I work with candidates, employers, Human Resource professionals and internal recruiters every day and help them attract the top talent. I have a few words of wisdom I wanted to share with employers out there.
The War on Talent
There is a war for talent raging across Sydney. Companies are spending tens of thousands of dollars in their efforts to attract unique and skilled employees. There are teams of internal recruiters and companies asking senior level HR managers to sharpen their searching skills. Companies are updating LinkedIn profiles and driving money through social media channels to showcase to candidates that they are an “Employer of Choice”. They are offering flexible work arrangements, new salary structuring, the list goes on and on….and on.
However, I have noticed that there is a fundamental issue PRIOR to the candidate actually starting in the company: the recruitment process. The problems with this process for many employers need to be addressed and I wanted to share a few words of wisdom to bring this to their attention. Unless changes are made, employers will not be winning their war on talent and attracting to quality candidate. No matter how much money they throw at it.
Your staff are your most expensive asset
An extremely well respected and world renowned recruiter told me this pearl of wisdom many years ago: “Every night the key assets of the company walk out the door and step into the lift to go home. Then the next day they CHOOSE to return back to their desks to continue working with the organisation – or they don’t”.
In theory if every single person walked out of one company in the afternoon and did not return again the company would immediately cease working. Yet, employers continue to treat their most valued asset as disposable. Shocks the hell out of me.
The recruitment process – An example of what NOT to do (although many are)
Recently, we had a client who used video interviewing for their initial screening/testing. No major issues there. Lots of clients are using it now. However, the actual process was arduous, the system was automated and the questions were mostly irrelevant. The candidate was asked a series of questions and given a set amount of time to answer, 2-3 minutes (so it did not allow for a descriptive expression). Once the time expired they were jumped forward to the next question. Most candidates found it impersonal and a little stressful due to being cut off mid-sentence.
One of our star candidates (who has since been snapped up by a competitor), was very interested in the role. We asked her to jump through the hoops and complete the video screening ASAP. The client was in rush to push through with the process so we made it happen. The candidate raced home, completed the video testing and then waited. And waited. As did we. For days and days. We chased. We called. We followed up. The candidate simply wanted to know if they had a chance or not.
After a week had passed we received feedback to say the employer “did not have time to look at the video”. They were progressing with other candidates and were simply too busy to spend the time to watch it. I left several messages requesting that the client show a level of respect to the candidate and follow through with the process that THEY had implemented. After all, they invited her to load her details and encouraged her to go through the process.
Another 4-5 days passed and I received a call saying they were A. disappointed with me for putting pressure on them to do something they did not want do and B. ended up watching it “days ago” yet didn’t have time to call to discuss it.
Needless to say the candidate has ZERO interest in working for that brand. It’s also likely she has spoken to others regarding her experience and I think it’s safe to say that word of mouth marketing is worth more to a brand than they can put a price on.
What does your recruitment process say about your brand?
The example above is happening more and more in the recruitment process. We are frequently hearing of candidates not even receiving a call back after their initial interview. The assumption is that no call means it should be obvious to the candidate that they are not progressing. Ahhh. No. That is NOT ok when a candidate has taken the time to invest in your company.
Attracting the best talent
Want to attract the best talent for your company? It doesn’t start when they sign their contract and are offered the company benefits and given all the great perks of being an employee.
It starts with the adverts you write, the way your HR or internal recruiter answers their phone, the way the candidate is greeted at the door and how they are made to feel during their time in your office. It then continues through the interview process and feedback stages.
Candidates will remember your company by the experience they have during the interview process. Even if it’s a ‘no’, they’ll always remember how the process was run.
Having a great company brand is simply not enough. There are tonnes of great companies and brands out there. In the current market, great candidates have choices – and a lot of them.
As an employer looking to attract top talent, if might be worth your while double checking your recruitment processes. Ensure that they’re not only slick but skewed to ensuring candidates are engaged from the minute they first see your brand.