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It recently occurred to me that a rough overview of a company's hiring process can reveal some interesting information to a potential employee about what kinds of thing they value in an employee. Giving this rough overview is also something that needs to be repeated in every single phone screening interview, which could be spent on gleaning more information about the candidate. I'm therefore left wondering why more companies don't include this information in the job ad.

The level of overview I'm thinking of the amount in the following two examples:

Example 1:

  • 30 minute phone screen
  • 1 hour technical interview focusing on questions for the candidate
  • 1 hour meeting with would-be manager and company founders

Example 2:

  • 45 minute phone screen
  • Take-home technical test
  • 2 hour meeting with people the candidate would be working with directly

As is hopefully clear, after each step in the above, the company has the option to stop continuing forward.

Some potential reasons I can think of, but which don't seem like they are the whole story to me:

  1. The company's hiring process is seen as a competitive advantage that they want to keep off the public web.
  2. The company is worried about scaring off employees with a long/arduous interview process.
  3. The company wants the ability to change the process for different candidates.

None of these seem like compelling enough reasons to me. Does one or more of these reasons have more weight than I think? Or are there other more important reasons I have not thought of?

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    It's work they don't need to do?
    – Kilisi
    Jul 5 at 23:14
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    I think this is company-specific. Each company has their own reasons on why to disclose or not to disclose their interviewing process. Some companies outsource the interviewing and recruiting process, so in those cases the process is not even theirs per se.
    – DarkCygnus
    Jul 5 at 23:15
  • Well, don’t they need it written down somewhere anyway? Copy-pasting it into the job ad doesn’t seem like much extra work.
    – Ryan1729
    Jul 5 at 23:17
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    You can always ask the recruiters about the interview process when they first contact you, which is the first question I ask them because I don't have time for 6 or 7 technical interviews for 1 job (1 interview per week). Jul 6 at 1:53
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    "Well, don’t they need it written down somewhere anyway?" -- I never saw it written down at any of the (small company) software jobs I worked. Jul 6 at 19:01

4 Answers 4

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It's possible that they haven't decided on the recruitment process in detail. Or maybe they want flexibility. The recruitment process may even vary for different candidates. They may decide they need to re-interview some candidates but not others, or give technical tests to those they're not certain of. If they get 10 good applicants they may need to do more to reach a decision than if they get one: if it comes down to 2 people, they may need to re-interview. And conversely, someone may be so good, they don't need to re-interview them. Or they may think you'd be better in a slightly different role, and need to get someone else involved.

There are also rather tedious practical reasons due to changing circumstances, like for instance they invite you to an interview but a senior manager can't be there at the last minute. In such circumstances, you may be interviewed by other people, who may be able to weed out some potential candidates, but if you're to proceed they need to get the absent manager to see you as well. Management may change, and the new management may want to speak to you. And companies often change their policies due to changing finances, changing focus/projects, etc: sometimes they'll think they can offer you a job, but find they need to get buy-in from someone else.

Sad thing is, recruitment is seldom the top priority of management. Often companies seem to have little idea how to recruit, how to interview, or what to do.

As others have mentioned, it's reasonable to ask a company about the process, and to mention any problems about availability or other factors that may affect your involvement. But as an applicant, I feel it's seldom as important as what you'll be doing when you get the job.

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The longer a job post is, the less people read it.

It’s already pretty difficult to get job applicants to read a short job posting and see if they’re a fit and follow the instructions to apply.

You could argue that it’s useful to get the interview process, the employee handbook, and benefit pamphlets too, and those aren’t secret, but there is also no clear recruiting benefit to adding them in.

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Most companies don't expect applicants to care that much. This is mainly because most companies aren't doing something wildly different from others in their industry and region (or at least they don't think so). So the assumption would be that it's not something that would change your mind about applying (since everyone's doing the same thing) and it's not anything that would be a surprise to most applicants (especially if it isn't their first job).

Most times I have seen an employer publicly disclose their hiring process, it's prefaced by a statement that they know this matters to people and that they do things differently from other companies. (A few companies aren't doing anything unusual, they just have it public because they have a huge, detailed careers section on their web site.)

Note that a general overview of how their hiring process usually goes should not be taken as a promise that all applicants went through the process the exact same way. For example, the Americans with Disabilities Act applies to the job application process as well.

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Imagine you want to remodel your house and hire a contractor.

Would listing your selection process in the bidding process be your top priority? No, it wouldn't.

When hiring someone, you tend to focus on your own needs, not on the needs of the person you're hiring. Also, your process for finding someone is likely to change over time for a multitude of reasons.

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