Managers lament the lack of loyalty and commitment that today’s employees exhibit, but considering how employees are treated and how easily they can be disposed of, it’s not surprising. Many develop a perspective on their employer as early as the hiring process. With the current economic doldrums and the paucity of job opportunities, firms now embrace a new approach, one that helps them combat the flood of resumes for any job posting, but one that also inadvertently exposes their true work culture. Importantly, it would take so little for companies to change this. Here are some of the missteps, I think, organizations make:
Mistake 1 – adding this to the bottom of job postings, reduces a company’s efforts: “Only those selected for interviews will be contacted.” Applicants invest in a company when they complete their application process—providing demographic information through online forms, uploading a resume and cover letter, completing skills surveys, even preliminary online testing, so simply sending a form e-mail acknowledging receipt of their application should be the minimum, standard response;
Mistake 2 – after determining a short list of candidates for the next step, firms only contact those who will move forward. Not informing the others may cause applicants to stalk the organization, trying to understand what’s happening in the hiring process. A simple form e-mail, one generated through the HR system, would cut down on the harassment and allow candidates to move their focus to other opportunities and other firms;
Mistake 3 – the interview has now become a very one-sided event, sometimes even a blood sport. Using specialized and aggressive tactics—some which are highly questionable or professional— firms flush out those candidates worthy of moving forward in their process. Regrettably, their methods may test the mettle of the applicants, but may also provide a clear indication of a day-in-the-life of working for Company ABC, apparently not in a very flattering light;
Mistake 4 – related to Mistake 3, the unbalanced emphasis on grilling candidates for most of the interview leaves little time for the company to sell itself to the candidate. Firms miss the opportunity to present themselves as a great company, one that excels in the market and values its key stakeholders, including employees, and one that is a desirable place to work. This short-sightedness positions the organization as no different from all the other mediocre firms;
Mistake 5 – timelines for the hiring process are established and conveyed to candidates. Quite often, however, the schedule is overly aggressive, and the milestones are not met. Informing a candidate of this slippage could avoid the candidate’s perception that what is said and what is done are two very distinct things. Unfortunately this is a common oversight;
Mistake 6 – communications is critical during the hiring process, as this allows each to learn about the other. Similarly, it is incumbent upon firms to update applicants, most importantly when one is no longer considered a candidate for the position. Many assume the applicant will simply figure it out at some point, leaving them to twist in the wind. Considering the investment made by an interviewee, a straightforward notification is the right thing to do.
The current job market offers organizations considerable choice from a field of highly skilled and competent people. This, however, does not absolve them of the responsibility, in fact duty, to treat all applicants thoughtfully and respectfully for a couple reasons. First, all of their actions during the hiring process may impact the firm’s brand. Be careful that the hiring process doesn’t tarnish what is normally a great brand. Second, loyalty, like friendship, trust and respect, is earned. Your hiring process outlines the corporate culture, so it is important to ensure that the process treats all candidates equitably and courteously. Avoiding these pitfalls from the outset certainly helps to develop employee loyalty.
Ryck Marciniak (guest blogger)