A Layman’s Guide to Being a Nice Company to Interview With
Having worked in recruitment for almost eight years it still amazes me that so many companies spend millions of pounds each year on PR, social media, crisis communications, brand management etc. to keep their image and reputation intact, but pay no attention to the bad image that can be generated by their recruitment processes…
When you consider companies are built on people, and recruiting the best talent is essential to future growth and survival in any industry sector, you would have thought more companies would appreciate how important it is to be known as not only a good brand to work for, but also a company that respects people in the same way they want to be respected themselves.
The reality is, we all know people talk. And people that have been annoyed or feel mistreated often talk a whole lot more. Especially when the company in question is mentioned by one of their friends/colleagues. So as an employer would you not want people to say when your name is mentioned “I interviewed there and was unsuccessful, but I still really want to work there as they were great people and gave me really good feedback” rather than “It was a horrible experience, they didn’t respect me as a candidate and I never heard anything back after my interview”? Just because somebody wasn’t right for one particular role doesn’t always mean they might not be right in the future. And if they work in your industry sector chances are they’re friends with people you might want to recruit. So to me it’s a no brainer, and such a simple thing to get right!
Now as a recruiter people might be reading this and thinking, “Yeah but it’s not always the companies that manage the process badly ahem…” and I would empathise with that completely. Unfortunately my industry sector is littered with unprofessional consultants not feeding back, not briefing people correctly, and making what could be a pleasant process unpleasant…but that is something to be discussed on a different day! My focus today is: why don’t enough companies appreciate the benefits of having a good reputation when it comes to recruitment?
So, here is my layman’s guide to getting good PR from recruitment:
1. Choose the right agency.
If using agencies, choose the right agencies to represent your brand, and ensure you give them the right tools to recruit for you effectively. Also lay down the law when it comes to how they treat candidates when recruiting on your behalf. Don’t do anything that encourages agencies to just farm CVs for people that haven’t been properly briefed about the role.
2. Write a good job specification (and make it attractive).
Don’t just list skills, tell people about your company and why you are a great place to work. Make sure the job specification is right for the role, as people will use this to prepare for the interview.
3. Feed back to the candidates you don’t take to interview.
If there’s a specific reason you don’t want to see them, let them or the agency know. Give them a chance to qualify that concern as it may be unfounded. I could give you many examples of times when candidates who a client initially pushed back ended up getting the job and being a great employee.
4. Be flexible where possible with interviews.
Don’t make people jump through hoops if they don’t have to, and if you can give them convenient interview slots, do so. 12pm might be convenient for you, but it’s not great for candidates that have to take a full day off work. Remember that might be a day of their holiday they could be spending with family and friends, but instead are using to see if they can work for you, and they are not charging you for it.
5. Be nice!
Practice making the interview process a pleasant experience by getting basic things right, offer them some water or a cup of tea, and if it goes on for an hour and a half check if they need a short bathroom break.
6. Sell yourself to them.
This is a two-way process and the onus should be on it being right for both parties, and not just a chance for you to grill somebody. Make them feel that’s the case as well, and if it’s the person you want, this should give you a better chance of hiring them. Give them the opportunity to ask you questions at all stages.
7. Give them feedback both if successful, and if not.
If they are not right give them honest feedback to help them improve for the future, and if they get to the second stage point out anything they need to improve on to have a better chance of getting the job. There is no excuse for not feeding back, and this for me is one of the most common things a company doesn’t do that is so important in informing how a candidate feels about a firm.
8. Don’t drag things on unnecessarily.
Especially if candidates have other things going on. If they are not right, let them know so they can cross it off their list and focus on other opportunities. And if they have a second interview or you want to make an offer, deal with it as soon as you can, and if it will be delayed… COMMUNICATE!
9. Offer a candidate what you truly think they are worth.
When it comes to making an offer, don’t go in lower with the hope to get somebody on the cheap, and then blame the agency if it backfires and it puts them off you as an employer. If it’s a fair offer based on internal employees’ experience then great, there’s nothing wrong with some negotiation on both parts, yet don’t be silly as it can look very bad if you get it wrong.
10. Finally, if you find the person you want, send them all the paperwork straight away.
If you take three weeks to send them a contract don’t be surprised if they get cold feet and accept another offer.
Anyway I hope you enjoyed this article, and I encourage you to all list any further points you feel I may have missed, or got wrong and maybe I can include these in The Layman’s Guide Mark 2!