Recruitment: A practical approach to reshaping the applicant experience

Applying for work is not a recreational activity. In fact, it can be a misery.

Theo Dawson
4 min readNov 29, 2022


One of my worst recruitment experiences occurred years ago when I was applying for a professorship at a prestigious university. I spent two days on campus, meeting with students and faculty — from breakfast through dinner — on both days. Then, I returned home and the hiring committee ghosted me. Needless to say, I learned nothing from that experience except that I did not appear to be considered worthy of any follow-up. It was downright demeaning.

Rational job-seekers like myself 😉 don’t expect the application process to be enjoyable, but we’d sure appreciate it if there weren’t so many hoops to jump through, and we’d be especially grateful if there wasn’t so much waiting, duplication of effort, and lack of follow-up. Moreover, we’d love to feel respected and to learn something from the process—ideally, something that would improve our chances next time.

Although it’s not realistic to imagine that we can make the process of applying for a role something that potential employees look forward to, we can avoid unnecessarily wasting applicants’ time, and we can certainly make the process less demeaning and more rewarding for everyone involved.

Applicant benefits?

The best employers work to create efficient application processes that are respectful of applicants’ time, keep applicants informed as they move through the process, provide timely feedback for final candidates, and otherwise treat applicants with respect. However, few employers have the resources to provide personal feedback to every applicant, which means that most applicants aren’t given any real opportunity to reap the one potential benefit from engaging in any process—the opportunity to learn from the experience.

Why does this matter?

Clearly, employers are not obliged to provide benefits to all applicants. But what if providing benefits for all applicants also provided benefits for employers—such as future potential employees equipped with better skills for deciding, problem-solving, working with others, and learning optimally from everyday workplace experience?

Applicant benefits, Lectica style

As you already know if you’re a regular reader, Lectica—the nonprofit that owns me—is on a mission to help the world think better. We’re doing this by creating tools that foster the kind of learning that matters most—learning that results in the development of competent, caring humans with agile, adaptive minds.

Given our mission, it should come as no surprise that Lectica First and Lectica First Cut (Lectica’s flagship recruitment products) have been designed to provide learning benefits for every applicant.

As part of its nonprofit mission, Lectica provides every job candidate who successfully completes a Lectical Assessment with a complimentary customized report. This report is designed to support the development of the applicant’s skills for learning optimally from everyday workplace and life experience while practicing skills for deciding, problem-solving, and working effectively with others.

You can view a Lectica First report by logging in to as username: fredtoto, password: justright_12.

We’ve also built in three other important benefits for applicants:

  1. Lectical Assessments are fair. The fit between applicants’ mental ability and the challenges of the role they are applying for is the best predictor of role success. With Lectica First, everyone who applies for a particular role is given the same opportunity to take a Lectical role fit assessment. You won’t be deprived of this opportunity by being screened out on the basis of flimsy evidence from less predictive screening devices.
  2. Lectical Assessments are fair. They do not discriminate on the basis of gender, ethnicity, or race.
  3. Applicants are in charge. They own their assessments and assessment results.
  4. Assessment results are transferable. The results of a Lectical Assessment completed for a role inside one organization can easily be transferred to another role inside that organization or any other organization.

Will Lectica’s contribution make applying for jobs fun?

Probably not. But applicants who engage in the practices we recommend in their Lectical Reports will build skills for learning the way the brain likes to learn, and this makes learning more fun, which leads to even more learning, which increases the number of competent candidates…Oh my!

ViP info | ViP rationale



Theo Dawson

Award-winning educator, scholar, & consultant, Dr. Theo Dawson, discusses a wide range of topics related to learning and development.