- It might not be entirely clear to a job seeker how a company selects its candidates.
- The fact is, hiring managers have a variety of processes to vet out and keep good candidates.
- Find out what those processes are to ensure your next interview is successful.
Job candidates can have a difficult time understanding the hiring process. When you apply for a job at a large organization, there will usually be a hiring manager – or a team of them – making decisions as to who to hire and who not to hire. Very often, the decisions made by hiring managers are theirs alone. No one else in the company needs to approve of the decision, aside from, in some cases, those with whom the new hire will work closest.
Other than that, the responsibility to hire or not hire a job candidate falls on one person’s shoulders. With that established, job candidates may often wonder what goes on in the minds of hiring managers. They often feel left in the dark because there is little clarity as to how candidates are evaluated and how the final candidate is selected. A candidate may wonder why the process can take an exorbitant amount of time, if they should reach out to the hiring manager or recruiter asking for updates, and why they aren't chosen after giving their best shot.
To answer these questions, it is vital for candidates to understand how a company decides who to hire. Many companies do not have a separate hiring manager, and someone from the HR department usually hires and in other cases, fires employees.
The hiring process may also differ slightly from one company to another, but it basically remains uniform across all companies. There are many discussions that happen during the process, which ultimately helps the company decide on the right candidate for the job.
The following are the basic steps in the hiring process, which can help job seekers understand how the final decision is made on one candidate.
1. Automated résumé screening
These days, most jobs are posted online. They appear either on job search portals or on company websites. You can submit your résumé through an email or through the form posted on the website. What most candidates don't realize is that most companies today use automation for résumé sorting.
When you submit your résumé on a company's job listing, it is hardly ever evaluated by a human being. It is all up to the applicant tracking system, an automated process that sorts résumés.
There is a lot of talk about artificial intelligence and automation these days. Processing résumés is a mundane task that most companies don't have time for. They would rather use their staff for more important tasks. Therefore, mundane tasks like sorting résumés are done by a computer.
How does the computer process the applications? First, the system converts the applications into a format that it understands. Next, the system scans your application for keywords relevant to the job to which you have applied.
The résumés that the system thinks does not have the required keywords are negatively marked. In the end, each application that the system approves is given a score based on the criteria that the hiring manager has set. Applications that do not meet the required score are automatically left out. That is when you receive an email that says, “Thank you for applying, but we do not need your services right now."
It can be shocking to find out that an application can be rejected based on a computer's decision, but it must be remembered that a company receives thousands of applications for a single job (unless the job is hidden by code on the Facebook or Google job list page – now that is pretty esoteric!). It isn't practical for a human being to sort through all those applications. Therefore, instead of complaining that you were rejected by a computer, you have to learn how to be selected.
One of the best ways to get past the application tracking system is to include the relevant keywords in your résumé. Where do you find relevant keywords? You can find them in the job description, or you can look through the company website to find out what skills and qualities they value in an employee.
2. Phone screening
Whether the company you are applying to uses an automated system or a human being to sort the résumés, it helps immensely if you highlight your experience, achievements, and all other positive aspects that you bring to the table. Keywords are for the computer, but if your application is being sorted by a human being, then that person will give more importance to your skills and achievements.
Once 15 or 20 applications have been selected, they are put through a phone screening, where someone from the company interviews you over the phone. The reason this is done is because the company wants to know if the way you talk about your skills is in sync with what you wrote in your résumé.
Since the phone interview will always be with someone from the team you are applying for, it is crucial to put your best foot forward. Do not say anything that can form a negative impression in the recruiter's mind. Keep in mind that hiring one person from a pool of thousands of applicants is a tough job, so the recruiter will be testing you very thoroughly. Even one wrong answer or statement can eliminate you.
The phone screening usually aims to find out if you are a good fit for the job and for the company. You will be asked about your experience in the field, what kind of person you are (whether you have a set style of working or can easily adapt to any environment), and if you resonate with the company's culture.
The phone screening determines if you will be called for the formal interview, so talk naturally instead of memorizing what to say. You can learn a lot about the company simply by looking it up online – the background, the culture, and what is expected out of candidates. Once you have the required knowledge about the company, align your own skills and experience with it.
It is important to be relaxed, calm, and confident during the phone screening. Think of it as a normal conversation, instead of an interview. After you are done with the screening, send a little note to the company, thanking them for their time and pointing out some of the things discussed at the screening. From here, candidates are selected for the formal interview.
3. Formal interview
It takes a lot to get called for a face to face evaluation, so if you have made it to this stage, congratulations. Until now, you have only written (customized really) your resumes or had phone exchanges with people who can either hire or reject you. This is your first real chance to impress the hiring manager and get one step ahead in the race.
Alongside the hiring manager, there may be other people of the team who speak to you. This is called a multi-stage interview in which you are evaluated by not one but several people, one at a time. If the company is a small startup, you could also be interviewed by the owner or founder or somebody in a similar position. Although the hiring manager had the final say, these people could provide valuable inputs that could get you hired or rejected.
You will usually be told beforehand who will be interviewing you, but if you aren't informed, feel free to ask. When you have a basic idea about the people who are to interview you, it will help you find out more about who they are.
As you prepare for the interview, find out all the information possible about every person who might be evaluating you, including the executives in that department, members of the team, as well as the hiring manager or recruiter. This will help you be better prepared to give satisfying answers to any questions asked of you and show the team that you have researched the company quite well.
At the interview, focus on having a natural conversation. Bring new ideas to the table. Ask questions about the company and the job that you couldn’t find on the company’s website, or within the job’s description. Interviewers look for optimism and enthusiasm from the job candidate, so speak with energy that in turn will convince the people you interview with about your desire for the role. The interviewers must believe that you are excited about this job and don't see it only as a means to earn a paycheck.
4. The final decision
Once the interviews finish, you will be how much time will pass before you can expect a final decision. It could be one week, two weeks, or longer depending on how complicated the hiring process is. But getting to know that there's nothing more for you to do can be a big relief.
So how is the final decision made? Usually, the entire team will get together and lay down the qualities they have learned about the candidates. The pros and cons are listed:
- Each person provides his own inputs.
- Every candidate is measured for their accomplishments, energy and potential value to the team.
- And of course, they are analyzed as to how well they work within a team.
Often, the candidate might have ten years of experience in the field but also have a very rigid style of working minus energy or adaptability. In that case, the team will usually go for other candidates who may have less experience but is adaptable, quick learning, with a lot of energy and enthusiasm about the role.
No one wants to hire someone who does not seem to want to learn more. No one wants to hire someone who already acts like they know it all.
This is where the wait can seem endless. For a decision to be made, the whole team has to get together and be on the same page, which can sometimes take weeks, if not months.
As a job seeker, you have to be patient and considerate, and follow up only if it's way past the stated deadline. Be careful because following up repeatedly can make you seem desperate for the job. Even if you are desperate for the job, showing this may more likely hurt than help your chances to get the job of your liking. In fact, few to nearly no one wants to hire someone who is desperate.
At the end of the process, you will hear back with the answer. Only one person is going to get the job, so if you made it, congratulations. Otherwise, it isn't the end of the world. There is no reason to beat yourself up if you don't get the job. This is certainly true if you reside in a lower tax environment where jobs and the economy are sprouting up nearly everywhere.
With so many people applying and interviewing for the same position, it isn't surprising if only one of them makes it and the others don't. It doesn't mean you were lacking in anything. Who knows, you might have hated the job a few weeks after you took it over.
Not everyone is going to appreciate your skills and talents, and that's not what you should be looking for. The world doesn't have to appreciate your talents. There will always be people who appreciate your skills.
Your job is to keep developing your skills and talents, and being the best version of yourself. When you are turned down for a job and aren't given a reason, make sure to politely ask the hiring manager why. You can only learn from rejection if you know the reason you were rejected.
In the end, it is recommended that you keep in touch with the people who evaluated you. You can never predict when a new opening might appear, especially if the chosen candidate turns down the offer. If you are the next best candidate, the job will come to you.
It might seem like a sizeable setback when you don't get the job, but now that you are familiar with the process, know that there are a lot of factors that influence the decision. It isn't always about who is fantastic and who is unfit. It is more about the people making the decision. It is a personal decision that is based on factors that even the people making the decision may not fully understand.
Every hiring process is different. The best you can do is keep improving your skills and give every interview your best shot. If you get hired, it’s good enough. But even if you don't get hired, know that you didn't resonate on their frequency. There will always be people who appreciate your skill set and want to have you on their team.
Go on your way and focus on the next opportunity.
See the following articles for more information:
- 6 Steps You Can Take To Beat The Hiring Odds In 2018
- The Most Effective Way To Prepare For A Job Interview
- The Importance Of A Positive Mindset During Your Job Search