The Consultant's Desk

The Consultant's Desk
Poring over the details on your behalf

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

The Hiring Process

Doing a search for talent involves a timeline with some conflicting factors. It also involves a process, generally known as a recruitment process. What's desired is to hire the best talent available. That takes time in order to find them, evaluate their fit for the culture, determine whether their skills and abilities match the client's needs, and then find a way to induce them to consider the opportunity.

That's just the up-front work. There's still the factor of arranging the interviews and actually having them. And then there are the other phases.

Meanwhile, the hiring clock is ticking. Although the candidate seems to be passive, that may not be the case. There may be other inducements extended to them that the candidate is keeping private. Depending on where they are in the process of evaluating those other inducements, the one who is your prime goal may get snatched up by a competitor or simply by some other company. A great example of such a scenario was recently shared on LinkedIn as a recruiter informed a client that their desired candidate was no longer available - three weeks after the interview.

The economy is no longer a soft cushion where people have a huge luxury of time. There are obligations that require attention. There may be changes in conditions that require adjustments and change of employment situation. There are many factors in addition to someone else was able to pull their act together in a more timely manner and extend the offer.

Candidates don't want to appear desperate because that devalues them and the potential offer they can attract; the status gives the appearance that they'll accept anything, no matter how ridiculous. Although they appear to be a passive candidate, they may have privately made a decision that it's time to make a change. So it is wise to be prepared for that state of affairs. While it would be good to make the change early on (for example, their present employer isn't going to close shop in two weeks), they still have the time to do a reasonable search for the right fit. If the candidate is of the quality that is sought, the chances that they'll be in the market and available are slim. Recruiting and hiring process is a two-way street. Fit is a consideration for either side of the picture.

Discretion is the better part of valor when it comes to deciding to change jobs. There is a possibility that the situation can be improved, or not. But there's no need to be overt about the growing interest in making a change. If this is a first job, timing is also critical. Expenses of one's livelihood become factors when the process becomes protracted. But all of this discussion is from the candidate's perspective. Perhaps that's what we should be doing as we go through developing and executing our own process.

The other thing is that when the process takes too long it's a signal that the client is not as motivated as was initially indicated. Worse, there's the possibility that the delay indicates low regard for the candidate which in turn becomes a deterrent to making the client's situation the candidate's new employment home. It's important that the candidate feels valued and respected.

Communication is critical to creating a healthy recruiting and hiring process. It is vital to have the right job description worked out before the search is started. A determination of what skills are must have should be in place so that all are clear about what the person's role will be. If they have additional skills and knowledge to bring to bear, how can they be used to benefit the role? Perhaps the candidate is being under-utilized in the current search and deserves to be considered for something that is more of a challenge. But the candidate needs to become aware of that concern.

Sometimes recruiters (and clients) forget that candidates are humans. They all deserve respect and that respect includes regard for time, resources, timely responses, courtesy, and a valid awareness of the company culture. They also deserve to know about the company ceiling and whether there is access to some part of the roof garden, if that's what they eventually want to be involved with or occupy.

To encourage companies to keep the process goals uppermost in their efforts, The Talent Board, in collaboration with recruiting industry experts, developed the CandE Awards in 2010 and held its first recognition in 2011. Of it, founder Elaine Orler says, "Only companies that had a true positive candidate experience defined by the candidates, and proven by the candidates would be recognized. All other organizations would have access to their benchmark data to make decisions on how they can improve, . . ." She goes on to say, "[w]e recognized 25 companies that demonstrated a positive candidate experience, defined by the 11,000+ candidates that responded that year."

Where is the awards program today? Reports Orler, "As of last year the program had expanded to three major regions of the world, over 400 companies participated, and over 220,000 candidates shared their experiences, in seven languages. The data that now exists on what defines a positive, neutral, negative candidate experience is validated 10x over."

Incidentally, the ability to pull one's act together in a timely manner is also an indicator of the company culture, the company leadership, and whether the company is a desirable place to work. It's an indicator of how innovative and responsive the client is. It's also a factor in how innovative the recruiter is in developing ways to help their client remain focused on keeping the process moving forward. The recruiter provides a service to the client to keep the process moving so that the collateral and tangential losses are minimized while the brand continues to grow.

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