Why do hiring organisations move so slowly? Photo: Shutterstock

Thursday 14th July 2016

So tired of waiting

The Secret Candidate: why are we always kept waiting?
The Secret Candidate

It’s been a while since my last musings on the world of recruitment. The eagle-eyed among you may have thought: ‘The Secret Candidate must have a job, as there haven’t been any articles.’ Well, I’m pleased to say that simply isn’t true.

Still jobless. And despite what many ‘advisors’ (aka Dad) thinks, I’m loving it.

No, the last few weeks’ silence has been due to a holiday and a growing realisation that working for other people perhaps isn’t working for me. So while I continue to put myself through the interview process, I’ve also decided to go it alone on the side and see who is up for my particular brand of people consultancy – after all, we all need to pay the bills at some point.

Given my Top Secret status I can’t even use this article as a shameless plug. Well, perhaps one day.

As much as the last few weeks have been a holiday, they also haven’t been without interview and incident. And it’s these recent interviews that have caused me to spend a great deal of time thinking about how companies handle the timing and feedback part of the interview process.

Because in reality it’s these elements that leave the lasting impression on the candidate. Positive, and it’s all great for you. However, if it’s a negative experience – well, you know that will impact poorly upon your brand as an employer. (Or I thought you would know this: my experience, see below, suggests otherwise.)

Let’s be clear. I never walk into any job interview thinking I’m gonna ace it.

Inner workings

I’m far too humble and modest to ever think that. Instead, I go into an interview because I’m genuinely interested and intrigued by the company.

So I see these meetings as great opportunities to meet people I never would normally meet and see the inner workings of a business I admire and want to know more about.

Nah, don't need the job anymore, mate
Nah, I don’t need the job anymore, mate

Perhaps it’s my last couple of applications that have changed the way I think the world works, or should work.

I like stuff to get done quickly. So in my opinion, when interviewing, you either like someone or you don’t. Now I’m pretty good at this. If I like someone, I’ll tell them straight away. And if I don’t, well – I tell them quickly as well.

But it seems the vast majority don’t think like I do. Because what I’ve experienced, and what I cannot stand, is waiting.

Waiting = indecision. Indecision = a lack of confidence in the business.

Which always makes me ask the question – why do I want to work in a place like that?

Week links

I had an interview and presentation recently on a Wednesday, and was told that I would hear back by Friday. Seemed like a long time. But hey, they have other stuff to do. So I went along with it. By the following Tuesday I still hadn’t heard anything.

Remind me, why do I want to work in a business like that?

The other element of it all, of course, is feedback. Now I don’t want to sound like a dick. But when you, the candidate, spend time researching, interviewing and presenting your thoughts and ideas you expect a certain level of feedback in return for your efforts.

Call it courtesy, or call it an organisation that gives a shit.

Yet so far, I’ve had just one great experience in terms of getting excellent feedback as to why I didn’t get the job. That feedback really helped my approach and got me thinking. All the other interviews have been shambolic.

If you’re going to tell someone they aren’t getting a job, please prepare to back it up. They’ll only ask one question: Why?

Cut the BS

And I don’t want corporate bullshit. I want the real reason(s). It’s OK, I’m a big boy, I can handle it. All I want to do is learn so I can get better. So be honest and tell me quickly. Don’t wait weeks or pass it onto the recruiter to give the feedback – do it yourself and be helpful.

And another thing. Let’s stop this crap about telling the candidate who ‘missed out’ that they didn’t get the job days after you let the lucky winner know, just in case they decline your offer.

If candidate number two didn’t do enough to get the job, then you shouldn’t give candidate two the role even if candidate one doesn’t want it. It just won’t sit right, for either party.

So tell them, at the same time. And if candidate one doesn’t want it, then start the process again.

Oh and one more thing – as someone who does this stuff for a living – you might want to ask me for my feedback. Or are you too scared?





About the author

The Secret Candidate

The Secret Candidate has been an HRD in various, well-known UK companies. He's currently looking for a role in the south of England. Offers of interviews are welcomed, but make sure you get your recruitment house in order first.