Thoughts on recruiting process

James Turnbull bio photo By James Turnbull Comment

These are some basic tips for anyone doing hiring and being hired. Mostly common sense but I though they worth writing down as I keep seeing people doing it wrong.1

  1. Hiring is nerve-wracking for both parties. If you’re the hiring manager and it’s not nerve-wracking for you then you’re doing it wrong. You should deeply care about every hire. If you don’t you’ll settle for less than awesome.

  2. Communication is critical. There’s nothing worse than sitting by the phone/email waiting for a company to contact you about a role, an interview or a decision. Be efficient and prompt when declining someone for a role. If you’re going to progress a candidate then let them know quickly: it’s not only polite but it’s a bloody competitive market out of there and you can easily miss someone if you wait to follow-up.

    Indeed I don’t think you can ever over-communicate to a candidate. As a candidate though try to be careful about not flooding a potential employer with emails. That can make a hiring manager uncomfortable about your communication skills.

    Additionally, if you’re a candidate then going cold on an employer sucks too. If you’ve changed your mind about a role or accepted another opportunity be upfront about it and let them know promptly.

  3. As a hirer make the process clear up front. If you’ve decided to progress with a candidate then tell them what happens next: our recruiter will call you within x days, you’ll have phone interviews with x, y and z, if you pass the phone screen you’ll come on site and meet a, b, and c, etc, etc. Make it clear who each person the candidate will be talking is, what their role is and even better what sort of topics: technical, operational, culture, etc they are going to cover.

  4. When a candidate gets on-site provide them with a clear picture of how the day is going to unfold including a full schedule of who they will meet and what those people’s roles are.

  5. When they get on-site make them welcome. Give them a tour, get them a coffee/tea/water, show them where the bathroom is, if they are staying for lunch check their dietary preferences. Sell them on the company and the people. Nothing beats a good first impression - especially when many candidates are nervous about interviews.

  6. Make it absolutely, totally clear what happens next after an on-site interview and the time frame in which it’s going to happen. If it’s a pass let the candidate know ASAP. Additionally and where possible, let them know why. I try to have a call with every candidate I reject after an on-site interview.

  7. If you’re a candidate then after an on-site interview email the recruiter or team you met with. Unlike clichéd thank you notes also ask if they had any feedback on your interview or things you should work on. It’s not only professional, polite but you might just learn something useful.

Hope these ideas help someone out and feel free to add any additional ideas in the comments.

  1. I’m also conscious that I’ve messed a few of these up over the years (especially as Puppet grew and when we had periods of crazy hiring). So I apologize to anyone who experienced the opposite of any of these and please consider this a mea culpa.