You might think that pornography and hiring have little to do with each other.   You'd be wrong.

In essence, looking for a job (or looking for specific talent) is a type of mating dance, and I often compare both endeavors  to dating - the comparison works well.  I think hiring is broken right now - I've felt that way for a while.  It still happens; I am still making a living finding people that companies will pay a fee to hire (thank goodness). But I see more broken processes than ever.   Companies  where  where hiring happens in spite of how they do it, not because of their efforts, are more common than not. This  is hard on everyone - me, the interviewers, the interviewees and the company itself.  We all lose.

Let me paraphrase U.S. Supreme Court Justice  Potter Stewart who said, basically,  "I'll know it when I see it" in regards to pornography in 1964.  That was hilarious when I heard it in a college class for the first time in the 80's.  I thought - what a silly way to define something.  It was less hilarious when I heard it from several hiring managers just this week.

I suspect a lot of companies are allowing interviewers to use the same murky mindset when they interview candidates.  I do not think this is the way to successful hires, folks.

We need to make sure that the interviewers know why they advance someone to the next stage.  It is important we know what skills and experience are needed in any role.  But also (possibly more importantly)  we also need them to know why they make a decision to pass on a candidate.  I'll go out on a limb and say an explanation of why they are passing on talent could possibly be even more important - definitely for zeroing in on finding better candidates, but also because letting that be the default drives bad interviewing behavior.

If when  people do initial phone screens they haven’t been charged with explaining why a candidate isn’t going to move forward in your process it can impact how they interview.   If they have an expectation of having to say something like “too light in CSS” or “not enough direct management experience” or even “he had a really crappy attitude” they will do a better interview.

Without that accountability they may (because we are all way too busy these days and interviewing is an interruption) find themselves in a hurry, or jumping on the phone to call someone while distracted, or (lets be honest this happens) let their mind wander during the conversation.  All of these behaviors can lead to a perfunctory interview and thus  a “no interest, not a fit” report.   Not a fit is always shorthand for something else, and it is that something else we need to have.

Look, no one gets fired for not hiring a candidate.  So that is always going to be the safest position to take as a default, but I think that safety oriented (or possibly murky, sloppy, and/or lazy) mindset costs companies great talent at least part of the time.  If the default position is not to hire people because "they didn't wow me" and there is no more concrete reason given, well that is a damn shame.

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