Written by Alan Plantikow, PHR.
Branding. As Talent Acquisition professionals, we live it every day and we fully understand the importance of a strong employment brand. We even preach “personal brand” to job seekers. But how effectively are we communicating this to our hiring leaders, and more importantly, are they listening?
Here is an email I received from a good friend, Robert (not his real name), yesterday after his experience (as a job seeker) from an interview he had that morning.
Subject: MY NEW COVER LETTER
I would like to apply for the job you have posted. I hope that my resume gives you the information that you are looking for in an ideal candidate. If there are any questions or you would like to discuss the matters in greater detail, please feel free to call me at your earliest convenience.
I do realize that in these troubling times that many companies are pushing their workforce to do many jobs outside of their sphere of expertise. Unfortunately people of different professions are called upon to do the work of a human resources professional without the benefit of having any training in the interview process. To assist you in your hiring process, might I suggest that I bring my own Human Resources expert to do the interview for you? All you would need to do is to sit with him for 30 minutes so that he may get an idea of what you are looking for even though you may not be able to put it into words yourself.
After you and my HR expert have had a bit of a chat, he and I can sit down and conduct a proper job interview. You are of course free to sit in on the interview at this time. With this we can skip all of the worthless chit chat that can occur during interviews and also avoid some other interview faux-pas such as:
I know that you are really busy and that you have a few hundred more applications in front of you than you expected, but take 30 seconds (half a minute) to send a reply email to me to confirm that you actually received this email. All you have to do is click the reply button and copy and paste the following line:
Thank you for sending your resume to us. We will be reviewing all entries and will contact you within the next 2 weeks with our yes or no decision.
I called him immediately after reading this to see what spurred this rant, and he had written this to vent his frustration from what he called the “worst interview of my life”. Robert had taken the morning off of work to interview with a company that he was very excited about, he arrived promptly just ahead of his scheduled interview time, and he was pumped about a chance to demonstrate his value to this company.
As he described the events that took place, it became alarmingly clear that this was not the first time he had experienced such a scenario or similar situation. And if this is the experience of only one job seeker, how many other similar occurrences are happening daily? Are our hiring leaders still unaware of how such poorly planned interviewing situations will impact the employment brand? Robert is an automotive parts and inventory professional who has zero HR experience or exposure, but even people who have never heard the term “employment brand” still know exactly what a negative candidate experience like this does for their views of such companies. Applicants who have experienced similar situations are obviously willing to share these negative experiences with friends, colleagues, etc.
Our hiring leaders remain our customers, however our duty to our customers is not always to give them what they want; sometimes our duty to them may actually be to tell them what they need or need to be doing differently. Continue to educate your hiring leaders on the importance of the positive candidate experience throughout the recruiting, interview, and selection process. Instill upon them that thoughtlessness can easily tarnish a companies brand and reputation. Don’t leave your employment brand exposed to such risk.