Have you had difficulties in hiring lately, it could be because of your recruitment process flow. 

Recruiters find recruiting has become significantly harder during the last five years. We all know recruitment is a process, but what kind of process, let's look into it. To know whether the candidates are stuck in a poor recruitment process flow, the most important thing we need to ask first is:

Are you in a field of work, where there are more qualified people looking for a job than open vacancies, or more vacancies open than qualified people to hire to do the job?

The world of work has changed. Expertise is needed more and more in every job. Take changing car tyres, for example. Traditionally, you changed tyres quickly and easily yourself. Nowadays, you have to go to a service station to have them changed. This is because of the increasing use of information technology in cars.

Instead, changing tyres nowadays is a convenient way to carry out other maintenance, such as updating the car's computer and map software. This means that a garage no longer necessarily needs an extra pair of hands but a specialist, who can use computer software designed for cars and work with modern cars. This narrows the garage's chances of finding suitable workers to hire significantly.


For a recruiter this is The Key Question to understand: if you are in a field that the demands of expertise have increased and there are no longer more qualified people around than there are open vacancies around, the days of succeeding to hire qualified people in a traditional way are over. There are two choices: to discover this sooner and change one's way to recruit or to discover this later and see recruiting getting harder and harder with every hire. But what to do? We'll come to that. Let's just ask that Other Important Question. 

The Next Important Question

The next important question one needs to ask is: in a dream situation, would you like to hire a person, who not only fits the job description but also supports the culture and the mentality and values of your working place? 

Sadly the "dream situation" has to be added to complete this question, since the first priority, to get at least a few enough qualified applicants, is hard enough to fulfil. But this doesn't – and most importantly it shouldn't – be the case. On the contrary: hiring the right people is one of the key assets of successful business. This should be the top priority of every CEO, every strategy, every HR person. And very often it is, at least in theory.

The difficulty is that it is very hard to fix a situation, when one really can't put a finger on where the actual problem is. The good news is: there is a lot that can be done, and there are ways to find out what goes wrong.

The Recruitment Process Flow – Who Actually Swims in It?

If you want to get the best people to work for you, your recruitment process flow has to be made as fluent as possible from the applicant's point of view. Why? Because a expert who is skillful in a field where there are more jobs than experts around isn't likely to be looking for a job. If the expert isn't looking for a job she doesn't hang out in job portals searching for one. Why not? Because she already has a job. Therefore she also doesn't have her CV up-to-date and she wouldn't even look at an open job announcement – because they are not for her. 

BUT: a person who isn't looking for a job doesn't mean she couldn't be interested, if the right job would come her way. And this is where the recruitment has to catch the candidate's attention and needs to get the recruitment process flowing to catch the attention and finally – to make the hire. The question remains, how?

Diving Into the Traditional Recruitment Process Flow

In traditional recruiting process flow one doesn't first of all talk about a flow at all. It is more like a path filled with obstacles trying to prevent the applicant from arriving to the recruiter. 

Let's look at the traditional recruitment process flow more closely. There are many moments that fail to help the potential candidate to apply. And before we do that, let's take a short closer look at whom we are actually talking about: we are not talking about an applicant who is desperate to try to work with us. We are talking about an expert we are desperate to hire.

  1. 1. There is a job ad in a job portal.
  2. 2. The Expert needs an updated CV, an application and a letter addressed to the employer of why the applicant should be hired.
  3. 3. There is a long waiting before the Expert knows whether or not she is hired


#1 Our Expert would not be in the job portal, so one can forget about that. There would have to be an ad and it has to be elsewhere. So one pays a little (or quite a bit more) extra to make that ad to be seen in social media and as the number one on the list of similar jobs for some period of time in the portal's website. 

"In the traditional recruitment the ad is advertising products from us and from our competitors"

Hold on, what was just being said: a listing of similar jobs? From the competitors? So the ad has brought the Expert we want to a pool of similar jobs not only from us but from many others. What if she doesn't click our ad at all? Or drifts to another ad after having checked ours? If this would be an industry selling products, our ad would be advertising our own products. In the traditional recruitment the ad is advertising products from us and from our competitors. We would never do that in normal life. Why do we do it then in recruitment? 

Drifting to another ad is one thing, the other thing is that there are usually tons of other interesting content provided by the portal to be clicked at, so it is easy for the Expert to click on those as well, and what we have just managed to do is to create more value for the portal by bringing more clicks to them with our ad or worse even: we have paid for our competitor to get the Expert we want. 

#2  Since our Expert isn't looking for a job, she will not apply. End of story. 

...In order to even get us to #2 stage, we need to do quite a lot more. We need to make it possible for the Expert to want to know more, open conversation, make her want to apply. That would be a fluent recruitment process flow. How to do this? That's a problem one should definitely solve. 

Some recruitment services offer to send an email to find out more. But that can be a loose gun in the employer's hands: if the interested experts include too much personal information in the email, the employer ends up having an illegal register against the GDPR and has soon a lot bigger problems to be concerned about than the recruitment. 

In the traditional recruitment process flow we'll have to in other words make the assumption that despite the passive attitude towards job opportunities – and our competitors' ads of other interesting jobs and the other interesting content provided right beside our ad – the Expert clicks our ad and wants all the sudden to apply. 

So she has to sign in. To do that she needs to download the app of the portal providing the recruitment service from the app store. She goes to the app store, downloads the app and is now in the app far away from the original job ad. That is no longer anywhere to be seen. She needs to find it again. Before doing so – IF she ever manages to find it again – she needs now to sign in to the app. This is a relevant moment to ask: would you be willing to give your personal contact details for an employer that you are not actually applying for? 

And by the way, does this sound like a process flow so far to you? 

In the traditional recruitment process we will now have to imagine we have come to the stage at which the Expert has seen all this trouble to apply for a work she was not looking for. She has successfully downloaded the app, signed in and found the original ad again. Now all she needs to do is to fill in a long application form, download an updated CV and write a letter to an unknown employer that convinces the employer – whom she doesn't need, know or necessarily even want but who needs her – to hire her.  

Yet there is another problem to come: she has found the ad in social media. She has a phone in her hand, not a computer. How does she fill in the application form and update her CV (which she is lucky even to have on her phone) AND write a letter? The chances that anyone would go through that amount of trouble on a phone is close to zero. 

#3 Imagine the traditional recruitment process flow has miraculously guided the Expert through the previous stages and she now has successfully sent an application. Now she waits for weeks for the closing of the application deadline and then for weeks to get into an interview. That having gone well – after all, she is the Expert we desperately want – it will take weeks for the employer to finally be in contact with the Expert. 

Since we have now gone through the flow all the way together, which one of the following answers do you think the final outcome of the story would most likely be?

  • The Expert gets a phone call saying we would be happy to hire her.
  • An email saying sorry, because of tens of equally brilliant applications we got through the same recruitment process we finally decided to choose another brilliant Expert. 
  • The Expert doesn't get any answers from anywhere because she didn't apply in the first place.

In search of the real main character

Let's take the same thing in a different way. Let's do it in a way we'll forget about the employer for a second – since if that hasn't gotten clear yet: the employer is not the main character of the recruitment process and the recruitment process flow story. The Expert is. So the recruitment and the recruitment process flow should be about her and her experience.

This Is How Things Should Go from The Expert's Point of View

The Expert sees an interesting ad for a job that interests her. She talks with the potential employer about the things that are important to her and they have a genuine conversation, where they can get to know each other a little better. The Expert has a chance to get to know the employer before she makes up her mind. If the work seems to interest the Expert for real and she considers the employer interesting enough, they can start discussing more about the details. If it seems likely the hire is going to happen the Expert now provides the necessary documents and after having agreed upon the contract details the employer can make the hire.

Sounds easy, right? Well, this is the moment where one usually says: sure it sounds easy, but wonderful stories are much easier said than done. Luckily this time it isn't the case. Why not? Since this is not actually a story. This is a candidate driven recruitment process flow. 

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