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OPINION: A dreadful lack of professionalism in the hiring process

Posted: 07/18/2016 - 20:07

As a seasoned professional with over 25 years in the business, I possess demonstrable experience and expertise, and a professionalism which, when I recently found myself obliged to seek a new role, I expected to see mirrored in the hiring process: I believed the recruitment road to discovery to be a meticulous process underpinned by a rigorous, tried-and-tested methodology where there is due consideration for the predicament (which could, of course, feel like quite a belittling one) the candidate faces. However, I have discovered that, alas, for some people this is very far from the truth.

I have been extremely unimpressed by the sheer lack of professionalism displayed by certain global outsourcing providers, in terms of their commitment to the process and, in some cases, their own process itself. Their perception of the candidate’s overall ability, and his/her capacity to perform at the highest level, will of course have an effect upon the candidate regardless of the final outcome, and communication with the candidate during the process is not merely courteous but of paramount importance considering that effect: after all, a lack of communication implies a great deal about how the employing organisation views the candidate. At the very least, treat the candidate with the respect s/he has earned (and, indeed, merits regardless as a professional and a human being) and provide him or her with timely updates and, if the application is unsuccessful, with timely closure to the process.

Finding oneself in this unenviable predicament can be most disconcerting – it certainly was in my case – and being subjected to a sheer lack of timely execution is, I feel, demeaning and utterly unwarranted.

Professionally, we pride ourselves on exactly that: professionalism. We strive to sustain excellent working practices and an equally excellent work ethic; we do our utmost to ascend to these heights, and take whatever steps are required to maintain the highest of standards required of us – and by ourselves. I certainly do not feel it is too much to expect the same of any organisation in this industry or any other seeking to hire a professional; executives in this industry in particular should understand the value of good, timely communication, and courteous conduct, in every situation.

I have been truly astonished to find, during my recent search, that this is clearly not the case in a number of organisations (including some of the very biggest names in the business); were it merely a one-off I would put it down to simple bad luck, my having bitten into one bad apple in an otherwise delicious selection, but unfortunately it appears that this malady is endemic.

In my opinion suppliers should address this problem head-on and examine their hiring processes to ensure that candidates are treated with the professionalism which these organisations wish to be known for in the marketplace. Once an interview has been completed, the hiring organisation should get back to the candidate within a pre-defined time period to give him or her honest feedback on how the interview went and to outline where in the process they now are, and what the next steps will be. If the organisation has decided not to go any further with this particular candidate, they should inform him/her immediately of this fact, along with any information which can be given as to why his/her candidacy has been unsuccessful this time around.

I am not suggesting that the organisation needs to act as an advisory service, but honest feedback of this nature delivered courteously and efficiently can be of great value to the candidate, and any such value derived from the hiring process, even in an unsuccessful application, would invariably be greatly appreciated – and this appreciation would, over time and via multiple candidates, contribute to significant reputational gains for the organisation in question. Conversely – as I can testify – a company which doesn’t exhibit the necessary courtesy, and doesn’t treat its applicants with the requisite professionalism and respect, does its candidates, itself and our entire industry a disservice, and should expect significant negative reputational impact over the long term.

The author of this article has requested to remain anonymous; he is well known both to Outsource and within the wider community, and in the opinion of the editor there is no doubt whatsoever regarding his bona fides. Any questions regarding our decision to grant anonymity in this instance can be put to the editor at


Submitted by Paul Shears (not verified) on

I am someone with over 37 years in IT, mostly in management, and a vast amount of experience of job hunting and to a lesser extent seeking employees.
In my opinion the writer thinks at a level of moral integrity that has never existed in the workplace and the entire recruitment industry.
The most recent decline in behaviour that I have noted is the increasing use of third world labour to both recruit staff and approach UK employment agencies to do their job for them at a minimal cost.
The percentage of calls that I get from these third world agents who cannot utter one complete sentence in the English language has been steadily growing and recently increased to over 50%!
All they listen for is the emotional tine and confidence coming from the person seeking employment. They, just like their UK counterparts, have no knowledge of the jobs, industries, geographical locations (Where is London? Where is Scotland?) or any other basic fact relating to the position.
They do not bother to read CV's because they cannot understand them so they just try to get the applicant to do their job for them.
Towards the top of my own CV, my location is clearly stated.
This is completely meaningless to people who are such a low calibre that they lack the initiative spend the few seconds on the internet to find the location on a map. In any case this would be utterly futile if the agent is in a third world country with no knowledge of the UK.
But the reality is worse than that. The agents increasingly do not read a single word on the CV.
Then we have the hierarchy of agents who think that they can apply critical reasoning and judgement to the process but are so incapable of doing so that they are oblivious of this.
And so we have an dysfunctional human behaviour which is shared and reinforced by employers both large and small.
The whole industry id a complete mess and it is getting worse.

The behaviour of the recruiting ‘professionals’ in question can only be described as arrogant, although ignorant does spring to mind.

Recruitment is always a two-way process. The organisation doing the recruiting is trying to decide if the applicant is suitable for the organisation and the applicant is trying to decided if the organization is suitable for him or her. Organisations that do not appreciate the duel nature of the recruitment process are doomed to driving talent away.

In a world were competitive advantage is measured by the talent you are able to attract, this is puzzling behaviour indeed.

By displaying their true colours, the firms in question have done you a favour.

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Outsource Magazine provides unrivaled content for the opinion-formers and decision-makers at the heart of the global sourcing community. This indispensable resource for news, views, analysis and thought leadership was launched in 2005 and acquired by Sourcing Industry Group (SIG) in 2016. Outsource columnists and contributors are thought leaders in the global sourcing community and provide insight on challenges and opportunities in the industry today.