There is no shortage of books, articles, and trade publications counseling employers on how to handle the hiring process. In fact, it’s one of the areas of expertise where free advice abounds.
Local Chambers of Commerce often circulate information about the hiring process, to help small and medium sized businesses with the crucial task of staffing up.(1) By breaking it down into manageable steps, these civic organizations perform a helpful duty. In La Quinta, California, for example, the local chamber there identified seven steps: defining the job requirements; determining the type of employee desired; advertising and recruiting for the position; evaluating potential candidates; conducting background checks; making the hiring determinations and job offers; filling out the new hire paperwork.
The Craigslist Revolution
Thanks to the simply blue font, white background online brainchild of a San Franciscan named Craig Newmarket, the horizon of the hiring process has changed radically in the past ten years. Newmarket’s Craigslist has played a large part in eliminating print newspaper classified job ad sections, and made it extremely easy for potential employers to reach potential employees.
However, along with that comes a new art form: the ability to attract the right respondents online.(2) Many job postings on Craigslist cast too wide a net, resulting in a massive influx of respondent emails. With HR professionals no longer in many cases vetting and authoring job ads, the step of recruiting has been diluted via the Internet. It’s become much cheaper, but also much less focused.
Thanks to the Great Recession, the number of unemployed people for every available job opening has ballooned.(3) These applicants face a great challenge in that the hiring process is not fixed. From one place to another, the rules change. For some HR professionals, the cover letter is key; others do not even look at it. Some HR folks want applicants to customize the resume and letter for their purposes; others want to be sent more of a sacrosanct template.
In other words, the best lesson someone can learn going into a job search in the 21st century is that the hiring process now encompasses many new, varied steps. Employment seekers should be ready for everything, and surprised by (next to) nothing.
(1) La Quinta Chamber of Commerce – The Hiring Process in Seven Manageable Steps, Retrieved June 30, 2011 from http://www.lqchamber.com/pdf/gem-apr08.pdf
(2) GuyKawsaki.com – How to Not Hire Someone Via Craigslist”, August 27, 2007, Retrieved June 30, 2011 from http://blog.guykawasaki.com/2007/08/how-to-not-hire.html#axzz1Qpi59gPz
(3) Wall Street Journal – “Lifting the Curtain on the Hiring Process”, January 26, 2010, Retrieved June 30, 2011 from http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703808904575025250789355156.html