Most recruiting processes actually alienate the best candidates

Ted Bauer
8 min readJul 14, 2022

A few months back, I wrote an article about how broken the hiring process is. This article will be a bit similar, but it’s about the recruiting process. Namely, I’m discussing how companies design their recruiting process. What steps must a candidate go through? What’s the overall arc of the process like? And is your recruiting process set up in a way that gets you the people you want (or need) to be successful in your endeavors?

At most places, the answer to that final question is “Absolutely not,” and oftentimes the answer is “Exactly the opposite, sir.”

The first thing to understand about a recruiting process

Before we get too deep into this, let’s address two quick things.

(1) is that many a recruiting process isn’t about getting the best people. It’s about covering the ass of HR and the organization. That’s why we steep everything in process and automation. We all secretly know that won’t get us the best people, but we do it because HR is much more about compliance than value-add — and always has been, sadly.

(2) is that every article about recruiting process is complete pie-in-the-sky, utopian bullshit. “10 Ways To Maximize Your Recruiting Process” by some thought leader? You might as well print that out and save yourself some money on toilet paper this month. If people had any clue about how to manage a recruiting process, we wouldn’t have arrived at 2016 with a broken job market, disenfranchised people, and HR still chasing “a seat at the table.”

Step 1 of the recruiting process: The job description

Step 1 is actually “getting the headcount,” and even that step is fraught as hell. For new positions, it’s usually which manager barks the loudest. It has almost nothing to do with “what the company really needs at the time.” It’s cooler to hire a “financial analyst” than “an admin,” even if you really need the admin more. Same deal with any job title that has the word “strategist.” Oftentimes there’s no strategy involved at all, but it makes a higher-up feel good that he just hired one.

Once headcount is granted, we move over to job descriptions and posting the job…

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Ted Bauer

Mostly write about work, leadership, friendship, masculinity, male infertility, and some other stuff along the way. It's a pleasure to be here.