Overly Elaborate Hiring Processes

Some of the other correspondents on this site have complained about small business hiring processes that seem overly elaborate and don’t work.  But small businesses are not alone.

I read a item the other day that to get a job at Apple, one had to face a total of 13 interviews.  Nosing around further, I read a post by a guy who wanted to get a job in a local Apple store.  He had four interviews, and didn’t get the job.  But at least they did have the courtesy to tell him when he was no longer in the running.

And that was for a job working retail: I can readily imagine that a management gig could require thirteen interviews.

I can imagine small business owners reading about best practices from firms like Apple and setting up similar processes.  But for a small business, if you’re spending time and money on such efforts, you’re not spending it on actually producing anything.

But why?

  • Fear of lawsuits: one of the quickest ways to go out of business is a lawsuit from an unhappy ex-employee.  So perhaps companies try to do more rigorous screening to avoid hiring someone who might later turn to litigation.
  • Specific company priorities:  part of Apple’s success turns on developing new products and releasing them to the public on its terms, rather than when the juicy details leak out.  So a company like Apple wants to make sure that its employees know to keep mum.  (But that doesn’t apply to most small businesses.)
  • The sense that individuals cannot be held responsible for hiring decisions and that it should be a group decision.  I went to an event years ago that demonstrated the concept: an event was staged for the participants, and then we were asked to answer questions about it.  After we did that, we were asked to meet in small groups and discuss our answers.  The intent was to show that the collective answer was more accurate than the individual answer.  But beyond that, education for the last 50 years has been aimed at teaching the young not to trust the judgement of their own minds.

If a large company like Apple has an overly elaborate hiring process, it’s entirely their privilege: they have a right to protect their interests, and they’re paying the costs.  But a small business generally doesn’t have the same concerns.  Are they afraid of being sued?  Are they afraid of making a decision?

Damned if I know….

3 thoughts on “Overly Elaborate Hiring Processes”

  1. It’s all poppycock and foney baloney.

    Hiring is not what it used to be.

    We all know what happens now at an interview. They’re cutting off their noses to spite their faces.

    And it seems that the smaller the company is (or the trendier it is) the bigger the splash they need to hire for an open spot.

    An hour ago, I came home — here is a message left for my by a company at 3 pm; I was supposed to interview with them tomorrow morning at 11.

    “We hired from the inside so we will not be having any interviews.” Granted they called but cheez louise…you are doing this NOW???

    I see today you also had another ad in the paper for the job. You couldn’t hold the ad until “I” got there tomorrow???

    Sometimes you wonder what it’s all about.

    My spidey sense tells me that somebody came in today for an interview, they took that person on the spot and the rest of us who were supposed to be interviewed got a thanks but no. Nobody from the inside wanted this job. A current employee who was interested in that job could have approached them when it was made known on the inside that the spot was available, long before they ran the ad this past Sunday.

    And then I look in the mail; here’s a snail mail rejection letter from the “company CEO” — dated 5 days ago (the company is 30 miles from here and that means I would get that letter in one day exactly so nice try on that one, toots), the wrong position that I “applied” for is named in the letter and my “application” is not being considered for further consideration.

    Some stupid kid who got that job sent those letters. And the punctuation is wrong in “Thank you, again, for your interest in our company.”

    Something is going on up there; the head of sales and the head of HR is also open for hiring. All the rats are probably jumping ship.

    Take your Canadian company and head you know where. That’s what I think. And I’ll bet your equipment and machinery is made overseas, too.

    Sometime you wonder what it is all about. I have another iron in the fire at a company about 20 minutes from here; let’s see what happens there.

  2. Even when the employees have already been hired, it’s hard for even large organizations to make up their minds. Department of Defense employees are subject to being furloughed for 22 days (176 hours) between now and the end of September. DoD just got a full-year appropriation rather than funding under a continuing resolution. Depending on what that level of funding is, it ought to be possible to avoid the furloughs, and to make that decision quickly. Instead, DoD is putting of the decision of whether or not to issue furlough letters for two weeks.

    Fear of litigation seems to be a more justifiable fear when you are hiring a high-level employee than someone who makes $10 an hour without benefits, if only because the better-paid employee is more likely to be able to afford the lawsuit.

  3. Personally I think big companies are stricter with hiring because the majority of the new jobs come from small businesses. Not sure if I mentioned this before (probably)but years ago I interviewed with Best Buy and they required something like 6 interviews, several letters of recommendation, all for a low paying job. I ended up getting a better job but still couldn’t believe it.

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