Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Does Your Recruitment Process Suck?

It's nice to see the UK job market improving - many of my friends who have been 'on sabbatical' for a year or so are now finding their way back into permanent employment, but some of the stories they tell about recruitment processes make me want to cry.

Most popular experience - submitting an application, following up and then hearing nothing back. Nada. Not so much as a short 'You're rubbish and we don't like the font you used' email.

In second place - having a face to face interview (in person or on Skype) and hearing nothing back. Given that at this point they have typically met some of the people from the company too - the offence and level of rudeness is even more exaggerated.

Third on the list - repeated contact telling people to 'just wait' while decisions are made, other candidates are interviewed or organisation changes are taking place. In other words, "Our time is valuable, yours isn't, we're trying to find someone better, but if we don't we might just hire you."

I could carry on with these - from systems that eliminate candidates who don't enter their expected salary in the right ballpark, to skills not counting if they have been learned in other industries (I especially enjoyed the tale of a large financial institution looking for a full time employee engagement and culture specialist insisting that they would only interview candidates from other banks......)

Ask yourself one question. What impression of these companies are people left with? What do you think they tell their friends? How likely is it that their brand will be improved from these interactions? 

Then there's the personal level. In several of the cases above, job offers were eventually extended. How valued would you feel as an employee walking through the door on day one after having been treated this way (if indeed the offer was accepted)?

Contrast this to a conversation I had a few weeks ago on a flight back from Barcelona. 

Several members of the executive team of a very well known global sportswear company were sat around me, and I got talking to their new head of UK Sales & Marketing. He was four weeks into the role - and still in 'training'.

During the recruitment process he had interviewed with a number of people from the company. Finally he sat down with the Managing Director for a discussion. 

Within 24 hours he was offered the job.

Despite all the efforts of his previous employer to retain him, he chose to move on. And why wouldn't he? They wanted him NOW. Here was a company that felt confident enough in his abilities to extend an immediate offer. 

A company that made fast decisions, that was passionate about their products, and finding the right people. Above all else, one where taking this 'risk' was acceptable, and where it was part of the company culture to be enthusiastic and passionate about everything - including recruitment.

The passion for his new employer, their product and ethos was palpable. It rubbed off on me, and although my family have all been big fans for years, we've spent some money since on refreshing our supply......

I spent some time with Zappos a few years ago. Early on, the HR team realised that recruitment was not all about finding the right people for the company - it was also about leaving those 'rejected' from the process with a good feeling about Zappos. So they started to recommend other companies that may be a better  'fit' to candidates that didn't quite make it - using experience and a library of culture data.

The company 'powered by service' extends that to everyone that touches them. Because it's good for business, and it's a nice thing to do. 

So why not take some time today to review how well you do with the 'recruitment experience' in your company? You may not feel it's worth the effort to treat people well - but can you really afford not to in this age of social media and brand awareness?

What does your recruitment process say about you as a company?

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