Are you ready to stop dieting and change your lifestyle instead? Oh, I’m not talking about your lunch break. I’m talking about the way you hire people.
Here’s my bold confession. I believe the recruiting process in today’s business world is seriously broken. I’ve been working in recruitment and talent acquisition for over a decade, sitting across the table from hundreds upon hundreds of candidates. I’ve also experienced the process from the candidate side—as the guy evaluating your opportunity and determining if we’re the right fit for each other. And in both roles I’ve had countless discussions with business leaders, HR professionals, entrepreneurs, and talented people looking for career growth.
It all adds up to this. Things have got to change.
Let’s talk about the employer perspective first. Here are the problems:
- In our current low unemployment environment, employers are struggling to find talent to fill the roles needed to help their companies move forward.
- Struggling recruitment results in lost productivity and resources spent chasing the talent you claim you cannot find.
- Or maybe you are finding the talent and enticing them into your organization, only to soon discover you’ve turned them over to another opportunity because of “fit.” In that case, recruitment problems bleed into retention problems.
- Often the people you hire become quickly disengaged because what was promised during the recruitment process was not delivered when they got on the job.
- This leads to “bad apples” spreading unflattering opinions of your organization, turning away other potential candidates and further propelling the struggle to recruit.
The bottom line is, this cycle of problems costs money and a lot of it. You may get results, but not the right kind of results.
Now let’s look at the candidate perspective. What problems do I see?
- I hear on a regular basis there is a serious lack of follow-up. Employers are terrible at communicating with candidates on a timely basis if at all, which creates a very bad taste in prospective employees’ mouths. They feel they are treated like a commodity, nothing more than a number through the process.
- It’s important to note that millennials in particular do not want to be treated like a number. None of us do. Candidates are people—talented people who could make a huge difference in your organization. But if you stink at following up with them, then you may lose the chance to ever find out.
- People often tell me they’re frustrated with the process they have to go through to “get into the system” of an organization. Let’s fill out an online application profile and enter all the stuff that is on our resume so that it can go to an artificial screening mechanism where people—talented, powerhouse candidates who would blow you away if you had a real conversation—are evaluated simply on how they “check the boxes.”
- Sadly, many of these candidates jump through all your hoops only to hear… crickets. If they’re lucky, a rejection email arrives the day after their info is submitted. There is never any additional discussion, no personal conversation about where the individual wants to go, what he or she can do, and why you should care. Do you have any idea how many amazing candidates you’re missing out on because they aren’t getting through your “helpful, efficient” screenings? I’ll tell you I have personally filled out several of these online profiles over the years, and some of the companies that never so much as sent back a reply are now, ironically, seeking my help to untangle their recruitment mess.
- Now here’s what’s really crazy. If a candidate does break through to the interview process, I’m hearing some are put through as many as seven rounds of interviews. Seven! That’s not seven meetings in one day, which might be typical for an all-day interview—I’m talking about seven rounds of narrowing down candidates, seven progressively scheduled dates, taking place over a period of months in which everyone is told to “hurry up and wait” before the employer decides who to hire. Top candidates are so fed up with dragging out the process that they often find a different opportunity meanwhile. Does it really take seven interviews to determine if somebody is right for your company? Candidates can typically make that call by the second interview. Can’t you?
- Finally, understand that a candidate’s perception of your organization is formed not by the salary you’re offering or the new office you built, but by the way they are treated during the recruitment process. All of the problems I’ve just described are creating a negative perception of local companies among the very people they are trying to attract. Candidates will share their poor opinions of you with their network, including other qualified candidates you want and need.
Now I know some of you are ready to blast me for speaking so bluntly. You might dismiss my points as the ranting of a bitter, never-got-the-call candidate—and I want you to know that is not at all the case. I want to fix the problem. I’m on your side—you, the company, and you, the candidate. Believe it or not, we all have one thing in common: we want the Fox Valley to thrive. That can only happen if we wake up and face the problems head-on. That’s where I come in. I’m the guy in the middle positioned to mediate the issues and create a resolution that will benefit everyone for the sake of long-term success.
Employers, you have no idea the talent you’re missing out there. I know because I’m meeting them every day, and these bright men and women only confirm again and again what I’ve just laid out in this article. These are not my opinions. They are collective truths.
Imagine, though, being the employer where everyone wants to work. My passion is to make organizations better at creating an awesome culture and perception where talent runs to you. It can happen. How? By differentiating your company from what everyone else is doing—which, we’ve already established, is not working.
As the founder of NeXtGen Advantage, I have stepped into an underserved gap in the recruiting space and created a new and innovative way to recruit talent. I call it my Brand Ambassador model. It’s an entirely different approach to looking at talent and helping candidates connect with companies that want them.
How is it different? Here’s an analogy. Right now most companies approach recruiting like we approach weight loss. We realize we need to drop some pounds (an open position). So we drastically change our diet and nutrition plan (throw all of our resources at the open position) for a couple of months until we hit our goal (a position filled). Then we go back to doing what we’ve always done and soon discover we’ve put most of the weight back on and now we have to lose it again (another open position to fill) and so on and so on. This yo-yo diet approach to recruiting dries up continuous resources with no real, lasting change. If you’ve ever been on a diet like this then you know what you really need is not another short-term diet but a complete change of lifestyle.
My Brand Ambassador model is exactly that.
I’ll warn you it’s not for everyone. I’m talking couch potato to Ninja Warrior. But some of you are ready for it. Some of you are forward-thinking enough to recognize the issues and want to do something about it. If that’s the case, then let’s have a conversation about how I can help differentiate your organization from the rest of the dieters. This kind of effort requires close alignment in goals and values. You’ll be evaluating me, and I’ll be evaluating you, too. So I guess, in a way, we’re about to embark on an interview of our own sort. Sounds like fun to me. Who’s in?