes exponentially.
The Google Man-Fiasco author James Damore somehow forgot that America isn’t the only country that hires people into the tech field. Show’s how much ‘logic’ he was using, doesn’t it?
There is no biological basis to be found for any of this Google Manifesto garbage. But somehow in tech, specifically, as I am in tech, it’s difficult to hire women and minorities. Insanity. That, right there, is insanity.
Speaking of the insanity of it all:
RaveGirl obviously has enough computer skills to find Reddit, find the right Subreddit, and post on it. That’s a lot more computer skills than I’ve found in corporate America, let me tell you. And you are still not hiring people, or you are internally hiring people who don’t know what they are doing, or you are paying entry level wages for jobs that fundamentally should be Junior or Senior level. Your hiring process is broken.
For a lovely anecdote that I hope makes you throw up in your mouth a little bit: I applied to be a Digital Content Coordinator at a well-known publishing company. I was given the figure $30,000 if I were to be their digital coordinator and usher them into the new age of The Internets. Think about that wage for a second for a well-known publisher. And then think about the hiring process and the problems I listed above.
Let that sink in for a moment: Taking an entire company by the hand and throwing them into the digital world, all by yourself, for $30,000 a year with no one else on the team knowing how you work your Hogwarts-level witchcraft on the computational devices. They wouldn’t accept my offer of $40,000 which is crazy to even think about since I’m 29 years old. If you are like them, this is why you can’t fill the role. Your hiring process is broken.
What about this lovely gem? How many times have you, readers of medium.com, applied for something and was given the go-ahead for some fantastic title — only to have it downgraded for no apparent reason other than treachery?
I have specific experience with employers backtracking on job titles, descriptions and responsibilities. Social Media Marketer does not equal cold-calling billing-support-UX designer-girl-and-web-developer. Your hiring process is broken, your company culture is most likely toxic, and I’m taking a 5 minute break from this huge rant to get more goddamn coffee.
Racist comments? Are you kidding me? And tons of people within the past 24 hours scared, terrified, and hopeless? Just visit the forum and keep scrolling. It is a damn nightmare.
The nightmare gets worse when you try to figure out why you were turned down for the 5369363749 jobs you applied to for the past umpteen million months. Because most of the time, there is no response. Nada. Zilch. Zip.
I have asked every person who has turned me down what I could do better. Do you want to know the results?
I had one hiring manager reply that my cover letter stated that I could only work two days a week. This is objectively false. I said I had time to interview on those two days. They hadn’t bothered to fully read, nor comprehend, what I was saying in my cover letter. Out of 152+ applications since I put in my notice, only 4 other people responded at all to my request. All I wanted to know is what I could’ve done better.
The other 3 people were really cool, and I will be applying again as they are cool bros and actually real humans. I’m convinced the rest are Cylons from Battlestar Galactica.
I’ve got 99 problems and a job application won’t solve them.
This is how many jobs I’ve applied to on Indeed.com in the past two months. Let that sink in. 152 jobs. Two of which are solid candidates that I’m still in the interview process for. 152. Two out of 152. Let that sink in for a moment.
Update: I was turned down for 1 of the 2 that were promising. I hold no ill will; it’s a great company and they are fantastic. I have nothing but good things to say about them.
Update: I posted a job on Indeed.com— with the job being to find me a job. They actually accepted it. Hilarious. If the results are positive, it will be absolutely amazing. (I have 7 applicants so far, and only one person who got the joke. The others didn’t bother to read the description. In the words of George Takei: Oh my.)
Update: I also did an experiment by filling my ‘cover letter’ submissions on indeed with quotes from Buffy. I actually got emails back about that. I don’t know why. Still didn’t go anywhere, but, hey, great to see some BTVS fans out there!
This is my new design for www.thereisno.design. This is on my staging server. Yes, I know how to stage different WordPress installations and I know how to backup and migrate the databases and data. I have PHP experience and obviously understand at least a few core principles of design. I know Git but I don’t use it for personal projects. Let that sink in for a moment. I haven’t even been hired as a rote WordPress developer in an entry-level setting. Your hiring process is broken.
Getting buy-in from leadership to pay appropriate salaries:
“Executives don’t want to pay for top-notch talent, then complain that the job market is dry. They are full of shit. We’ve passed on a lot of great candidates because their salary requirements were reasonable and we were not.”
Let this sink in for you as to why your hiring process is most likely broken: We’ve passed on a lot of great candidates because their salary requirements were reasonable and we were not.
- Among other reasons for not receiving an offer, the breakdown of logistics around start date, location and other issues was a top vote-getter, followed by a number of write-in responses including having no clue why they didn’t get an offer, performing poorly (uncharacteristically I would assume) in the interview, choosing to back out themselves, and being too old.
Let this sink in for a moment. Performing poorly regardless, we see here, ‘having no clue why they didn’t get an offer’ and ‘being too old’. If we assume prospective employees are saying this in good faith, isn’t that nuts?
Now for some good news, of some sort (maybe).
I’ve recently started recruiting in my attempt to get a job where I’m not a full-stack digital jockey and pack-mule. I have so much experience in the tech field, due to the full-stack trial-by-fire I’ve gone through, that I know what I’m looking for in a candidate. And I know how hard it is for them, intimately.
If we let people who do not know what the job entails call the shots, which we do, and if we let people fall through the cracks based on arbitrary things, which we do, and if we make it almost impossible to fill out applications (I’m looking at you, off-site personal job portals who require me to fix what I already uploaded from my resume), which we do, we are creating the problem I’m seeing on Reddit. That problem being that your hiring process is broken. Click the link. Are you tired of me writing that sentence? I’m tired of applying to jobs that I’m overqualified for.
We are creating the problem I’m seeing in tech with the rampant sexism, racism and discrimination. We are creating the actual issue with human beings being woefully depressed because they’ve been trying for a year, sometimes several years, to find any position at all.
We are creating the “you are too qualified, and we don’t want to pay you industry standard” problem. We are also creating the “entry level but must have 6 years experience and a masters degree” problem. Your. Hiring. Process. Is. Broken.
Look at it again. Look harder. Look at my face in the last panel. It is an accurate self portrait.
Face it. Your hiring process is broken. And people who are like me are going to have to shoot ourselves in the foot to let you know that. And people like me are going to fix it ourselves.
Email me at email@example.com if you’d like me to write for you.
Add me on linkedin if you’re feeling particularly trolly.
Or you can add me on Discord to talk about nerdy things: windows95toasteroven#3745
— Kira Leigh