Brand your recruitment process

If you are in the internal recruitment business, there are a few things you need to remember.


1.  When you are fielding calls from potential candidates, sound excited about the company and the role.  Offer more information than the candidate requests.  Exceed expectations.

2.  Treat all candidates with respect – always.

3.  Ask really well thought out questions at the interview, probe where necessary and make sure the questions match the role.

4.  Never make promises you won’t keep – eg “we will be contacting your referees” and/or “we will contact you on (day) to let you know the outcome”

5.  Keep the candidate regularly informed of the progress of their application.

6.  If a candidate attends an interview and they are not successful, let them know via a phone call.  Sending an email is not good enough.

If you do these things, candidates, whether successful or not, will pass on positive comments about your organisation.  If you choose not to do these things, candidates will see your organisation in a negative light and they may decide to use social media to let others know about their negative experience…

The way you recruit says a lot about your brand.



Wife Swap

I’ve been watching the show “Wife Swap” (there is also a US version) I really enjoy it because it looks at behaviour change. The idea is that two wives from very different families (in terms of values, beliefs and behaviour) swap homes for two weeks. The first week, the wife lives by the host family rules and the second week, the host family experience the wife’s rules.

Once you get past the tantrums, tirades and general trauma (it is reality TV after all) there are some very interesting messages in there. The outcome seems to be an epiphany on the part of each wife as they realise that there are aspects in their own lives that they could change. The experience of living with another family turns out to be an opportunity to hold the mirror up to themselves and their own behaviour.
Once back at their own home they generally introduce some change to their lives. So, the mother who was not spending a lot of time with her children decides to make some changes so that more time can be spent with the family. On the other side, the mother that was at home full time may investigate a part time job as a way to regain her life. In this way, the changes are based on the experiences from the swap.

I’ve decided that this idea can be applied to my own recent job hunting experience. I’m proposing a “Job Swap” where the applicant and the internal or external recruitment consultant swap roles to gain some insight into each other’s experiences.

Here is what I imagine the discoveries would be…

The recruitment consultant (who has spent time as the applicant)

1. Being an applicant is hard work!
2. Applicants are human beings and need to be treated with respect
3. Never lie to an applicant and never promise what you can’t deliver
4. Communicate constantly throughout the recruitment process
5. Offer jobs with enthusiasm, not concern
6. Never leave a phone message advising an applicant that they have been unsuccessful at interview
7. Take the time to provide meaningful feedback to the applicant

The applicant (who has spent time as the recruitment consultant)

1. Being a recruitment consultant is hard work!
2. It’s easy to forget that applicants are human beings rather than bodies to plug into roles
3. I’m often unsure of the length of the process – it’s easier to make promises and keep applicants happy even if we know we can’t deliver
4. We have several application processes at once and it is hard to keep track of them all
5. Just because I’m in recruitment doesn’t mean I am an expert at the people side of the process
6. It’s hard to let someone down and easier to leave a phone message
7. Once a recruitment process is complete, I’m ready to move onto the next one

It sounds a bit like the “War On People Versus Process” doesn’t it?

Here’s the thing, maybe you do need to swap homes and wives to see how other people live but you don’t need to swap jobs to understand what is important. If you follow three simple clues below when dealing with people in any business context you will always come out on top.

-treat people with respect and apply basic good manners to all interactions
-apply common sense to all your dealings
-never, ever let a process become more important that the people involved

Forget about swapping jobs – measure yourself against the clues.

How did you score?

Recruitment Reframed

I have recently joined the masses that are looking for work. It has been both a sobering and an enlightening experience as I come to terms with the recruitment process and my own demons.

This column is in two parts, firstly a bit of a rant on the current outsourcing of recruitment and then some ideas on how to reframe the whole recruitment experience into something meaningful and maybe even…pleasurable…

When did HR get so lazy? The last time I was looking at changing jobs (in 2008) you could still apply directly to the organisation. This time, most jobs seem to go through a gatekeeper, the recruitment company. Why would HR outsource one of its most important functions? Can you really trust someone else to screen applicants, particularly if it is for a specialist role? If people are the organisations’ most important asset wouldn’t HR take the time to own the end to end recruitment process?

Outsourcing is the way of the future I hear you say. Outsourcing serves organisations well when they are unable to provide the service internally but why outsource something you, as a HR practitioner, are qualified to deliver? HR Leader Magazine (August 30, 2010) provides a list of the pros and cons of outsourcing. The comment that organisational ‘processes need to be improved before outsourcing’ is relevant to recruitment and echoes the point of view taken by Kelly McGowan in an interview for B Talk Australia. McGowan, herself a recruiter, concedes that organisations often take a reactive approach to recruitment and the brief for the recruitment agency is to locate a candidate quickly to plug the hole. The agency then adopts a production line process and seeks to find the person who has the right wording on their CV (literally, as they sometimes use word matching software to sift through the many applications).

I have experienced this first hand during the beginning of my job search. I showed my CV to a recruitment consultant and was advised that it was too different and I needed to dot point key skills up front. Angela Lussier would have had a heart attack! I actually changed it and that was the beginning of my loss of power…more on that later.

So it has been established that HR and recruitment agencies might need to rethink their recruitment processes. You and I have no control over this – we can only live in hope. We do, however, have control over how we approach the job seeking market and the next section of this column is on that very topic.

One of the career related sites I love is Brazen Careerist and they recently offered an eBook called “Getting a Job”. It’s a quick read that provides hints from some of the coolest HR bloggers. I’ve synthesised the book for you in dot point below. Here’s what you need to do to get a job…

Get a mentor
Post your CV online
Figure out who you are – know what you value
Figure out what job you want – where do you fit
Up your EQ
Take control
Be happy
Remember job = income and there are other ways to obtain an income
Know your destination and pursue it with complete abandon

A great list! Consider these quotes from two of the authors of the eBook.

Peter Clayton

Recruiters search for and recommend passive candidates (ie people with jobs). They don’t help you find a job.

John Sumser

Jobs online = lottery ticket. You have a one in two hundred chance of getting the job.

I thought a lot about that list and those comments and I have decided that I need to reframe my recruitment search. Here’s what I now intend to do (I must acknowledge Deanna for some of these suggestions)

Get really clear on my values and passion
Get really clear on the organisation I want to work for
Visualise myself working there – my desk, the people around me, colours etc etc etc.
Visit the building, sit in the foyer, immerse myself in the environment
Send some unsolicited CV’s directly to the organisation
Use my network to source jobs
Take back all the power of job searching and really own the process

Here’s what I am going to stop doing

Applying for jobs through a recruitment agent
Allowing the recruitment agency to hold all the power

You have to believe in yourself and know that the right organisation is out there for you and they will be so happy when you find them!