3 red flags during recruiting process

February 22, 2022

1. Not answering at any stage of the process

Bad companies like to cut communication with potential candidates. It can happen early, after the initial call or even long into other process, so it's even more depressing for the candidate. There might be a lot of reasons why company wouldn't move forward with the candidate, but I feel like there always should an answer. I think it's important to be honest with the candidate, and to make sure that they are not just wasting their time. Given company doesn't want candidate, I would expect them to answer with a no and simple explanation why candidate is not the right fit, so they might have an opportunity to fix their flaws. Keep in mind that this might not be a flaw in your eyes or the recruiter might just be giving you a hollow feedback. If you have feeling like that, usually it's a good time to ask someone how they feel about such a feedback. Again, it's complicated, because if they're close to you, they might be telling half-truths, since they care about you.

Rejecting the candidate can be tricky. Let's say that candidate seems suspicious after initial call. Looks like they might be hiding something, they're vaguely mentioning their experience. How should recruiter answer this? "I am sorry, but we would like to thank you, because there are doubts that you're not honest with us"? Some of the answers might backfire, but I think it's important to be honest with the candidate. Imagine candidate going on the Internet and telling their version of the story. Might be ugly.

How to prevent this?

Before applying or scheduling a further interview call (if recruiter was the one that found you), there should be some sort of research done by candidate in this matter. Check sites that collect opinions about companies. Usually most of them are either about recruiting process or about the experience of the employee that recently worked there. Since both of those are tightly related to companies HR department, you can tell whether the company is right fit for you or not. The other option is to find someone that works/worked there and ask them about the company. If you did both of those, you should be able to minimize the risk of such a situation to a minimum.

2. Any "surprise" that came out during the process

By surprise, I mean anything that wasn't in the job offer, but it changes its scope in a way that if you knew about it, you would think twice before applying there. It can mean many things, but usually reason for that is simple. There is some aspect of the work that they don't want to disclose publicly. It might be embarrassing, unusual or straight out a lie. Nevertheless, it means that company has presented to you a job offer that differs from reality. Examples:

  1. The job that you applied for was to work at fintech startup (because that what interest you), but in the end recruiter tells you that the project is for completely different industry/niche.
  2. Compensation is different from the job offer that you applied for.
  3. Responsibilities are different from the job offer that you applied for.

How to prevent this?

If you don't have internal information about company (your friend worked there and they can share what's inside), you can't prevent this kind of situation. Unless, you are in a situation in which you have to find a job as fast as possible, you are free to say thanks the company for their effort and apply further or focus on other recruitments. Don't feel obligated to go through the whole process.

3. Long recruitment process

Long, multi-stage recruitment processes with no guarantee. This has changed lately. Some companies have started paying potential employees for their effort during the recruitment process. It's an investment for them, so not every company has money for that. Some of them started more sophisticated actions to "pay" employees for their time, which might feel kinda weird. For example some companies stated that they'll pay X amount to the charity for each day of candidates work during the process. The idea is great in its premise - helping others - but what it has to do with finding a job? I don't see a link.

How to prevent this?

Most companies are transparent about this. Under the responsibilities of a job and what they offer in return text, you can usually find more information about further process. By this info, you can tell how long will it take to go through between each of them. Another option is to just ask on the first screening call. What the next step? How long will it take to you to respond? How can I prepare for the next stage? How long will it take? Don't be afraid to ask, if you are not sure what to expect from the recruiting process. It may also be a feedback for their HR department since they haven't provided this kind of information. If it was important to you, there is big chance that other candidates also had similar questions.

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