The recruitment process for some organisations is more tedious than others simply because no one worthwhile wants to apply to work there.
Often, sadly enough, we think this is because the recruitment packages on offer are not attractive enough or we fool ourselves into believing that ALL organisations are facing similar problems. True, to some extent for certain critical positions but some companies are having qualified, well skilled professionals practically throw themselves at them for a chance to work in their organisations, sometimes for very little as well. It all comes down to what your brand represents to potential employees. The importance of building a strong employer brand cannot be stressed enough. Agreed, the current job market is titled in favour of employers. However this does not mean employers should take current employees and prospective employees – alike – for granted.
It is the ‘little’ things that you do that send out a message of you are as an organisation and what you represent. Let’s talk about the recruitment process for instance. Picture this scenario that is so common in many organisations. For a whole month you have been sitting on those CVs and now you realise it is month end and that position needs to be filled urgently so you pick up the phone and call the prospective candidates at 3pm for an interview the following day at 8am. What happens to that candidate who lives in Bulawayo and needs to make it to the interview? After communicating to the candidates and setting out the interview times, the MD remembers he has a prior appointment so he cannot interview the candidates after all and the interviews need to be rescheduled. It is now almost 5pm and the poor HR Officer cannot get hold of the candidates to reschedule so the following morning there is a room full of professionals waiting for an interview that is not going to happen. What message does this send to the prospective employee about your organisation? Merely that you are a disorganised bunch and chances are that this negative message will spread and over time, your brand as an employer has been tarnished.
Let us explore some other examples of how easy it is to tarnish your image as an organisation in the recruitment and selection process. The interview process itself can send such a negative image to the prospective employee that even if offered a job, chances are he/she will decline, even after being offered an attractive package. Reading the newspaper when interviewing someone is an example of sending a wrong message to a prospective employee. You are telling them in not so many words that you really do not care about what they have to say and you are portraying yourself as an employer who does not care about employees. Being curt and abrupt is another mistake often made during interviews by the interviewing panel that is, asking a question and then budging in with another question before the candidate has a chance to fully respond. What does this say about your listening skills as an employer? Am I convinced as a prospective employee that should I become a part of this organisation, my needs and concerns will be given proper attention?
I have attended interviews before where you can note that the interviews are really making an effort to show the candidates that “they do not know anything” or that they are “smarter than them.”
Then there is the issue of dressing. Many employers forget that it is not only the candidate being interviewed who has to look presentable but the interviewers as well. Remember this is a two way assessment, the employer is assessing the employee on whether he/she is a right fit for the organisation and the prospective employee during the interview is also assessing whether it will be worthwhile to work for that employer. Here is a prospective employee looking at a scruffy interview panel, one of whom “claims” to be the MD and in his head he is thinking, “Will these people be able to pay me at all if they cannot afford to buy themselves decent clothing or is this a sinking ship that I should never get aboard on?”
It is what people say about you and perceive of you as an employer that determine how good or bad your employer brand is. Over time what these potential employees carry back to their workplaces, homes, family and friends can tarnish your image for good, even without them actually joining your organisation. Agreed, the job market is largely an employer’s market, but, some employers are never going to get the best skills available because of how they are managing their employer brand.
The best way forward would be to look at your employer brand in the market. What does it communicate to potential employees? There is no need to be stuck with huge recruitment costs when all you need to do is to build a strong employer brand that is on its own, a good marketing tool to give you the best talent at little cost to the organisation.
Memory Nguwi is the Managing Consultant of Industrial Psychology Consultants (Pvt) Ltd a management and human resources consulting firm. Phone 481946-48/481950/2900276/2900966 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our website at www.ipcconsultants.com