Blog Post |

Blame the Market All You Want: My Son’s First Job and Why an Inclusive Recruitment Process is Your Road to Retention

Rachel Bates

September 20, 2022

For the past 20+ years, recruitment processes have been built mainly around the needs of employers. And we wonder why many frontline employees leave jobs in the first 30 days. In today’s market, we have to turn the tables and meet candidates where they’re at.

Today I helped coach my son Dylan on how to get his first job at the local farmers market.

Keep in mind:

  1. Dylan’s an outgoing kid, rarely asks for help, and generally figures things out
  2. His dad, who wants to instill a strong work ethic in his son, has been putting a ton of pressure on Dylan to get a job. 

The most significant barrier in making this happen for Dylan was understanding how to ‘get a job’. How to ask for help, apply, handle any questions around schedule flexibility, and the best way to answer some of the application questions. These challenges had nothing to do with his work ethic. The process was overwhelming, even for a self-starter, confident kid.

So I helped him through this, and it was an excellent mother-son bonding moment.

Now, what you should also know is that he has a top-notch coach for a mother. In over 20 years, I’ve hired close to 400 people, acted as a career coach and mentor to hundreds more in my network, and have worked the last six years in HR tech, spending my days thinking about improving hiring processes.

What I learned today was not that hiring processes from the candidate experience suck – that’s old news – but what Dylan’s position of privilege gives him access to, and how early this starts.

Now – if this is an intimidating process for Dylan, think about it through the lens of people who might not have access to a network of people (or a career coach as a mother!) who they can lean on for help:

  1. Non-native English speakers or 1st generation immigrants accessing the US labor market for the first time 
  2. Parents trying to balance paying their bills and child care coverage who are afraid to ask for schedule flexibility 
  3. People dependent on public transportation to get to work and don’t understand the realities of their commute until they are 3 days into the job
  4. People with physical or cognitive disabilities who don’t know the supply chain environment can even accommodate them
  5. Middle-aged women who’ve been pushed out of one industry and considering a change into a traditionally male-dominated sector 

A more inclusive hiring process that considers the candidate, and all privileges they may or may not have, is the road to retention. And before we go blaming the market, really look at your hiring process through the lens of your talent pool and ask whether you can do better. I promise you you can.

Rachel Bates

Rachel Bates, Chief Revenue Officer |

Rachel is Chief Revenue Officer at WorkStep where she owns the go-to-market teams for WorkStep RETAIN and HIRE. She has spent the past 20 years building and leading high-growth diverse sales organizations, with the last 7 years spent in HR Tech. At WorkStep she has worked with some of the largest companies in the world, partnering with HR and OPs teams across manufacturing, logistics, retail, and transportation industries to improve hourly worker retention.