Avoiding Over-Filtering

When you create a tool, you have some responsibility to make sure that people aren’t accidentally using it incorrectly, in ways that harm themselves or their businesses. That’s why I’m writing this post that warns recruiters and hiring managers about the dangers of becoming too reliant on filters in hiring platforms.

Tools, like my company’s, make hiring faster and more effective, but they can also let hiring managers who aren’t careful lock themselves in a gated community. I’m talking about relying too much on using filters. Filters are one of those tempting tools that a hiring manager can use to put their job onto autopilot. After all, why bother wading through applicants that don’t meet the letter of your search, why are they even applying? There’s a very simple reason every hiring manager should be looking to hire people who fall just short of their requirements, that’s where some prime talent is. When you use the functions on hiring platforms to filter, you run the risk of removing candidates that don’t fall into the letter of your filter but might also be good matches for your company.

The danger of wishing for the moon and the stars when you’re looking for a passive candidate on an online platform is that those qualities don’t always translate to raw numbers. The perfect person for your senior manager position might not be someone with previous experience as a senior manager, they might be someone with experience as a junior manager who’s looking to move up in the world. Heck, depending on what’s available, if you’re a small startup and hire somebody who has that half decade of experience as a senior manager into your job, they may think that they’re “too good” for your startup company. When you hire someone who feels like their position is beneath them, that’s going to be reflected in their work right up to the day that they leave you in a lurch and run for what they think are greener pastures. If you think training a fresh hire is expensive, wait until you see how much a turnover of a “dream hire” costs you.

The main point I’m trying to get at is this: widen your range and look to hire for potential instead of just experience. Don’t be satisfied with one search, filter but don’t let filtering be your be all end all. If you think you need someone with six years of experience, broaden the search lower. A long career of experience doesn’t always translate into better performance at your company, especially if they feel underemployed. When you’re using a hiring platform, try every possible combination of filters rather than all at once. See who has the experience you need, who has the skills you need, then weigh your options according to what your company needs and whether they would make a good fit.

Hiring platforms are really fantastic and none of the criticisms I’ve made here take away from that. A good hiring platform in the hands of a good hiring manager can speed up hiring, increase the range of candidates available, and help a company grow at speed that matches their means and needs. But, like any tool, they have a potential to be misused. So keep in mind the potential that some optimal candidates may be just outside of your search, then take a second to loosen the filter and see if you’re missing that golden hire.