Candidate ManagementMonday, July 29, 2019
Couple of months back while I was waiting at the reception to meet a senior HR leader, I overheard an HR Executive saying to one of the candidate who had completed an interview “We will come back to you….you can go now”….that too loud enough for all seated in the reception to hear….I thought there was something seriously wrong in the way we are managing the candidate experience….Is this the kind of treatment this poor candidate deserved after taking pains to come all the way (outskirts of Bangalore) to attend this interview?? Let me share with you another interesting experience with a client….After days of follow-up by a TA Manager & his team for a specific candidate, the candidate finally joined…The Talent Acquisition team of any organization and recruitment consulting firms would understand the relief, joy and happiness if finally a candidate joined as committed….It is kind of a nagging headache for a corporate and literally a cardiac arrest for recruitment consulting firms if a candidate fail to join (I wonder how many cardiac arrest a recruiter or a consultant experiences in his life as a recruiter!!)…..To put it simply, it is a big pain in the wrong place…. Yes, this candidate joined, but unfortunately he joined another organization in the same technology park!! It is absolute waste of time, money and sometimes the project itself would be in stake. This is the other side of the story. This incident reflects bad experiences of any corporate firm after endless follow-up calls and waiting time….The TA manager told me (and we as HR companies too experience the same) that candidates sometime shop around after taking the offer and hence a firm commitment from the candidate side is missing now-a-days….There seems to be no emotional connect and as usual justifications from candidates for not joining like present employer has extended his relieving date, someone in his family was not keeping well or the candidate himself is not keeping well and so on and so forth…..One of the candidate infact told me long time back that he was travelling and would be reaching Bangalore in the next two hours and would join the client in the next couple of hours….This incident happened around three years back and I think he is still travelling and not reached his destination yet. After coming across numerous incidents of candidates backing out in the last moment, candidates not turning up for interviews, candidates not joining on the committed date and analysing these instances, case by case, I feel that we ourselves have to take some of the responsibility and blame for the crisis prevalent in the recruitment process. Have we seriously missed out on the basics of recruitment?? In the rush to implement technology and technology being the driver, have we missed out on the human touch that is the basic underlining factor in the recruitment process?? To be precise, have we failed in candidate management?? Yes, I feel we have missed it and that is one of the reason we are facing a kind of a crisis in attracting and retaining some of the best talents. Being in the recruitment industry for quite some time and dealing with multiple clients and candidates including millennials to senior level executive search hirings, I strongly feel that many organizations in the rush to hire and meet their head count targets, gravely miss out managing their candidates effectively, especially start-ups, sometimes flushed with funds, make the mistake of going too fast and too far thus failing to manage candidate experience effectively and ultimately finding it difficult to hire quality resources or talent in the long run….At the same time, I have seen some organizations managing candidate experience so well and obviously these companies could be seen having a great brand image in the market to both attract and retain talent and may also reflect in “Great Place to Work”. Recruitment is just not “What” we achieve as headcount plan but “HOW” we are going to design & manage the recruitment process to achieve the same….”What” is important but more than that “HOW” is important and that should be the key focus area to build a sustainable recruitment model to stay abreast in the present days where hiring is becoming more volatile and difficult for employers to consistently fill jobs. One of the clients told me some time back that they had exceeded the expectations of their management by over achieving their head count plan for 2018….When asked how he achieved the same, he responded saying that they had an internal team and 20 active vendors to support their hiring needs. He further added that he usually opens up all new requirements simultaneously to all vendors and whoever brings the first candidate to be hired on the table gets the credit…for each open requirement, there would be a minimum 100 resumes coming to his team since there is a battalion of vendors working for the same position and he finally told me with lot of pride that it is very easy to hire one good candidate out of 100 resumes…. “Simple math, simple logic and simple strategy” resulted in his winning accolades and recognition from management. I had only one thing to react that he might have achieved his head count plan in style but would have missed on “How” it was achieved which could impact him and the organization in the next wave of hiring. I was right! the same client is currently finding it difficult now to attract quality candidates….Again this example reiterates the same basic principle of recruitment of the “HOW” factor missed out in the cat race….The manager has done a great job in “WHAT” has to be achieved but would have missed out on “HOW” factor. How many times have we responded to all applicants that comes through reference or job ads or leads?? How many times have we responded to candidates after he completes his interview process and is rejected by client?? How many times a potential candidate is called multiple times for the same job or role by multiple recruiters of different vendors and the same company?? How many times a candidate who has attended an interview received calls again for the same position with the same client wherein he has still not received any response with respect to earlier discussion?? How many times the candidates have been treated well when he comes to attend an interview?? How many times hiring managers have positioned their company brand while interviewing candidates?? How many times a proper interview schedule calendar has been sent to candidates?? How many times the candidate is interviewed on time?? How many times we have positioned the brand the way it has to be positioned as part of the brand communication strategy as defined by the client to candidates?? Are we sending the same brand message across the market for any role advertised in the market?? Recruitment could be considered as a piece of diamond and the above questions are just one piece of that master piece. There are multiple dimensions which are equally important to be taken care resulting in a great experience to candidates. Finally they are brand ambassadors of any organization which is the most effective, sustainable brand building exercise. All companies should start seriously thinking about and investing in this exercise….Top management should start monitoring not only whether the hiring numbers are taken care but also whether world class candidate experience is meted out as well at all touch points of the candidate with the client. Management needs, therefore, to seriously look at “HOW” in addition to “WHAT” factor….This will prove to be much more effective as compared to any other investments entailed to build brand loyalty and deep connect with potential candidates. How then, can an organization build a world class candidate experience? If the recruitment strategy is diluted by opening up the requirement to multiple vendors for the same role, would there be uniformity in the brand experience among the candidate community?? If time permits, I would be more than happy to cover this topic separately on recruitment models that could help organizations to build an excellent candidate experience which could drastically reduce the candidate backout ratio and also help to attract better quality of candidates in the long run. Just thought that this experience could benefit all our recruitment fraternity…Happy Recruiting!!