What is a “slow no?”
A “slow no” is a communication device used by hiring managers or recruiters for keeping short listed candidates warm as a back-up plan. It involves indirect and opaque communication, which is a death knell to any search carried out with integrity. It might involve no communication at all, or fluff about delays. Sometimes it’s intentional. Sometimes it’s about incompetence, lack of knowledge, training , experience and confidence. Frequently, it’s about all of the above.
Either way the candidate knows that he or she is not the preferred candidate, but doesn’t know why. No direct feedback is given.
Three of the most frustrating experiences candidates report relate to the quality and regularity of communication with the head hunter or hiring manager.
1. No updates
Candidates get more upset by not having a status update than being told they are unsuccessful or if there is a delay. Avoidance strategies damage the employer brand. This is especially true if the candidate is aware of a prescribed process within a certain time frame and they are not included. If second stage interviews are to be held in London in March and it’s now April – they know there is a problem. This is a failed slow no.
“Lack of communication is a real problem. I get really annoyed when my emails and calls are unanswered, especially if the head hunter contacted me in the first instance.
Hiring processes are actually becoming slower and longer than ever. As the chain of decision-making becomes extended, multiple interviews are increasingly common. In senior level jobs, candidates commonly report 6 or even 10 interviews as the process (risk responsibility?) is diffused. Read: Why too many interviews is bad hiring practise. To deal with this, candidates need to take vacation days to meet all the necessary stakeholders. This makes the hiring manager seem indecisive and disorganised and clearly impacts the brand.
“There are obviously always extenuating circumstances but the hiring process should have a streamlined time effective process and milestones, which wherever possible should be adhered to”
3. Evasive responses
Nothing makes candidates more annoyed than evasive responses from the head hunter. This could be because they don’t know the job or client well enough, or they don’t have the information themselves. At that point you have to say you don’t know, but will get back to them. Candidates appreciate transparency and see evasion as part of the “slow no” process.
“I’m a grown up! Just tell me how it is and allow me to make a decision. You are more likely to lose me as a candidate by being evasive than by being straight”
At the root of this is also, and perhaps more worrying, is a lack of understanding of the cost of an open position to the business.