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Time to Fire These Recruiters and Hiring Managers

Recruiting is one of the most important tasks at any company, but especially at an expanding start up. If you want great employees, have great recruiters and hiring managers.

Your recruiting staff is the gate keeper to your company. If you can't get past the recruiters you can't get a job with the company. Many small business don't have dedicated recruiters, but you still have recruiting staff. Who screens resumes? Who does phone interviews? Who advises managers on candidates? Those people are your recruiting staff, regardless of their job titles and other responsibilities.

Some of them are fabulous and some of them are not. Some need to be fired. And, some of the ones that need to be fired are proudly proclaiming their horrible ideas on the internet. In this Yahoo article, "The 10 Things You Do That Turn the Interviewer Off," there are a number of things mentioned that turn interviewers off. Fair enough. We all have our pet peeves. But we do not make hiring decisions over minor things.

If your recruiters (which often means hiring managers) are rejecting candidates because of these things, go ahead and reject your recruiters. 

Polished shoes. Author Martin Yate says, "I always want to see the heels of a candidate's shoes--most people drive and have scuffed right heels--not polishing shoes shows a lack of attention to detail and self-respect. Also cleanliness, because it is a signal of self-worth." If your recruiters or hiring managers are spending any time looking at heel scuffs, fire that recruiter. I can think of a handful of jobs where that matters (fashion consultant, for instance) but in almost all jobs, this is entirely irrelevant. Yes, job candidates should dress appropriately for interviews, but if you are rejecting otherwise awesome candidates for scuffed heals, you are wielding power purely because you can. Personally, I'd keep Mr. Yates far away from the hiring process.

Wants to know the title. Katie Burke, spokeswoman for HubSpot says her company is a startup, so everyone pitches in and if you want to know what the title is for the job, well that's a sign"you're likely not willing to roll up your sleeves when the going gets tough." Seriously. She considers wanting to know the job title is a sign that you're going to sit in a corner, fold your arms and say, "Not my job!" No, Ms. Burke, someone who asks about a title is asking because it's unclear what the job entails. We all totally get that at start ups, people wear many hats. Your job candidates know that as well. But, if you can't come up with a title, it's not bizarre that a candidate would ask. And let's face it, titles are important to people. I agree that this question shouldn't come up, because the recruiter should have communicated the potential title at the beginning of the process. If it does, it's not a sign that the candidate isn't a team player, it's a sign that your company needs to figure out a title.

Weak handshake. I hate dead fish handshakes. But, is this a reason not to hire someone?Emily Miller, a former credit union branch manager, thinks so. A weak handshake is not a character flaw and it may well be because of medical reasons. Is Ms. Miller announcing that anyone with arthritis need not apply? I'm sure she doesn't think that. She's just going off her own personal preference for a strong handshake and equating that with being good at a job. It's not.

Now, to be fair, many of the suggestions in this article are good ones.Being rude to junior staff, having a negative attitude, failing to act interested in the job, and not being prepared for interviews are all things that reflect badly on the candidate. Recruiters who reject such people are fully justified.

Check in on your recruiting process. Is your company rejecting people who would be great employees because the people doing the hiring have made some arbitrary standard?

And one more note: Thank you notes. If you want to reject candidates for not writing thank you notes, fine, but make sure that your recruiters respond to every resume submission and follow up regularly with all candidates, and inform everyone when the position has been filled. No fair demanding politeness from candidates when your company is unspeakably rude to them.

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Last updated: Aug 4, 2014

SUZANNE LUCAS | Columnist

Suzanne Lucas spent 10 years in corporate human resources, where she hired, fired, managed the numbers, and double-checked with the lawyers.

The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.



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