Posted by: on Thu 1 December 2011
When I was a little girl did I dream of becoming an adult movie ‘fluffer’???!! The answer to that is clearly ‘no’!! It may also seem like a slightly strange opening sentence for a recruitment blog. However, the life of a recruiter these days can sometimes feel just like that; keeping candidates warm for days, sometimes weeks, on end is no easy feat.
Despite our best efforts to manage the process to suit both parties, the following issues (which can all be off putting to good candidates) arise fairly frequently:
- delays initially reviewing CVs
- delays confirming actual interview dates and times
- employers chopping and changing interview dates – sometimes at the very last minute
- shifting goal-posts, in terms of actual requirements, throughout the interview process
- delays in providing feedback on interviews conducted
- delays in issuing formal written offers
A good recruiter will have spent considerable time, acting as an ambassador of the employer it represents, promoting the opportunity to relevant candidates. After CV submission (bearing in mind the candidate will know what business their CV has been forwarded to), the candidate will want to be kept informed of what’s going on with their application – and, if relevant, this will continue throughout the interview process. All the good ‘promotion’ in the world can easily be lost if the above points start to happen!
So, why is this important? Well, it’s all to do with your employer brand…
‘Employer brand’ is defined by Wikipedia as:
“first used in the early 1990s to denote an organisation’s reputation as an employer. Since then, it has become widely adopted by the global management community. Minchington (2005) defines your employer brand as “the image of your organisation as a ‘great place to work’ in the mind of current employees and key stakeholders in the external market (active and passive candidates, clients, customers and other key stakeholders). The art and science of employer branding is therefore concerned with the attraction, engagement and retention of initiatives targeted at enhancing your company’s employer brand.”
The term employer brand is bandied around a lot nowadays, but do we really live and breathe it? In difficult economic times, attracting top talent is key to the continued success of any organisation. There may be over 2.5million unemployed* currently but top talent needs ‘courting’, needs to feel ‘special’ and ‘wanted’, and needs to benefit from a strong ‘candidate experience’.
We all know the old adage that people who’ve had a bad experience are more likely to share it with anyone who’ll listen than those who’ve had a good experience. With the onslaught of social media anyone who wants to vent their discontent can now do so freely on the open forums that are available – and reach a much wider audience extremely quickly. This can have a negative effect on a business.
I’m sure most businesses want to position themselves as an ‘employer of choice’. However, in order to gain that reputation they need to apply many of the same methods they use to attract and retain clients when looking to attract candidates. Remember, as much as the candidate is looking to impress you, you also need to impress the candidate. Certain industries tend to be quite incestuous… who knows, one of your potential candidates could actually be a client, or be connected to your existing clients or potential new clients.
What's the solution?
Well, we have to appreciate that hiring managers have ‘day jobs’ too and whilst recruitment of new talent is important it may not be right at the top of the priority list; other important day-today issues can get in the way and take precedence. These days particularly, due to cutbacks etc, some hiring managers may find themselves spinning many more plates than they used to. Maybe some hiring managers have found themselves in a position whereby recruitment has become yet another responsibility but they haven’t benefitted from appropriate in-house training?
In my opinion, communication and planning are both key. Work with your recruiter effectively (they’re on your side!); don’t be afraid to share any time constraints, be honest in terms of how much time you have available, let them know how quickly you can feedback on CVs submitted, and tell them the best times during the day for you to receive calls if they need to speak with you (if you prefer email as an initial point of contact then say so). Try to set aside interview dates a bit in advance, that way you all have something to work towards that will help avoid the interview process dragging on and on.
Most importantly, try to commit to timescales for things that you do initially agree to. If, for any reason, you can’t communicate this via phone or email to your recruiter; believe me no recruiter relishes chasing (or stalking!) clients for updates and trying to continue keeping the candidates ‘warm’ with little or no information for them! Perhaps try a little empathy; put yourself in the candidates’ shoes. What would you expect if you were looking for a new role? How would you like to be treated?
By doing these things you help the recruiter (remember – your ambassador) manage candidate expectations more effectively and maintain your ‘employer brand’. The results of this being you create a stronger candidate experience and become an employer of choice. Most importantly, you limit the risk of potentially losing good people along the way, and avoid what should be a good experience turning into a bad one!
This blog is mainly geared at those people within a business who take responsibility for hiring people whilst carrying out other day-to-day responsibilities and not those whose sole role is to hire. What’s your view? Candidates – do you have a good or bad experience to share with us? Share your comments below.