“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” – Aristotle
Another article regarding questioning our wonderful world of HR has arrived. I’ve neglected writing about these issues (or perks) for a long time, until today, that is. It’s not so much that I didn’t want to write about this particular sphere as much as it is about our code of ethics and simple humane empathy towards people. This is why the title highlights the positive while the second paragraph already highlights the negative (hope you noticed it). The focus will be more on the negative as we analyze how certain things indicate a companies’ MO, yes. We have to focus on it because the contradictions that arise within HR as a field are baffling in most instances and as ironic as it sounds, it’s abhorrent to me when you don’t practice what you preach, not just in name but in behavior as well. This is useful info for candidates who are interested in certain companies but aren’t sure how they operate or how specific their culture is. There are a few points which I would regard as red flags if they arise in the beginning.
Imagine a candidate who applies for a job position with a really good job description. It’s very friendly and looks like the culture is more on a relaxed side giving their employees the sense of the more modern approach which is geared more towards wellness in the workspace. The candidate gets an invite for an interview through email. The moment is here and the candidate waits for them for more than twenty minutes past the scheduled time. The interview starts and the friendliness from the job description is nowhere to be seen. The interviewers are nothing like the job ad suggested and common questions like the job details itself, KPI indications of good performance, phases of the selection process etc. are unclear. The interview is done and after months passing by, the candidate is left with no feedback.
What went wrong?
I deliberately concocted the worst case scenario when it comes to candidate experience because there are a lot of indications that the company isn’t exactly focused on their employees as they should be. The first issue with this story is the bogus employer branding. There are a lot of instances in which a company tries to tell a story through their job ads which doesn’t exactly mirror the actual practice. The HR or recruiters should mirror the atmosphere they portray through their employer branding strategy. If there is a slight mismatch between the two, there is something amiss and should be taken with a grain of salt. If you tell me about how good and a relaxing place your company is to be in, show me that through your interaction with me – simple as that.
The second issue isn’t that much of problem but should be taken into consideration to change. Getting an email invite for an interview doesn’t seem like a good approach, especially for higher graded positions. If we’re talking about mass recruitment of low graded, blue collar positions, then it’s understandable. The more direct communication there is, the more professionalism you portray to an external point of view.
Should punctuation be considered a big deal? In my book yes but it’s not very common in my experience. Most of the time busy schedules take the blame but that doesn’t erase the lack of professionalism and care towards your candidates. They can feel like an errand more than anything if you’re late half an hour for an interview and powerful candidates lose a bit of respect towards you, even unconsciously.
Ah, there it is; the most important part of the whole process – the interview. Emulating an employer branding strategy to better the candidate experience is an important task for any interviewer. It’s their job to portray the company’s culture through the interaction they have with their candidates. A candidate is certain to be confused if the company and their job ads are portrayed as cheerful and a fun place to be and yet the interviewers exude cold and ruthless approach during the first stages of meeting as people. I often say that HR and recruiters take a bit of a sales approach with candidates, especially good ones because we want to secure the best talent out there. It’s amazing how often the approach is completely the opposite.
Good recruiters know the job position very well. They have to because without the proper knowledge and briefing from the hiring managers, they can’t know what kind of candidates they should be looking for. Being informed about the job details and candidate profile makes their job easier and looks more professional. If a candidate asks you about the indicators of good performance, you have to know the answer to that. Being informed also gives a candidate perspective about the company’s structure and organization. They know if the reward system/recognition is set, if the company structure and organization is in place or if the selection process in question is even a step process. All these indications show the candidate how secure the company is and how secure their position and place would be in that company.
Saving the best (worst) for last – no feedback. This is the biggest issue out of them all and it’s quite surprising how often it happens, even with modern, well-established companies. It’s an absolute irony to the name of human resources to not follow up with a simple email, especially for companies who want to be agile and strategically empathize more with people than processes. The company as well as the HR department gets a heavy smudge on their name if there is no feedback whatsoever after the process is finished. Candidates will more often than not cross out the company from which they didn’t receive any feedback.
These issues are quite common and they shouldn’t be. Good companies who take care of their candidate experience and employer branding pay good attention to these aspects. Oftentimes companies talk about more complex issues while forgetting the basics. Sure, we should move forward, digitize, invent new ways of showing appreciation for employees etc., but not at the expense of basic human empathy, not to mention ethics and professionalism. It’s a cycle that just keeps on spinning but we have to be diligent and combat it if we want to be excellent.