Tales of Woe, A Silicon Valley Interview

The Job Applicant Experience-Part 1

The labor market has tightened considerably and a favored term in Silicon Valley is “The War for Talent” used to describe the shortage of qualified job applicants among competition across the technology sector. Yet, despite the shortage of talent, job applicants are treated in an alarming and disrespectful manner.

The application process has shifted to nearly exclusively online.  Most applicants are asked to do a lot of work upfront without any expectation of a positive outcome. This can be pretty one-sided as employers ask job seekers to complete long applications, include supporting documentation of work product or letters, social profiles, personality, and skills assessments and then may never be contacted. I am ashamed to say that external and internal recruiters alike are treating people badly. 

Here is a story shared this week from a friend who is a Senior Director of Human Resources. She holds several certifications, has strong work experience with good tenure and is active in her local community of professionals. It went something like this.

  • Applicant: Inmail: Presenting a Director of HR role. I’m not really looking but hey it’s closer to home! I’ll respond since the commute is now 1.5 hours each way to my current job.
  • The recruiter asks for a resume and without so much as a phone call sends her resume to his client.
  • Applicant: Inmail: My client has questions about your experience?
  • Applicant: What? Did you send my resume to them? I have questions about the opening? The applicant pushes back until the Recruiter agrees to have a conversation. They talk for 30 minutes.
  • 7 days later………Applicant: Inmail: They want to interview you. SF location. The applicant is currently working in downtown San Jose but makes it happen.
  • 7 days later……Nothing. The recruiter never calls the applicant to get feedback or share next steps.
  • 7 more days. Applicant: Inmail: They want to set up a second interview. SF location. Remember applicant is currently working in downtown San Jose but still makes it happen. Day of the interview, Recruiter calls her to say they need to move the time up and change the interviewer. Luckily she was already en route and makes it happen.
  • Again. The recruiter never calls the applicant to get feedback, thank her for her efforts or share the next steps. Applicant bugs Recruiter via email.
  • 7 days later. Applicant: Inmail. The client has decided to pursue other candidates. Good luck in the future.
  • This Recruiter couldn’t even be bothered to deliver the bad news via phone!

Unfortunately, this is not a crazy, one-off story. I wish this was isolated to one lazy external Recruiter. It isn’t.  Future Workplace conducted a national study earlier this year which notes:

  • 60% of job seekers have had a poor candidate experience; of those job seekers, 72% report having shared that experience online
  • Only 61% of employers say they notify declined candidates about their decision
  • 80% of job seekers say they would be discouraged to consider other relevant job openings at a company that failed to notify them of their application status. Yet, they would be 3.5 times more likely to re-apply to a company if they were notified.
  • Employers underestimate the amount of time it takes candidates to submit one job application. While the typical job seeker spends about 3 to 4 hours preparing and submitting one job application, the typical employer spends less than 15 minutes reviewing that application.
  • About 70% of employers believe job seekers spend only 1 hour or less in researching, preparing for, and submitting their job application
  • Nearly 60% of job seekers already spend at least 1 hour researching the opportunity and preparing their resume before even starting the online application process.

I would venture to say that employers would likely agree that most applicants are dissatisfied with the customer service experience in applying/interviewing for a new job. The reasons which contribute to the poor experience vary. Often employers cite lack of time and resources and poor technology.

I maintain that despite resource constraints with a little thoughtful planning the candidate experience can be one that is motivating and positive even when they don’t land the job. As it stands now, those employers who don’t invest in fixing this process will face an uphill battle in competing and retaining staff.

Menlo Partners Staffing promises every applicant we work with that we will provide feedback within 24 to 48 hours of interviewing on our behalf. Oh, we will also deliver the news personally!

Share your stories with us? Have a comment or feedback?



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