Woman bored in meeting

You’re an in-demand job candidate whose inbox is full of intriguing career prospects. Your favorite recruiter is courting you for a position high on your list.

You’ve decided to officially apply only your enthusiasm dips upon realizing you need to start filling out a job application that’s as tedious as it is long. Are they really asking you to document when you went to high school? They want to know the official start and end dates of the job you held 15 years ago? They need your driver’s license number and a list of skills.

Ugh. Forget it. You move on.

Face it, employers. The traditional recruiting process is outdated. “Either evolve or risk missing out on the top talent in this record-level candidate-driven market,” says Wes Ashworth, Vice President of Executive Search at Lee Group Search.

Ashworth suggest every CEO apply to his or her company in a “secret shopper” manner. Once a year, Ashworth recommends CEOs undergo the process themselves. That’s right. The CEO with 30 years of experience should sit down and go through the maddening fill-in-the-blank of an online application that takes 30 minutes to an hour to complete and is likely going to go unread.

“Most CEOs have no idea what candidates go through,” Ashworth says. “People who are the most desperate are going to put up with a cumbersome hiring process, but those aren’t the candidates top companies want to attract.”

It’s very much like free agency in sports, Ashworth says. The top free agents have their choice of signing with multiple teams. They’re not likely to go with one that makes them jump through 100 hoops.

An updated resume or thorough LinkedIn profile should become the new standard, Ashworth says. If HR personnel insist on having an application on file as part of protocol and are unwilling budge, have a candidate fill out the application after an offer has been accepted.

Some companies swear by the application process as part of their applicant tracking system. Ashworth would like to see more companies push back against the software and technology providers to adjust to the times. He cites an example of one glitch that delayed a company extending an offer letter and losing out on an elite candidate as a result.

In a nutshell, Ashworth says, “There’s got to be a better way, a solution that doesn’t involve candidates navigating bureaucratic hoops.”

It’s a talent war right now; elite candidates can choose from a number of attractive suiters. Your company’s hiring process should be as easy and smooth as possible and that’s from A-Z. CEOs, put yourself in a candidate’s shoes. That’s the only way to get the inside scoop on your own process. “The days of making a candidate jump through excessive hoops are over,” Ashworth says. “Wake up and change or you’re going to miss out on the top talent. Employers don’t have to like it, but that’s the truth.”

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