The Hoops

  By Chris Heinz  |    Monday September 27, 2021

Category: Expert Advice, Productivity, Recruiting


If you’ve been recruiting for more than a month, you are already an expert…

If you’ve been recruiting for 20+ years like myself, this has become second nature to you…

What is “this,” you ask?  Well, my friends, “this” is making candidates jump through hoops!

Some of our “hoops” are small like the size of an earring hoop, while others seem like the size of Saturn’s rings!


Let’s think about some of our favorite “hoops” we have candidates jump through:

  • Can you send me your resume tonight?
  • Complete this assessment?
  • When can you complete the attached questionnaire?
  • Can you talk for a couple of minutes?
  • When can you interview (phone, zoom, in-person)?
  • Do you know how to do a zoom?  
  • (Oh wait, this question doesn’t apply thanks to the past 18 months)
  • Will you take your resume off the job boards?
  • The interview process will be 4-5 steps long; will you be willing to go through all the steps?
  • When will you be resigning?
  • And on, and on…

I could keep on listing them but you get the point, right?

If we’re doing our job as professional recruiters/talent access specialists, we are recruiting primarily passive talent.  It is important to remember that these professionals are good at what they do and they are typically busy at their job.  If they weren’t good and busy, we probably wouldn’t be interested in them in the first place.  Does anyone want a mediocre-at-best person who shows up and does just enough to get by?  Anyone?  Of course not!  We want the best of the best.  That’s what we get paid to recruit.

With this understanding in mind, we are magicians because we convince candidates to jump through 5-20 hoops throughout the process.  Some of these hoops are of our creation, such as sending their resume, giving interview availability, and providing references.  Others come directly from our client-companies, such as 3-5 interviews, assessments, online tests, scenario-driven projects (common in IT), or applications.

Some of the hoops are absolute necessities, while others are there because that’s how we’ve always done it.  


What can we do about this?

The most important thing we can do with our candidates is to set clear expectations.  Done poorly, you will scare away every candidate except the desperate.  This would sound like, “I will need you to send me your resume, 3 references, complete 2 online assessments, go through 4 interviews (maybe 5) - almost all during the workday, talk to me each step of the way, wait a week to hear back from me, accept the job when I give you the offer, resign, say goodbye to all your work friends, and show up for work at your new employer.”  

Even though all of these steps may very well be necessary and unavoidable, if you share them all at once, you WILL scare them away!

Perhaps you could explain, “for the right candidate, the process will be 3-4 steps, but we will help you through it and work to make it as painless as possible.  Every interview allows both the company and yourself to learn more about each other to ensure that it is the right situation for both of you.”


Educate Your Hiring Managers

Some hiring managers have hired the same way for 30 years.  Maybe an added element of technology has come into play, but for the most part, they haven’t changed.

Through storytelling/example sharing, help your hiring manager understand the reality of the saying “time kills all deals.”  Help them realize that 5-6 steps over 3 weeks will almost guarantee they will lose good candidates. They may keep those mediocre-at-best candidates described above, but not the ones they truly want.  The best candidates will either lose interest in the opportunity because they are still doing a good job at their current company, or will accept another offer from a company that had an accelerated process.  This isn’t theory or a sales pitch, it is absolute fact!

Is every one of the interviews absolutely necessary?  Can two of them be combined together into one?  

When is the last time the HR team evaluated the effectiveness of their assessment tools?  How have they truly helped with retention and mis-hires?

Is the good ‘ole application really necessary anymore?  Many systems now can import the relevant information directly from their resume.


What about our own hoops?

Yes, we need a resume…

Yes, we need them to be available to interview…

Yes, we need … everything else we need…


But, we can help minimize some of the hoops:

  • Have a pre-written resignation letter where they can change a couple of the words and use
  • When you prep them for interviews, have a written document highlighting the points you walk them through
  • Make sure they have email addresses of those they interview with so they can send thank you notes

These are just a few of the ways we can help.  The hoops won’t be eliminated.  But, we can work with both our processes and our client company’s processes to help shrink their size and quantity.

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