It’s Labor Day and instead of laboring, I’m catching up on some HR blog reading. I love that blogging and other social media channels allow me to keep up with so many awesome HR professionals leading the way in our field, but with the good comes the bad. There are absolutely zero quals to start a blog and anyone can do it (hello, including myself) and so some advice that I think is bad seeps out onto the interwebs. As I read posts that send shivers down my HR spine I recall my friend Ben once telling me that there is a culture fit for everyone somewhere, but I can’t imagine who is a fit for wherever these rules oriented, sour HR professionals conduct business. All of that to really say that you’ll read a million posts on candidate experience with a million different takes on it/the importance of it/how to execute it/etc., but I think a lot of them are missing a huge point that we aren’t talking about.
The candidate. Not what the candidate is going to tell their friends or say online, but the actual candidate. It’s more than the process the candidate has to go through to be considered for a position with your company, the right ATS won’t fix your candidate experience. It’s more than showing the bells and whistles your organization has to offer, the right perks won’t fix your candidate experience. It’s the person on the other end of the process that has to consider all the avenues of change they are about to embark on. It’s about the candidate considering leaving the known for the unknown. It’s about the candidate having a voice and it being okay for the candidate to use that voice to say “this isn’t the job for me,” and not getting snarky remarks back from a recruiter.
Change is difficult, even when change is necessary. A job change is stressful! I’ve only been a recruiter for about ten years, but I’ve recruited for a variety of fields and the one thing that is unchanged is that the candidate always has a decision to make and they always have more than one choice. At minimum they can choose to come work for your organization or they can choose not to. The candidate experience should be more important than a possible online review because just like you, your candidates are human and are having to make a huge decision. To the candidate this whole experience is leading up to a life change, usually in more ways than one. To you and your organization it’s a business transaction, regardless of how much you care about your employees, to fill a need within the organization so your company can continue to make money.
Dehumanizing the candidate is a huge contributor to the bad reputation that some recruiters have. When you’re just filling a position instead of working to pair the right candidate to the right opportunity you lose an important piece of recruiting-connecting with people. Connecting with people is more than reading a resume or doing a quick phone screen. Connecting with people takes an effort.
I had a client that would always say “I need warm bodies, if they can fog a mirror-send them!” I couldn’t operate like that, that’s not okay. An animal can fog a mirror. That’s not a nice way to “order more humans” for your organization. This is an example of a mindset issue. We had a lot of problems at this customer site. High-turnover and lots of employee relations issues. Is it any wonder why? Phrases like that and “oh they are a dime a dozen,” etc. take away from the value that people can bring to your organization. Even people who are taking jobs starting out at $8.00 an hour have a choice to make and every option comes with pros and cons. They are also human and can bring value to the right opportunity.
We must also remember that our candidates that we are chasing down at $200,000 a year are human and have a huge decision to make. They shouldn’t just accept your offer because “that’s a lot of money.” Accepting a new position rarely affects just one person. The candidate may have a spouse, children, pets, parents to take care of, or any number of other obligations that this position could interfere with. No matter the stock options and bonuses you throw at these high level positions these people are human too and in some sense of their new job have to start over at some things.
I want you to think about this through a true recruiting perspective. How will your candidate accepting this position impact your organization and how will your candidate accepting this position impact your candidate. It’s more than just a resume match. HR professionals love to highlight that we have a unique position within the organization because we have to operate with the perspective of what’s best for the employer and the employees. This responsibility is why I believe recruiting falls under the HR umbrella, if it does at all.