• Kiran Goojha

Want to Attract Top Talent? Avoid These Three Missteps


Last week, I got a standard ATS auto reject email. It was for a customer service lead role at a well-known technology company (one with 22K+ employees). What was peculiar about this email? I never applied for that specific role. It also wouldn't have been one I would have applied for in the first place (I don't have the background and it's not what I was looking for). Curious, I looked at my email history, and what do you know - I did apply for a job at the company back in February. However, it was for a digital strategy lead role, which makes sense because it's where my strengths lie.

So why was I rejected 8+ months later for a role I never applied for to begin with? A few reasons come to mind: the company updated the role and title and didn't bother to delete the original role in their ATS. They then did an ATS sweep of existing resumes, which triggered an auto-reject message to those who had applied to the original role and now no longer had the relevant keywords in their resumes for this new role.

The above interaction is just part of the larger issues we've been seeing with brand/in-house recruiting practices as a whole.

  • A lack of organization and process - process is not a four-letter-word. It's the best way for any company to avoid idiotic interactions (like the one above). Building processes from the get-go proactively allows departments, teams, and individuals to optimize candidate review and overall recruiting workflows.

  • Over-reliance on ATS - companies use this technology to streamline and optimize, but it shouldn't be the default for sifting through candidate qualifications through generic keyword matching. Recruiting and hiring managers should be actually reviewing resumes and cover letters. If your company is too massive to handle recruiting, outsource to a hybrid platform like Planted - which uses a combination of survey questions and a recruiter to vet candidates and also filter through resumes without the candidate having to do too much work up front. No candidate in this day and age should have to jump through hoops just to be considered.

  • Impersonal communications - auto emails are the worst. They never are on brand, don't encourage a connection with a candidate, and essentially reinforce the current feeling that employers don't care about candidates and only care about their bottom line. If you need to have an auto-email, at least offer a way for a candidate to provide feedback in the application process (regardless of when they receive this email) and give a candidate a method to ask for feedback.

My experience is also an important reminder about the need for companies to listen to the ongoing conversations about employer/employee relationships, the job market, and the value that candidates are placing on themselves. The most important, and no-brainer, piece of feedback to any company – be human and remember that technology is not a replacement for empathy and building trust.