Runa explains that recruiters are rarely paid to hire the best candidate. Instead, they try to hire people who won't leave in the short term.
Searching for a job is an incredibly tiring process and with rejection, you're left wondering what went wrong. You're left to believe there were better candidates than you so you revisit your resume, try to polish it a little more, customize it for the next company and go again. What you may not know is that you might have been rejected in spite of being the best candidate, as revealed by Runa, a consultant. “Did you really think that the companies try to hire the best, most qualified candidates?” asks Runa in a TikTok video, before explaining that it isn't the case at all. “Well, they don’t,” she says. Cracking a job interview has always been a bit mysterious and there's no single answer or method that guarantees you will be successful at every single interview. Runa's explanation sheds light on how recruiters think and what they look for.
She explains that hiring managers aren't paid to find the best candidate. "As a hiring manager, they don't get paid more because you perform outstandingly, like, you're the first in your team. But they do get penalized if their candidates keep on quitting early or disobey authority," she says, pointing out that they were looking for a risk-averse candidate that fit the profile they were looking for, which may not always be the most qualified candidate. For example, a candidate too qualified for a job will find work trivial, and most likely start looking for a new job. This would mean recruiters having to find another replacement. "What kind of candidates quit early and disobey authority? Usually, the ones that are the smartest or the most qualified—qualified in terms of experience and intelligence," she adds.
Runa explains that recruiters often frame questions to gauge the risk a candidate poses to the company as opposed to gauging someone's ability to carry out the work required. "So if they don't want to hire the best candidates out there, who do they want to hire? People with the least amount of risks," she says. "And that's what interview questions are—to measure your risk. 'Why did you leave your company' measures your risk of leaving again. 'What is your biggest weakness' is to see how bad you can screw up. It's really all psychology."
She then posted a second part to the series and explained what companies actually looked to hire the best candidates on offer and why. "If big companies don't hire the best, most qualified candidates, who does? Startups do," she explained that equity was one of the factors why they wanted to make a jump start. "Usually, everyone in startups have early equity which, yes, motivates them to hire the best candidates," she added.
Runa explained that start-ups needed to move up the ladder fast and hence looked for people who could innovate and get things done as opposed to those who helped maintain the status quo. "In a fast-growth environment, they need high performers to solve problems. And it is also another reason why you rarely hear questions like, 'What's your biggest weakness' going into a startup interview," she said. "Startup interview questions often sound something like, 'Here's a problem, how would you solve it?' So, are they not scared that these candidates are going to leave? Of course, they are. That's why they provide such good benefits and pay you based on the problems you can solve rather than the years of experience you have. The biggest difference: Startups would rather you stay for three months and solve a big problem that they have, rather than you stay for three years and do absolutely nothing," she added.
The video went viral and many couldn't help but thank her for the insight. "Yeap they want the safe performer who takes orders, not someone to outthink them," noted one person. Another person added that big companies followed this mode of hiring only in the lower rungs of the company. "They do hire the best of the best just not for “grunt” jobs. I mean like super senior high-level manager operator director person jobs," they wrote and Runa greed.