What happened to the “Human” part of HR?

One of the major complaints of job applicants is the time they spend filling out information for potential employers online.  It can be tedious, invasive, and exhausting.  Job seekers become increasingly frustrated by the current process at most firms, especially because all of this time and effort is rarely rewarded with even a response.  This use of technology has unfortunately removed much of the human element from the process, which in my opinion is a mistake.

Talking and meeting with as many good applicants as possible should be the primary goal of every growing organization.  Proper expectations of feedback and follow-up should be given, and followed through on.  I continue to be amazed at how many candidates don’t receive timely feedback from the companies who interview them, sometimes taking several weeks, or months, if they hear anything at all.  If a company chooses to interview a person, common decency suggests that they take the time to follow-up with the person to update them on the process.  Failure to do so can potentially harm the company’s brand and reputation in the eye of the applicant and their network.

Another trend of removing human interaction that has increased in hiring circles is the use of outside testing.  Many companies use third party tests as a definitive result of whether to hire someone or not.  I feel this is a mistake, too.  These tests can be a great tool in helping a management team learn and work more effectively with a person once hired, but should not be used as the basis for hire.  Companies should be spending more time with the applicant, not less, to determine the right fit.  I’ve seen many firms who swear by these tests and yet end up having to fire the same people later who “passed” them.

Hiring is first and foremost about relationships, not online applications and tests.  It takes time to do it right, and there are no shortcuts.  There are no guarantees, but investing time in people is the best investment a company can make.

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