For businesses that are looking at making a difference, I am detailing my thoughts which I hope will let them discover gaps and correct their ways of working in order to excel in their employee practices and leave a stronger impression of their brand.
- It is important that companies invest in some digital technology that helps them store CV’s, categorize them into various buckets by skills, technologies, availability etc., and also has inbuilt triggers to handle reminders, emails to candidates, managers, time in the repository, archival rules and others. The categorization system needs to be very strong so that candidate retrieval is quick, and updates on the candidates touch points (e.g. status of technical test) clearly visible thereby helping make quick decisions. Imagine a scenario – Raghu writes to a company with their credentials, (or updates details on the company web page) and pre-defined AI enabled screening and filtering system auto tags the CV by attribute, skills, capability, experience, location, technology etc. Raghu receives an auto email that confirms receipt of his document, thanks him for the interest in the organization and sets expectations of a response in 48 hours. The pre-screening filters help the recruitment team understand the profile, and if this is a profile that meets the future needs of the company, the recruitment team updates Raghu’s profile with the necessary markers and confirms to him the company’s intent of reviewing his CV deeper. If he does not meet the requirement, the recruitment team ensures that the same is explained to Raghu so that he can strike the company off his list of potential. Once Raghu has been confirmed with the intent of pursuing his candidature for the future, it would be wise to complete all other formalities like technical tests and interviews and updating his profile. If he clears and meets the expectations, Raghu is either offered a job or is told clearly that is a candidate of interest and the company will get back to him as and when a position exists. The profile is updated with reminder markers, and an auto message is sent to Raghu on a bi-weekly basis confirming that his CV is still in the data bank and is being queued for future positions. If possible, follow this up with a phone call so that the candidate is aware of the interest that the company has in his profile. Once a vacancy opens, you can move fast and bring Raghu onboard even faster.
- While Raghu is waiting in queue in point 1 above, it would be beneficial for him to be oriented about your company, so that he in a way starts living his life in the company even though he may officially not be an employee. This not only helps in building curiosity but can also work positively in terms of brand awareness, as Raghu becomes an ambassador as a result of the excellent treatment he has received at the hands of the company. This orientation can be in the form of credentials, brochures, videos, specific website and interviews, ways of working simulation etc.
- When Raghu arrives for the interview, handle him like you would handle your client. Accord him the attention and respect he deserves, as you may just be looking at your next star potential. Ensure that his basic hygiene factors have been catered to – e.g. washroom breaks, water, tea, coffee and if the interview time is over lunch, insist that he should eat with you or the team. If your funding allows, gift him a souvenir at the end of the interaction (could be a diary and pen with your company branding) as it will definitely touch a chord, and benefit the company in the long run as 20 more Raghu’s show up for the job due to the goodwill that this process generates.(key is to do what the others do not and be the exception)
- It is important to ensure minimal touchpoints while assessing someone for a job. I have seen organizations which have 7-8 rounds and they are extremely proud of this process. They measure various aspects in these individual rounds, and I wonder why they can’t invest in a technical solution that could give them the same result (e.g. computer simulations, case studies, situation handling etc). I feel any process with more than 4 rounds is an overkill and places undue pressure on the candidate. You need the candidate to be comfortable and honest, which will not happen if you have a strenuous process requiring frequent visits to the company premises or multiple conference calls. Imagine a scenario – Raghu has already completed the online technical tests using the company’s internet-based learning solution. This solution has tracked time of test start, completion, accuracy, abnormalities, and also has recorded the entire experience using the camera of the candidate. This video feed is simultaneously analyzed for gaps to check on fraud. With the technical test done, Raghu comes to the companies premise for the interview. He is greeted warmly by the security/reception who have bene expecting him and have his visitor/access card ready for him. The person who he is meeting is expecting him and even if her has to wait due to any reason, he has abundance of magazines or company literature to refer to, in order to kill the boredom. Treat him like a valued human and not as cattle, which many companies do especially when they have walk-ins. They behave as if they are doing a huge favor on the candidates meeting them (ever seen those long queues in front of office buildings holding a walk in). It is important that Raghu feels valued right from the first interaction. The interview processes need to be combined so that instead of having 6-8 rounds, it is completed in 2-3 rounds. If you cannot decide in 3, then I don’t feel you can do anything in 6. The interview or discussion should ideally be in a neutral setting like an informal discussion room, conference room, sofa in the balcony – anything other than a table in a closed room with no visibility – as that often gives the feeling of an interrogation. The brighter, open, and visible the space, the better would be the quality of discussions. Ensure that you have dedicated enough time to make Raghu comfortable and also answer all Raghu’s questions and concerns. He should also be completely aware of his role, responsibility, KRA’s, objectives so that he is can take a well-informed decision, and even if he is not selected, he knows what is expected from an employee. (Don’t do this if you are a spy agency, and everything needs to be kept confidential). Even if Raghu does not make it, remember that he will be an ambassador for your company. Companies with excellent work practices end up filling 50-60% of their recruitment needs from internal and external referrals, so branding is key.
- If Raghu is not selected due to any reason, be brave and strong enough to let him know what did not work. Many companies fear providing any feedback citing reasons like we don’t have time, candidate would be upset, we don’t want an altercation etc. In my experience being brave enough to let the candidate know of their shortcoming and what they can do to overcome them (and re-apply) has often resulted in candidates continuing to be connected with the organization and returning for a second attempt.
There are many small and mid-sized companies that may not have the funding to invest in a digital platform around resume repository or conducting online technical tests, as long as they key essence that we are attempting to achieve is managed, then manual processes will also work. It is to be remembered that such processes will require improved levels of filing and follow ups, and human effort, so a cost analysis between manual effort and automation, and the impact on your brand would need to be done.
In summary key is to treat every candidate as special and ensure that the impression the candidates have of CV’s being lost once they reach the HR repository is nullified. Investing a few hours extra on every candidate may be costly, but a humane treatment of potential future employees can go a long way in positive brand awareness in the market of your operations.
Disclaimer – comments are the authors personal view and there is no link to anyone called Raghu, it is a name that just sounded nice.