Recruiters are going to hell. Reddit hell.

The subreddit’s popularity has been soaring over the last year.
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Tim and Eric Awesome Show Great Job!/Adult Swim via Giphy

· 4 min read

With a record surplus of job openings—this month’s Job Openings and Labor Turnover Summary from the Bureau of Labor Statistics found 11.5 million vacancies throughout the US on the last day of March—you might think that recruiters are rolling out red carpets, festooning corporate hallways with rose petals, and perhaps hyping their perks like Michael Buffer under the bright lights of the MGM Grand.

But if the invective aimed at the general recruiting landscape on Reddit’s aptly named r/recruitinghell subreddit is anything to go by, it’s clear that from offer letters to onboarding, missteps are common. Intended as a place “for all of those recruiters and candidates who really don’t get it,” the subreddit is rife with “horror stories” inflicted on both sides of the hiring process, like a recruiter using the community to ask for advice, or the confessions of a job seeker who claims to have been hired after getting “past the HR filters by lying extensively on my résumé.”

Much like the antiwork movement that flourished on Reddit last year, r/recruitinghell has also blown up: From March 2020–2021, the sub experienced a 63% increase in subscribers and a 26% increase in comments and posts, a Reddit spokesperson told HR Brew in an email. But from last March to March 2022, its popularity grew dramatically, with a 78% increase in subscribers and a 113% increase in posts and comments, according to data Reddit shared with HR Brew.

The road to recruiting hell can take a positive detour if it’s followed by good onboarding, according to Josh Wise, director of people at the integrated technology and creative production agency Blink. “While the company’s first impression, you could argue, is in the interview process, the real first impression that an employee gets is on their first day, and in the days leading up to that first day,” he told HR Brew.

Onboarding, the difference maker. Wise remembers one particularly bad onboarding experience at his previous job. “I came up on…two days before my remote job was supposed to start. And I didn’t have any paperwork filled out. I hadn’t been given access to any systems. I didn’t know where I was supposed to be on my first day, or who I was supposed to be talking to,” he said.

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A bad onboarding experience is usually defined by poor communication, he said. Another way in which onboarding can turn sour is when a new hire is “immediately launched into work,” Wise added. If the onboarding is poor, a new hire might “not [be] given a chance to acclimate to get to know the different people in the different departments, to spend some time with HR to talk about higher level company things, [or] spend some time with their manager to talk about job-specific things.”

Have companies lost the onboarding plot? Wise thinks that “companies are losing their way,” with respect to onboarding, adding “that there are just a lot of smaller and inexperienced companies out there that don’t understand the importance of an onboarding experience.” That slapdash approach to acclimating new hires is reflected in the lamentations of Redditors, but Wise doesn’t think a poor onboarding experience means new hires will be immediately compelled to quit. “It just means that the initial impression that they have with the company is not a settling one. So then they…just spend their time getting acclimated and talking themselves into this still being a good decision that they’ve made.”

Or perhaps they’ll wind up spending a good chunk of their workdays on Reddit, blowing off steam.—SB

Do you work in HR or have information about your HR department we should know? Email [email protected] or DM @SammBlum on Twitter. For completely confidential conversations, ask Sam for his number on Signal.

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