4 Reasons Your Hiring Process Is Broken

Hiring employees effectively is the key to success for any company.

Hiring employees effectively is the key to success for any company.

If you’re reading this, chances are you buy into the principle that your company’s most valuable assets are your employees. They are the driving force behind company growth and the champions of your culture and vision.

For corporations, finding the right talent has never been more important. Across the world, human resources teams have never poured as much capital towards their talent acquisition efforts. Why the enormous spend on talent acquisition? Corporate executives are starting to recognize that the lack of access to competent, skilled workers is the biggest threat to their business.

“Employers also spend an enormous amount on hiring—an average of $4,129 per job in the United States.” - Society for Human Resource Management 

Unfortunately, these efforts aren’t working. Only about a third of U.S. companies report tracking the rate of good employee hires from their acquisition efforts. Here’s how you can fix your recruiting process:

You’re obsessed with external recruiting

We all understand the value of internal hires - understanding all aspects of the business is key for senior leadership, the cross-pollination of ideas and skills, and the cost savings - but most talent acquisition teams focus externally. 

In an effort to save on internal development costs and avoid internal politics, companies have simply turned to “recruiting funnels” in order to serve their talent needs. Companies post “phantom jobs”, attracting resumes for the sole purpose of having a pool of candidates they can draw on when necessary. 

Rather than simply poaching ready-made talent from other companies, focus on developing talent from within. Internal hires perform better than their external counterparts anyway - outside hires take three years to perform as well as their internal counterparts. Simply speaking, the grass is not always greener on the other side. 

You’re not tracking your metrics

For some companies, they don’t even know what these metrics are. We all know how important it is to have “data-driven” processes in this day and age, so we’re just going to list out a few important ones:

  1. Net Promoter Score - Not just used for customer surveys, you can also offer NPS surveys to candidates to give you feedback on your hiring processes (also known as an “eNPS” system)

  2. Time to fill - The time it takes to identify a candidate and fill a position. If this is taking too long, you’re wasting valuable on boarding time that you could have used on a quality internal hire. 

  3. Applicant Drop off Rate - Candidates who start but do not complete the application process. If it’s too high, it may be that your application process is too long.

  4. Cost to fill - The ROI on your recruiting efforts. How much did it cost to actually fill the position?

  5. Offer acceptance rate - A straight forward measurement between the number of candidates offered contracts and the amount accepted. If it’s low, your offers aren’t competitive enough.


represents the question “Would you recommend (our company) to a friend? as a number.

Your job experience requirements are too high

Does every applicant really need 7-10 years of experience along with two Master’s degrees? Probably not. Writing job descriptions with achievable requirements is important to attract quality applicants.

If you write out an impossible wish list of skills that no one can possibly meet, you’ll scare off great talent. Nowadays, career coaches are advising their clients to apply for jobs they aren’t 100% qualified for. They advise job seekers to hold out hope that their intangibles and culture fit will push them through the process.

When you’re writing your job descriptions, resist the urge to include unnecessary skills in your job description. Your applicant tracking systems (ATS) models may automatically disqualify a candidate when they do not meet a certain number of line items in the job criteria. By doing this, you could be letting your ATS auto-disqualify candidates who are a potentially amazing fit.

Your interview process is biased

“Job interview processes are getting longer, both in the U.S. and abroad. The average interview processes have grown by 3.3 to 3.7 days since 2009.” - Glassdoor

Let’s say you’ve done everything right. You’ve struck the right balance between internal mobility and external recruitment. You have a good grasp on what the job actually requires. It all comes down to the interview. Like the recruitment process, employers are putting a bigger emphasis on the interview stage.

Unfortunately, interviews are yet another area where our companies are failing. Interviews are not an exact science, which paves the way for unconscious biases to cloud our decision-making processes. This is especially true when companies look for an applicant's 'culture fit' as an indicator of future success. However, many companies don’t have a great understanding of what their “culture” is, to begin with. 
Beyond that, assessing what a good “culture fit” is without introducing bias is nearly impossible. We do tend to have biases towards selecting people who have similar qualities to us. This leads to a lack of diversity of backgrounds, as well as skillsets and experiences.

Related Content: Why Employees Leave Managers, Not Companies

So what’s the solution?

At Paddle HR, we believe the focus on external hires and long application processes is inefficient and redundant. In terms of performance, internal recruited employees perform better. 70% of the top 20 performing CEO’s in the world were hired internally according to HBR

The average cost of finding and hiring someone from outside the company is 1.7 times more than an internal hire ($8,676 vs. $15,008) - Time

And finally, the key issue is with employees not being compatible with the role. Between 40% and 60% of external hires aren’t successful in their new roles, compared with 25% that are, according to Time.

We need to change the way that we look for talent. Companies keep trying to look for their next greatest employee when they might already be there.

Let’s give them the chance.

Interested in learning more about internal mobility and how you can fix your hiring process?

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Bruce Chen