These are, at least in my lifetime, the strangest times to be in recruitment. The talent acquisition profession has been hit hard by layoffs. Those looking to move are more susceptible to being mistreated by companies who seem to think that the supply of applicants is unlimited. But in reality, many of them are just struggling to pay the rent and keep their kids fed. So as a recruiter, what can you do about it?
Recruiters should never think they are working for a “customer” unless you are a third party. In-house, recruiters should demand a stake in the game when recruiting for the company. In the end, it’s your name and reputation on the line and unless you think you have a job for life, you should start thinking more like that.
Maya Angelou was quoted as saying, “I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel” NO truer words have been spoken when it comes to the recruiting business. The reputation of a company really falls on the shoulders of recruiting in my opinion. We are the initial face of the company we are representing. We are the front line.
So partner up with your hiring managers by using the summation of the moment. You don’t have to send articles as they will rarely read them, but send them a quick note detailing the week, what you see in the market and try to guide them that good people will be picked up by a hungry company quickly and they need to make choices on the fly or they’ll risk missing out on the candidate or candidates they really want.
I have often said to managers, “do you remember when you were looking for a job? Was it fun?” The look I would get back was often one of reflection as they nodded their heads in agreement that this is not, indeed, a fun process to go through. In fact, for many job hunters, it’s a humiliating and dehumanizing one and we seem to want to allow that process to continue.
Demand more from your managers even if you need to go to the highest levels to get what is needed. Explain your process and WHY it matters to get feedback as soon as the interview is over not five days later whether they like them or not. Twenty-four hours after an interview or less is what should be the norm in the industry. These are tough times for people right now, even within our own industry.
The same can be said for candidate feedback. No one likes to give bad news, but like a Doctor goes out to speak with loved ones having to say the surgery did not go the way they wanted and they have passed, we too, have to say sorry we are going with other candidates at this time.
Make it personal though, machine ATS messages are both artificial and come off as uncaring and templated. If someone takes hours to interview with you and your team they deserve a phone call from you, not an automated thanks but no thanks. Also, be sure to mass reject within a week, so those whom you will never hire can move on with their search.
Lastly, remember, and please never forget that we are recruiting human beings not machines without feelings. People have long memories and like Ms. Angelou said they will
remember how you made them feel and someday, maybe, just maybe, you will be sitting in front of them looking for a job. What do you think they would do based on your past behavior?
During these challenging times, we need more empathy in recruiting, not less. I’m sure many of you are stressed and time-strapped in your current work environment but let's try to keep the personal touch to a maximum and dial down the automation with your top candidates. In short, be more human in what seems like an inhuman world.
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