We are moving out of the state where employers could take their time filling job openings, and invite job candidates for four, five or six interviews before making a decision. It is a job-seeker’s market now.
If that is not your experience as a job-seeker, and please take this advice in the loving spirit in which it is intended, you are missing the mark in your job-search approach somehow. It could be your branding, or your job-search methods. You are smart and capable, so if you are spending a lot of time and emotional energy on your job search and it isn’t paying off, the good news is that the solution to your problem is within your control.
If you haven’t noticed the uptick in hiring activity, the words you have chosen to describe yourself on LinkedIn and in your resume may not be doing you justice. Here is a tip: think about the types of Business Pain you solve for employers, and bring out that pain-solving abilities in your resume and your LinkedIn profile.
Now that candidates have some voice and leverage in the recruiting process, HR folks and recruiters are having to deal with them differently. Waiting around for weeks to hear about a slow hiring committee’s decisions will not work in this talent market. Good candidates will be gone before you get back to them.
Our client Vaughn hadn’t had much activity in his job search, so he changed his LinkedIn profile to talk more specifically about the business results he had achieved for his last two employers. Then he started to hear from recruiters and even hiring managers who spotted his LinkedIn profile.
Vaughn hadn’t wanted to indicate his job-hunting status on his LinkedIn profile. We told him “Let them know you’re looking! Otherwise, they won’t know and you won’t hear from them as easily.”
Vaughn wrote a new headline for his LinkedIn profile. His new headline included the words “Seeking new challenge” and those were the magic words! About six weeks later Vaughn had two competing job offers. It is a new day for job-seekers as well as employers. Marketable candidates are in the driver’s seat now!
Here are five things that used to be standard operating procedure in the hiring process, five things that candidates won’t tolerate anymore. They’ll protest or they’ll just disappear. It’s time for recruiting departments to shift their methods to get these five annoying practices out of the picture.
Tests Before Conversation
If your standard procedure has been to screen applications in your ATS and then send the most likely candidates a link with an honesty test, a questionnaire or some other “to do” item before making human contact with them, that process has to go! The best candidates won’t stand for it. Less-marketable candidates will. Which kind of candidates are you after?
“You Show Me Yours, and I Won’t Show You Mine” Salary Demands
I know that hiring managers want to know their candidates’ current and past salaries, and I have also heard that people in Hell want ice water, but the way the cookie crumbles is that marketable candidates won’t give up their salary details, nor should they. No hiring manager or HR leader is going to tell a candidate what the last person in the job got paid, or what the other employees get paid, so why would any self-respecting candidate give up his or her personal salary details?
Your job as an HR professional or a recruiter is to be able to gauge a candidate’s market value by talking to him or her. If you can only gauge someone’s value by learning what another company paid them, you are in the wrong profession.
For years in our recruiting workshops we have taught recruiters and HR folks that they have a week at most between communications with applicants in their pipeline. Some of the workshop participants say “A week? If I’m trying to hire someone, I would never wait that long” and others say “There are too many applicants! I can’t stay in touch with all of them on a weekly basis.”
Which group do you think makes better hires, faster? Of course, it is the group of recruiters who stays in touch with their candidates! If you have too many applicants to communicate with all of them, your process is faulty. There is something amiss in your advertising or your screening process. Your job is to narrow down a large group of applicants to a small enough pool that you can easily communicate with all of them.
If you go silent on a candidate without explanation, don’t expect him or her to take “I was busy” for an answer. I advise candidates to bail if they haven’t gotten any feedback three days after a job interview. Wouldn’t you want feedback by the fourth day? It’s rude and unprofessional to use up a candidate’s time on an interview and then to leave him or her hanging. You can do better in 2016!
Monkey Wrenches in the Recruiting Process
We all know hiring managers who can’t make a decision. They’ll interview six candidates, wait three weeks and then invite three of the candidates back for second interviews. Then, they’ll say “I should talk to Margaret again” – meaning Margaret from the first-round interviews, five weeks ago. As an HR leader or recruiter, part of your job is to guide your hiring managers to step their game up and treat job applicants like [perishable] gold.
Sometimes you have to get in a hiring manager’s face, politely of course, and say “You have to make a decision.” We had a hiring manager tell us not long ago “I really like Belinda, but I still want to see more candidates — let’s run the job ad again!” and we said “Nix. Either let Belinda go and find another job, or make her an offer.” Belinda got the job and is doing brilliantly, unsurprisingly. As a recruiter or HR person you must have the backbone to prevent hiring managers from shooting themselves in the foot when their fear of commitment makes them act a little crazy.
Confusion and Disarray
You are evaluating the job candidates you encounter in you recruiting projects and they are evaluating you. Don’t think that they don’t notice or won’t care about scheduling errors, garbled communication or clerical delays on your end or your client’s end. Job-seekers are smart. They take in everything and they will base their job-offer acceptance decision in part on the degree to which your client or your firm appears to have its act together.
Job-seekers know that only the people who get them and show it, deserve them. Your job as a recruiter or HR leader is to let candidates know that you’re on top of the recruiting game and that you understand that candidates have choices. They don’t have to work for you. You have to let them know you value them, from the first interaction to the end of the pipeline.
Can you step into the 2016 recruiting arena and make your recruiting experience as human as it can be? Now is the time to do it!
This article was written by Liz Ryan from Forbes and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.