Your Hiring Process Shouldn’t Resemble A Rodney Dangerfield Comedy Skit

Rodney Dangerfield's most famous line "I get no respect" is similar to most experiences candidates have in the hiring process

We all know the comedian’s most famous line : “I get no respect.”

Many candidates might say the same thing about the way they are treated in the hiring process by hiring managers and human resource professionals.

I recently wrote on our Vistage Leadership Community Blog an article about candidate respect. Our Vistage Leadership Community Blog is where we highlight some of the very best bloggers, writers, and experts on the Web regarding Management and Leadership, particularly those specializing in Hiring, Human Resources, and Recruiting.

Many of you might know that Brad and I are two of the most popular speakers and resources for the Vistage/TEC Community, which focuses on improving the lives and effectiveness of their members and their companies. You can learn more about Vistage/TEC by checking out their amazing site by clicking here (don’t forget to read my latest blog posting on their homepage in the Buzz Blog).

Why is Candidate Respect Important?

I came across this great post on candidate respect on the Human Resources site.

About Com Human Resources Blog

The primary point that the blog author, Susan Heathfield,  makes in her post, is that candidates deserve a response and they deserve the right to know where they stand in your hiring process. They especially deserve the right to know on a timely basis if you reject them.

She claims — and I agree 100% — that the candidates you reject deserve the same courtesy of notification as the candidates to whom you are offering the job. Communication should be respectful, courteous, empathetic, and responsive.

In thousands of conversations with candidates, we have discovered a general level of dismay, anger, and frustration with most human resource departments and hiring managers. Susan sums it up best by stating:

Among job searching candidates currently, their biggest complaint is the disrespect with which they are treated by HR offices. Unfortunately, no communication appears to be the norm.

This issue of candidates NOT getting enough respect from a company during the hiring process piqued my interest so strongly that I’m going to run a survey of how candidates are either respected/NOT respected during the hiring process. I’ll run the survey through our LinkedIn Discussion Job Search Discussion Group.

Here Are Some Painful Questions About Your Hiring Process:

Do you have a procedure or policy to ensure that candidates are treated with respect in your hiring process – even those whom you reject?

Has every one of your hiring managers and human resource professionals been trained in how to legally and respectfully reject a candidate?

Do you have a guideline or checklist of steps in how to treat candidates at various decision points in your hiring process?

Do you solicit feedback from candidates about how they felt they were treated in your hiring process?

Do you monitor the dialogue of candidates on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and other social media/networking sites as they post on-line about their experiences with your company through your hiring process?

Are you creating a positive vibe about your company and brand through your treatment of candidates in the hiring process – OR – are you damaging your company’s reputation and brand image due to negative experiences.

The Implications of Mistreating Candidates For Your Open Positions

In over a 1000 searches stretching over the last quarter of a century, and in the research preparation to write our popular book on hiring, You’re NOT the Person I Hired, we found that companies can significantly improve their local image as a desired employer or they can damage their reputation to the point that everyone knows to stay away.

Providing a timely and respectful communication to candidates you reject in the hiring process is one small element of an overall approach to NOT mistreating candidates. Respecting candidates include:

How you greet them when they arrive for the interview

Offering a glass of water/cup of coffee

Not subjecting them to an inquisition or interrogation during the interview

Explaining the interview process and steps

Ending the interview on a upbeat note by sharing a positive factual comment (no matter how deep you have to go to find one). VERY IMPORTANT step! Not ending the interview by saying something positive will lead the candidate to leave the interview and justify why they don’t want to work at your company (by the way – they’ll be sure to tell everyone they know why your company is NOT a good place to work).

What are you going to do to ensure your hiring process does NOT mistreat candidates?

To read the entire article on candidate respect from About.Com’s Human Resources Blog, click the following link:

Candidates Deserve Respectful Communication

Barry Deutsch

P.S. Have you given your hiring process a check-up recently? Download our 8- Point Assessment to determine if your hiring process is capable of hiring top talent consistently at all levels by clicking this link.

photo courtesy of ibtrav

Barry Deutsch

About the Author

Barry Deutsch is a founding Partner of IMPACT Hiring Solutions, co-author of "You're NOT the Person I Hired", and "This is NOT the Position I Accepted". Barry is an award-winning international speaker, retained executive recruiter, and expert on hiring and retaining top talent, and executive job search.


  1. Barry

    This is so true and reflective of my experience to date in trying to find a job. I will happily partcipate in your survey on an anonymous basis.

    I have jokingly thought of writing a book about recruitment and brand damage. I think companies just don’t realise how their behaviour, beit from non responsiveness to queries, lack of feedback, time taken to review CVs, get approval for jobs, etc actually damages their reputations and brands. I am speaking of global players, supposedly well resourced, etc and not “mom and pop shop”. This also applies to recruitment agents/consultants as well. They also have much to answer for.


    • Roy,

      You are exactly correct when you say that companies do not realize the damage they are doing. One of the questions I’ve started raising with my clients is: Are you monitoring the social media space for negative comments candidates are publishing about your hiring process. The monitoring and brand management tools are evolving – perhaps we’ll be able to see a direct correlation of not giving candidates appropriate respect and company reputation in our lifetimes.


  2. In my job search, I interviewed with one company 5 times. I had 3 initial phone interviews, then I was flown to their location for a face to face interview, followed by another phone interview. The entire process took several weeks. The last communication I had with the company was the 5th interview. Then they went dark. I have tried contacting them for closure to no avail. It is irresponsible of them to spend that much effort in the recruitment and not have the courtesy to let me know that the position has or has not been filled. It has left me to play a guessing game.

    Your article should be a mandatory read for all recruiting professionals.

  3. Pigbitin Mad says:

    I not only badmouth them to my friends, I pour it out on hte internet for anyone to see who googles the company. We candidates need to begin a Reign of Terror. We need to flood the internet with scathing insights into the companies that reject us…..especially when you are subjected to a hiring process that requires you to jump through many hoops and repeat visits. THEY OWE YOU AN ANSWER. AND THEY CAN CERTAINLY REPLY TO AN EMAIL ASKING FOR CLOSURE. MAKES ME SO ANGRY I WANT TO SCREAM.

  4. Barry,

    I will mention a company that I had a bad experience with this: IBM.

    I had number of phone interviews with their sales managers and then they called me for a face-to-face interview where they wanted me to give a 30 minute presentation. They liked the presentation, or at least that’s what they told me.

    That’s a last I heard from them.

    Look, I can handle rejection, but by not contacting me it makes IBM look really bad. I would not be posting this if they had the courtesy to at least tell me.

    I don’t quite understand why they have to be so mean spirited.

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