More likely than not, you've experienced that yourself. You saw a recruitment ad for a company, and applied. Now, you wait. And wait. And wait... Then, you finally get the call. You are invited to an interview. So you put on your best suit and go to the interview. Everything seems great. The hiring manager appears to be the ideal boss. You get excited. "We will let you know soon," the human resources manager tells you. And now you wait again. "Why aren't they calling?" you think to yourself. "I probably didn't get the job."

You are dying to call them to find out, because you can't stand the uncertainty. Maybe there is another possible job waiting for you, and you don't know what to do. What's a good time to call them? Would you sound too desperate if you called after two days? Maybe they lost your contact information, and now they think that you are not interested? This waiting game is just killing you.

Finally, three days after they were supposed to call you, you decide to make the call. You ask for the hiring manager, but she is in a meeting. You are told she will call you later. She doesn't. You call again, and ask her assistant if she knows anything. The assistant tells you that the hiring manager is "trying to define the job." That doesn't sound good. Wasn't the job supposed to already be defined before they posted it?

And just as you are ready to give up, they call. They are excited to make you an offer. It's pretty much what you expected, but it's a little hard for you to get excited again.

Has this ever happened to you? It happened to me, to my wife, and to almost everyone I know. But why?

There are several reasons for that.

Who is the customer?

First, is that the human resources, and specifically the in-house recruiter serves the hiring manager. Everything, from sourcing resumes to setting up interviews revolves around the hiring manager. Second, is that they use a short-term view of the recruiting process. Once the new employee is on board--their job is done. Now, the relationship is between the hiring manager and the new employee.

Emotional roller-coaster

But they are missing a very important thing. Job search is one of the most emotional periods in an adult's life. It is filled with fear, uncertainty, doubt, anxiety, low self-esteem, and the like. During that period, every little thing is a sign, and contributes to the emotional roller-coaster that the job-seeker is already experiencing. And it leaves a scar, even if the employee was eventually hired. That employee will always remember waiting for a call, or an update, to no avail.

This will forever remain the first impression of the company in that employee's mind. And you never get a second chance to make a first impression. As a result, the employee will not be as loyal, and will not trust his new supervisor (or the entire company, for that matter). That reduced trust will have a direct impact on the productivity and creativity of that employee, and thus the company.

Use Design Thinking

When it comes to product or service design, the Stanford University Design School ( tells us that there are 5 steps to develop great products and services. They call the process design thinking or human-centered design. The first step is called empathize. You must understand what your customer is experiencing when using your product or service.

Human Resource departments, and especially their recruiting arm, should adopt the same methodology. They should appreciate the vulnerability that a job-seeker feels, and realize the impact they have on his or her life, especially during this time. It doesn't require much of them. Really, all it take is communication and information. Let the candidate know what is going on. Let them know why the interview was rescheduled. Let them know that when you say "the hiring manager is trying to define the job," it doesn't mean that they are still considering whether to hire you or not. If they end up not hiring that employee--at least they will know that they treated someone with dignity, and helped alleviate their anxiety. And who knows? Maybe later they will hire him for another job. But if they did hire him--the first impression was of a very professional company that cared about you and your emotional roller-coaster. You will never forget that, and it will make you a much more loyal, productive, and creative employee.

It doesn't take much.