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The Case for a Transparent Hiring Process

In my first post of the new year, I chime in with thoughts on how one can serve as a critical point of differentiation in the war for talent.
Jan | 4 | 2022


Jan | 4 | 2022

It’s not hard to find examples of the downright scalding war for talent right now. Apple’s handing out mind-blowing retention bonuses of—get this—$180,000 to certain engineers. To be sure, few companies possess even a fraction of Apple’s financial resources. Still, that doesn’t mean that the non-Apples of the world have to sit idly by as The Great Resignation continues. In today’s post, I’ll make the case that organizations ought to be more transparent about their hiring processes.

Thank You for Your Interest

We’ve all heard horror stories: vivid tales of a company’s opaque or downright inscrutable hiring process. I’m sure that you’ve experienced one firsthand. I certainly have.

I’m talking about recruiters or hiring managers that inexplicably ghosted you. You called and sent e-mails, only to hear crickets. Months later or even years later, you received a cold, automated response from an applicant tracking system telling you that you didn’t get the job. Duh.

The current war for talent makes this unprofessional practice increasingly risky. Aggrieved applicants can quickly vent on Blink, Glassdoor, or other public forums. Beyond that, there’s this uptick explosion in remote jobs:


rise in LinkedIn job postings containing the word remote compared to a year ago.

If this trend has abated in the last six months, I’ll eat my hat.

Against this environment, how can an organization distinguish itself and get a leg up on the competition? One way involves that very same recruiting process: how a company treats its prospective employees.

Consider this page on the website for the automation company Zapier:

I encourage you to read the whole policy. In all of my years in and around HR, I have never seen an organization demonstrate as much transparency about its hiring process.

This begs the question, Does Zapier walk the walk?

A Remarkable Level of Transparency

I have no idea. I have never applied for a position at Zapier, nor do I know anyone who has. As a curious data geek and ex-recruiter, I’d love to see its applicant and employee surveys. A few things I’d examine include:

  • How many applicants did Zapier land because of its hiring process? Was it able to get the jump on its competition because it kept job candidates more informed?
  • Is Zapier able to land candidates quicker than its rivals? Are those folks top performers? Do they stay at the company longer?
  • What percentage of applicants who didn’t receive offers hold a positive view of Zapier? And how does that number compare to the company’s peers?
  • What percentage of applicants who didn’t receive offers would recommend Zapier to their peers? And, again, how does that number compare to the company’s peers?
  • How much time do Zapier recruiters save by not having to respond to typical applicant queries?
If I were looking for a full-time gig, Zapier’s language would resonate with me.

The very fact Zapier’s management decided to adopt this practice is telling. Ditto for publicizing it. Even better, the policy is at least five years old. (Thank you, Internet Archive.) If I were looking for a full-time gig, both the policy and its age would resonate with me.

I’m betting that I’m not alone.

Simon Says

COVID-19 changed the game. Employees are now firmly in the driver’s seat. Organizations would do well to examine their legacy business processes. It’s high time that they find ways to make them more efficient, automated, transparent, and employee-friendly.

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