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Thursday, August 14, 2008

Dealing with New Recruitment Realities

Have I said that recruitment is a two-way search process? As you search for the right candidates to fill your vacancies, the candidates themselves are looking for a company that will fit their expectations and desires. While companies reject "unsuitable" candidates, I am also seeing good candidates reject offers or discontinue their application on the account of what they see during the screening process. on that account it was the company who failed the screening process, not the candidates. And considering the increasing cost and difficulty of hiring the best person for the job especially in the areas of technology, white collar and some blue collar jobs that require higher level of skills, I believe that organizations (not just the recruiters in the organization but the whole organization) should deliberately enhance their strategies for attracting and retaining talents. I have a few suggestions...

I have noticed that candidates are beginning to be curious about the culture of the organizations they are eyeing. We have seen online fora where forumers ask and share information about certain organizations. I have seen more employer rants and bashing than raves. This reminds me of word of mouth advertisements that trainers discuss during sales or customer service training where news of either good or bad service travel through word of mouth. With the advent of web-based social networks, the words travel faster. It is now easier to know the answers to questions like pay, benefits, work environment, even questions like, are there any jerks in that company? are asked and yes, answered with more details than one company would want to share or are even aware of. What does this tell us? It tells us that putting one's best foot forward does not apply to just the candidates or applicants anymore. It applies to the prospective employers even more and on a much wider scale. Companies should look beyond competitiveness of compensations and benefits but the culture of the organization. Candidates want to know if employees are happy working for the company. They look for signs in their prospective bosses if there is a potential relationship fit.

Long wait is a no-no. Because of the changing atmosphere in the recruitment arena, recruiters who are still stuck in the old paradigm should change really quickly. The first mindset they need to change is the way they see their candidates. They need to start seeing them as customers who will go away and give their business elsewhere if they are not treated well. In my case I call my employees attention when I see candidates sitting around and waiting beyond the time my employees commit to process their applications. I tell them that if you are interviewing two people, don't tell them to come in at the same time or if there is no choice but to make them wait, they should be told so that they are aware. Long decision making process can make you lose good candidates as well. I've seen companies settle for the second or third choice after they lost the best candidate to another company who is able to decide more quickly. In fact I know organizations who have been looking to fill positions for more than six months because they keep on losing their best candidates due to their turtle-paced decision making.

Employees don't hesitate to leave their employers if they see a disconnect between what is presented when the job was offered to them and the reality at work. They do not tolerate being short-changed. In extreme cases, there are employees who stop showing up after the first or few days because they didn't like what they see which costs companies considerable amount of money and frustrations. My proposed solution: Be honest to your candidates, don't promise them anything that you can't deliver. If you are the manager to whom the candidate will report to, be honest about your expectations, your working and leadership styles. It's better for them to know and decide on whether they can engage with your organization given the information as early as possible rather than a few days after they started.

Lastly, experienced candidates are getting more and more interested about the person they will report to. They are looking for leadership qualities that will allow them to both learn and contribute at a higher level. This means that in order for companies to hire good people, they need to employ good leaders. Leaders who are equipped to hone their employee's skill and collaborate with them.

Attracting good employees is a serious business and it can have a serious impact on your business. I suggest that you assess your performance in attracting candidates, getting them employed and keeping them and do something to improve your strategy by improving your organization. If you think I may be able to help you, please let me know.

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