Archive for the ‘ Employer Branding – Good ’ Category

Do You Want to Hire the Best Talent?

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At the beginning of 2010 I wrote a blog post called “Why would I want to work for your company?” and published it here. It must have struck a chord because I was asked to remove it because someone thought I was having a pop at them; would I do that? Being new to blogging, I duly complied. I then reposted it here in April 2011. Today it is my most visited (and I hope read) post. It is also the one that is searched for and found the most often using the words in it title. Obviously there are many that are asking the same questions.

This post is to take the subject of that post a bit further.

In that post I talked about poor employer brand and the lack of attention many companies give to promoting that brand to potential candidates, naïvely in favour of their hallowed corporate and consumer brands (which might suck by the way). Today it is all about engagement – at least some people are getting it. I’ve been banging on about networks, communities and candidate engagement since July 2006; the date I came into HR Resourcing. They didn’t really listen then, but back then I didn’t have such a loud voice.

Now it’s louder and I’m not alone either. People are listening and asking questions, hungry to learn. I go to seminars, conferences and have conversations with plenty of people who do a similar job to me and have many of the same challenges. The subject of Candidate Engagement, what it means, how important it is, the dynamics, psychology and methods of approach are all part of the discussions.

Now I don’t have all of the answers, none of us do, but it seems to me that there are some simple concepts to grasp.

  • Everyone is a potential employee if you get the proposition right for them
  • Not everyone is a potential applicant – some just won’t fit or have the skills you need but they are interested in what you have to say and will have opinions others will listen to
  • Everyone could be a consumer – piss a candidate off and it will cost you money
  • Talking costs nothing – tell them what THEY want to know, not what you think they do or just what you feel comfortable telling them.
  • Every employee you have has a story to tell, make sure the majority have a good one

That last point is a huge subject that covers a wide range of HR aspirations and failures. But I’m not going there today.

So how do we engage with the world and give people the information they need. In the more mature and up to date companies you’ll need to join forces with Marketing, Branding and Communications to create an environment that can be used to let everyone know what your organisation is all about. It products, its people, its ambition, its opportunities, events, initiatives, CR projects, the good news and the bad news. Get people interested in you and your company and they will be more interested. Some will even want to work for you. It takes time and effort and therefore money, but can you really afford not to? There are companies that you compete with in the quest for top talent that are doing this already.

Most Resourcing Departments don’t have someone with the title Social Engagement Manager or Candidate Engagement Specialist or similar. Why not? Mostly it’s because I’ve just thought of it myself! – far too many options available for answers on that one.

It’s a new concept; no one has any experience of it. It therefore scares those who are supposed to be in control because they can’t be and don’t have the skills and knowledge to work with it. It’s a new concept only in so far as people now see Social Media and new technology as enabler to get the job done. The concept is not new it’s been around since Man learned to speak. But with Social Technology we all see a route for a quick fix.

But don’t be fooled into believing the technology will be the complete answer; you will need to invest in the people who have the aptitude and attitude, who can use the platforms and then use them to engage.

There are platforms that are now emerging, some established like TribePad, that will actually help you with your engagement plan. They are all so new that when I thought about this blog post I searched the web using a host of different terms and search strings and all I was finding was job boards, aggregators or ATS providers. None of which seemed to offer you a platform to engage with the world and anyone who wants to engage with you properly yourselves – apart from TribePad. There are others, I know there are. I have yet to meet or find them. I welcome comments on this blog from those who offer a similar option I’d be interested. However you don’t have to use advanced platform to make a start; you can use Facebook, your own company website, Twitter, blogs as well as face-to-face events. There is so much that can be done.

Ok I’ve digressed. In my previous blog I was stating that we have to give the public more reason to want to join our companies. We need to engage with people in person, face-to-face or online we need to give them what they want with targeted or subscribed distribution of information. We have to be available, ready and willing to answer the tough questions now. It’s no longer acceptable that just because you are one of the biggest companies in the world, with one of the best brands that people will want to work for you. Why would they when you don’t engage at all or give them an idea of what it’s like, what our culture is like, what opportunities exist for them to help their careers?

Engagement is not about just giving a candidate a good experience during the interview process or the lifecycle of a job, it’s about fully embracing the concept and looking at everyone as a potential employee. They are no longer candidates, they are followers or interested parties who need to be given a reason to keep coming back to your site or platform or community. They have to want to be there, they want to experience what you are, they want to be informed and if you get it right they may also apply for the job.

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Resourcing – Why Chop Logs with a Teaspoon?

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This weekend I spent loads of time in my garden. About 4 hours on Saturday and about 3 on Sunday. It was time well spent.

I had a list of things I wanted to get done, the sun was shining, it was warm and dry, perfect weather for some hard work.

In the spring of 2010 we had six very large Ash trees felled in various parts of the grounds.  Two of the trees were easily 30 meters tall and were felled inside the garden with no way to get them up the very high steep bank through the woods and out of the garden.  I managed to get some of them cleared last year but had left the rest in piles to season where they fell.  Time to move some more; cut, split and stack them in the stables, (we don’t have horses, it’s just a giant storage shed), ready for winter use.

I’d put this particular job off for most of the summer hoping for a long hot spell to really dry the wood out.  That and the fact it was going to a long hard job and I didn’t really fancy it at all, but with cut and split logs costing in the region of £100 a tonne if purchased it made sense to use what was already ours. So to work.

With my in-ear headphones and the iPod on shuffle I just got on with it. A chainsaw and a bow saw on Saturday, an axe and hatchet on Sunday.  I was having fun, all the time the number of tree trunks and branches from around the place were being reduced to the size we could use in the house.  Whilst I was doing this I was thinking, amongst other things, about my next blog post.  Each time I latched onto a theme I just couldn’t make it work.

Then on Sunday it occurred to me.

I just spent hours reducing trees to 20cm logs to burn in an open fire.  Whilst it was most certainly hard work it had not been difficult at all, in fact it was easy.  I was methodical.  I paced myself.  It occurred to me was that I was enjoying what I was doing, I had the enthusiasm and energy to get the job done and I had the correct tools for the job.

Of course my mind linked it instantly to Resourcing and how organisations big and small don’t generally give it the priority it needs, don’t have the appetite, energy or the right tools to do it right.  To do anything right, there has to be an appetite, enthusiasm and energy to do it well and the right equipment to do it effectively and efficiently for the right results have to be available.  I could have created the same amount of fire logs with a bow saw and a regular saw and just an axe but it would have taken me so much longer and with much more effort and lots of pain.  This is a task I have done for year and love it! I know what I am doing and have the right approach, tools and technique.  Yes anyone can do it but you have to know what you are doing.  I’ve seen the damage done by poor attention to the detail and poor technique; it’s not pretty

When it comes to Resourcing the appetite comes from the leader of the organisation.  Many executives say it is a priority but few give it anything other than lip service and it tends to get marginalised because outdated attitudes to sourcing and attraction are cemented firmly in days gone by, i.e. pick the phone up and call and agency or search firm. (A bit like using a rust old and blunt hand saw).  This last sentence assumes it is recognised as an essential and specialist business function in the first place. I doubt very much that it is in the majority.  There are many companies that are happy for the hiring managers to leverage personal networks, place job adverts and engage with agencies; and for many this works well.  Whilst it doesn’t actually add any real value to the business it puts bums on seats.  Sadly for the majority of hiring managers and HR practitioners that’s all it’s about.

Equipping a Resourcing function properly is key to its success and essential to it adding far more value to the business than most people think it can.  It doesn’t start with simply giving someone the responsibility to recruit for your company.  It starts with a commitment to do it properly and to recognise that it is something that you need to invest in to allow the proper policies and procedures to be put in place and then constantly refined, retuned and modified to keep pace with a constantly changing landscape.

It also takes time to get it right for your company.  There is no overnight fix, but there can be a dramatic and identifiable improvement within a reasonably short space of time.  I’m talking within the current accounting period.

The one big mistake that many hiring managers, HRDs, HR Managers and company executives make when it comes to Resourcing is thinking it is easy and that anyone can do it.

Last year I asked an audience made up of about 100 HR management types “How many of you have personally been responsible for Rescouring someone in the last year?”

All but a few put their hands up.

Then I asked them “How many of you did that without using agencies or search firms?”  Only three hands stayed up.

I’m not sure what they thought they were doing but it wasn’t Resourcing, but it was easy.  I told them that the only thing they had proven to me was that they knew how to use a phone.  Only one or two of them had actually done the resourcing, all of the others had offloaded it to 3rd parties.    Now this is not a fault at all but simply an indication of what many think Resourcing is all about.

Recruitment, Talent Acquisition, Resourcing, Staffing – call it what you will, is not a one dimensional function and it does not follow a simple linear process that has a clear beginning and an end. To be sure that your business doesn’t suffer because of the bad hires you have made or the bad impression you have made in the market it must be given specialist continued focus and attention.  It is a front line customer and consumer facing function.  Treating it as anything else could be neglecting your responsibilities.

Providing your company with the right tools means applying the right priority to the function, finding the right people, paying them what they are worth, the right training, giving them the appropriate budget to use the appropriate technologies and platforms and give them the corporate support to ensure they are not marginalised by HR, Sales, Marketing or any other function.  Think about it!  An effective Resourcing team might speak to more people every week, selling your company to a wider audience than any other department in your organisation.  Do you really want them to be doing a bad job of it?   You get the right people with the right attitude and attributes and give them respect they will both save you money and add to your company’s bottom line.

With the right tools for the job you get a job well done, you get added benefit in terms of corporate reputation, the delivery of the right skills at the right time for the business and is done efficiently.  The best talent in the market will give you more respect and as such could well put you at the top of their list of places to work when they are ready.  And as with anything done right you will get value for your money.

I am looking for work at the moment and know from first-hand experience how bad the Resourcing/Recruitment processes are in companies if left to the HRBPs, HRDs or generalists. It’s not the individuals’ fault all of the time; it’s probably the priority given to it.  There is a simple answer – Hire me I’ll sort it out for you.  I can be contacted here

Let me just add this; if it was easy to do, why do so many of you get it so wrong all of the time?

Music of the Day – In Loving Memory by Alter Bridge

Thanks for reading

Why would I want to work for your company?

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“Why would I want to work for your company?” and “What is in it for me?” are two questions, we as recruiters very rarely hear from candidates and yet both of them are top of the list of questions that candidates need to ask, should ask and probably subconsciously consider when job hunting.

We ALL do it without exception when we are looking for a job and must remember to consider these same questions as a prospective employer and ask ourselves “why would someone want to work for us” and “what would they get out of it?”

A professional recruiter is tasked with promoting their employer, its values and the career opportunities it has the potential to provide to people, yet so many recruiters, HR Directors and Managers as well as hiring managers and shamefully executives too, take it for granted that if a brand or company is big enough in its space (whether that is locally, nationally or globally) it will be a magnet for candidates. Seriously though it is a common mistake that so many people (companies) make, and it can be fatal as far as candidate engagement goes. If you are a recruiter or if you are a hiring manager and fail to provide a candidate with a compelling reason to join your company they just won’t!

A good indicator about how well you are “selling” the company or giving candidates the right level of information and incentive is to look at the number of rejected offers you get and the number of people who leave your organisation voluntarily within their first year of employment. Statistics will vary dept. by dept. and company to company, but if is higher than 10% I suggest that you need to look at how well you are selling yourself and your company.

There could be any number of points that candidates might find compelling and they’re likely to be different from candidate to candidate. Earnings Potential, Team, Challenge, Office Environment, Career Stability, Career Progression……..the list goes on. They are all very personal to the candidate and each will play a part in his or her decision process. Add to them the corporate employer brand, your place in the market and you have a big big story to create.

Unless the time and effort is invested to make the candidate feel important by finding out what is important to them you won’t be able to help them make the right choice. If you have found the right person, one you and others in the hiring process know will add value, you have an obligation to give them all of the information they want, as well as information you think they should know so that they can choose you.

There is no point in just assuming because you have a job to offer and a decent salary it will be enough to get a decision in your favour. Similarly, just because you have a great product or service doesn’t mean that you have a reputation of any kind, good or bad as an employer. You have to sell the benefit and value and what it could mean to each person. Do not take anything for granted.

Recruitment Fraud – Action Needed?

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A week or so ago there was a topic that was posted on The FIRM’s discussion forum that was quite alarming. One of the members, an in-house UK based recruitment manager at a large company had flagged the issue of Recruitment Fraud.

I suspect that label could cover a multitude of sins, some very minor that we might experience every day and some major. This one falls into the latter category. It would appear that criminal gangs have been targeting the jobs market to collect personal information about people. In many of these cases it appears that the perpetrators of such fraud are creating spoof corporate websites and enticing people to apply for jobs through them. Of course the ‘candidates’ think they are applying for legitimate jobs at well known global companies In doing so, the targeted members of the public are asked to provide a range of personal information that would be relevant to a job application, but being given to a criminal company puts them at serious risk.

These fraudsters have also claimed to be able to arrange visas including travel and accommodation, couriers, legal advice or other services. The perpetrators can get quite clever providing alternate contact info for another spoof department or transferring calls. All with the objective of convincing the ‘applicant’ of their legitimacy and to con them into supplying personal information and money in the belief that a legitimate visa will be issued.

In addition the fraudsters have been known to send what appears to be real job offers to these ‘applicants’. In a recent situation one company actually had people turn up to start work. As you can imagine this caused a lot of frustration and disappointment to all involved.

It seems that it is all very convincing with many overseas workers looking to migrate being targeted at potentially great expense to them.

Many companies including RBS, British Airways and Shell ( only did a very brief search) are now putting notices on their corporate careers sites to inform people of how they advertise and the processes they follow during a formal recruitment lifecycle. There is of course no indication that they have been targeted or if they are just acting ahead of the game.

This is a serious issue and thought it wise to raise awareness of the issue to a wider audience and to suggest that everyone starts to think of a page or statement that we can put on their corporate careers web site. Not only are the individuals victims of this but so would your company be if this happened to you or them. It would damage your reputation and the level of trust people have in your corporate, customer/consumer and employer brands.

Many of you will be aware of this, but if not I hope it helps

Is Measuring the Cost of Hire sufficient to prove Effectiveness?

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As every in house recruiter knows there is a priority to reduce the cost of hire. If you don’t then you should. Many of the initiatives that flow through the corporate landscape are justified before or after by the forecasted or realised cost savings; whether it is creation of a PSL, a new ATS, increased head count to reduce use of agencies or to reduce time to hire etc., it all comes down to RIO.

There are those in house recruiting structures that strive for a perfect direct souring model; one that is motivated by the business need to reduce agency and search dependency and therefore the cost of hire. There is nothing wrong with that at all and for many would be a sound justification.

But what about considerations given to the quality of hire? Have you given thought to how much it would cost you to make a Bad Hire? Estimates vary on this one from a few months of Total Cost to Company (TCC) to 3 years. TCC is salary plus bonus plus Fringe Costs (in a sales environment add in commission guarantees well). The reason it can be so high is not only the cost of the original hire and the wasted salary to that person, but the cost of the replacement, the lack of productivity the poor hire contributed and then the training and ramp up time of the replacement hire.

If your poor hire is also potentially one of your consumers then the impact of the poor hire could run into millions of lost revenue over the lifetimes of that person and their extended family. It is a stretch I know, but a risk easily calculated. Another impact will be the detrimental impact to the Employer Brand of your company. Now I appreciate that Employer Brand is promoted, protected and impacted on so many levels but the experience a candidate has or employee has (regardless of how long they stay with the company)will without doubt influence other people’s perception of your company as a place to work as part of their career aspirations.

What might be the impact if the poor hire was a senior member of management or in a high profile position? Wouldn’t that have an adverse impact on the reputation of the organisation not only from its customer but its investors as well?

With these thoughts in mind, is a focus on the reduction in the unit cost per hire a real indicator of improvement and gained efficiencies? Shouldn’t we be looking at the seemingly unquantifiable ‘Quality of Hire’ and promotion of or impact to ‘Employer Brand’? Both tend to get overlooked outside of the recruiting teams, possibly because the benefits can only be measured over a longer period.

Focusing on the Candidate Experience and the Quality of Hire, obviously with an eye on the costs are key considerations for me because they offer potentially massive long terms gains for the business as well as the reputation of my teams, whereas the cost of hire is typically a short term metric relative to the past or current fiscal period.

So is Measuring the Cost of Hire sufficient to prove Effectiveness? I would say No. What do you think?

A work in progress and interesting to hear thoughts on this, especially what areas can positively affect the Candidate Experience, Employer Branding and Quality for hire?

Social Media, yes;
Employee Engagement, yes;
Referral Programs, yes

– what else?

With the help of Social Media I met some fab people!

[tweetmeme source=”GaryFranklin”]

Warning – This is going to be a long one!

This has been a rather busy week and one that I wish I could re-experience over and over again – it was that much fun. The highlight “day of the week” was definitely Thursday 10th June 2010 which started at 05:00 and didn’t conclude really until I got home again at 23:00. But boy what a buzz the day was; from start to finish I didn’t stop speaking with or listening to people for all but approx 45 minutes and what great people they are too.

So let’s start at the beginning. I had a journey of approx 30-45 mins by car to the train station and then a 1 hour train and Tube journey to get to the first location in London SE1. This is important because getting the choice of music right is essential for setting up the day right. So for those who know me you won’t be surprised to learn that in the car was Boston’s self titled album, with “More Than a Feeling” at a distorting volume, as the livener! So onto the train and I always pick the same few tracks on the iPod for this journey because 4 tracks can get me to where I need to be and in a very relaxed frame of mind. So it has to be 24.33 minutes of Supper’s Ready by Genesis – but the live version from Seconds Out, followed in sequence on the album by Cinema Show and then Dance on a Volcano and Los Endos. And then I arrive at where I need to be! The Start rather then The End actually! Smiling and relaxed but also pumped ready for action.

So why did I get to London SE1for 07:30. I was attending one of the regular Breakfast with The FIRM meetings. Rather than detail The FIRM and its background in this posting I will respectfully point you to Hello world! History of The FIRM – a previous posting. Whilst this older posting paints a picture it does need updating briefly.

True to the founding principles, The Forum for Inhouse Recruitment Managers is exclusive to in-house corporate recruiters or those working in such a capacity on site but for an RPO provider. We are strict – no one else gets in!

Today we have approx 2400 members in 44 countries representing over 1000 companies in approx 100 different market sectors. I won’t labour the background since much can be found elsewhere, either in the About Me page of this Blog or at The FIRM’s Group page on LinkedIn.

Back to the events of Thursday then. In the past we have had sponsors such as LinkedIn, Google, Barkers, 33, SHL, whereas this Breakfast with The FIRM event held at 15 Hatfields, and exclusive to Members of The FIRM was run entirely sponsor-less and allowed us to hear at length from fellow members; sharing experience and concepts. So we had over 50 in-house recruiters plus guests from The Buzz, Recruiter Magazine and UKRecruiter spend 4 hours in each others company. We even ensured that we had free wireless for all and created a hashtag #thefirmbreakfast should people want to use Twitter during the sessions. And of course Keith Robinson duly obliged to keep a worldwide audience updated. The thread is still available on Twitter.com – just search on #thefirmbreakfast for all associated tweets.

The first session of the day was a talk from Paul Maxin, Global Resourcing Director at Unilever on how Unilever has managed its growth through effective use of a global RPO agreement with Accenture.

A very informative and eye-opening presentation – the numbers were huge and impressive. Some, such as the fact that they have made and had accepted 11,309 job offers in one year to March 2010 and achieved customer and candidate satisfaction rating at 80% – globally are staggering, hiring more people in one year than many members have in their global workforce. With RPO Unilever retain control over their Employer Brand, Talent Attraction and Acquisition Strategy and Talent Planning but outsource the operational side of sourcing and managing the talent pool including provision of ATS and CRM tools to Accenture

It was interesting on the day that some people questioned whether the Employer Brand can be effectively promoted and protected when using an RPO provider. I too am not a great fan of RPO, but you have to admit that Unilever gives detractors an idea of how the right choice of RPO partner and the right level and quality of process management will and can deliver effectively and play a crucial part in enhancing the corporate brand. Let’s face it, Unilever are in a more sensitive position than most with the vast majority of their customers being consumers and we all know how fickle we are!

Another very interesting stat that came out of the presentation was that Brazilians wash their hair more often than other nationalities!!! Random I know!

The presentation although only 45 minutes long was packed full of information for the audience, to absorb and consider. It was very clear that whilst the scale of Unilever’s recruiting is challenging, the basics are the same for most other companies; efficiencies, quality, delivery and customer satisfaction amongst others. Thanks Paul.

After a break our second presenter of the day Matt Jeffery Global Director of Talent Brand at Electronic Arts was introduced. He started of by comparing The FIRM to a nefarious organisation and comparing yours truly to Marlon Brando’s Don Corleone character in the Godfather. I found Matt’s comments flattering and honorable; I honestly have no knowledge of his whereabouts today officer!

Matt presented with passion about how EA go about their Attraction and Acquisition processes, a major priority is the emphasis of the EA Employer Brand (EB). He suggested that an EB is not owned by HR, but must be owned by all parts of the business and the workforce must be ambassadors for it. The EB is what others say about you! He explained how EA reinvented their Job Descriptions, ensuring the formats were standardised; clean, easy to read and actually gave the candidates the right information. Matt reminded everyone it is how the candidates read a job description that is important. A Job Description has to be simple and sell whilst conveying the right message at the same time; above all be exciting!

EA use their recruiters to backup the EB and are considered “Marketeers” for the brand, the company and the opportunity. I know this subject has been written about previously in various other blogs. (I have yet to hear a compelling reason why the corporate recruitment function needs to belong to HR. It could be a very interesting debate to have).

Matt went on to give examples of how EA have taken advantage of various Social Media platforms (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Blogs, YouTube etc.) to promote the EB and EA brand, build communities and engage with the potential talent pool, stating that EA ensure it is all about a bilateral relationship rather than just pushing information, by way of one-dimensional job postings to an unknown audience. Each of these channels have seen incredible subscription and follower levels.

An excellent and engaging presentation full of thought-provoking ideas. Thanks Matt.

The final hour of the Breakfast was taken up with a table session where attendees were asked to discuss with each other what major issues they faced or they needed to address going forward. The idea behind this was two-fold; it gave the attendees a chance to openly share ideas with each other as well as give us feedback on what they would like to discuss or hear about at future events.

Members during Table Exercise
Hot Topics that came out of this:

Candidate care;
Recruiter workload;
Pipelining;
Diversity;
Social media;
Employer Branding;
Referrals;
Reducing agency spend

Some interesting Breakfasts and Webinars ahead, but it goes to show that with 45 or so companies represented on Thursday we all have similar issues to one extent or another. I would suspect that if we extrapolate across the global membership we’d be see very similar issues elsewhere.

We also wrapped up the whole session by showing the attendees some screen shots of what the new and impending community web site for The FIRM will look like. Watch this space (and others) over the next couple of months for more info. So thanks to everyone for coming and for your continued support of each other – this goes for every member of The FIRM whether you could attend or not and particular thanks and praise to Matt and Paul for their words of encouragement and for taking the time to deliver two outstanding presentations

The next Breakfast by popular demand will be a full day with members and industry thought leaders discussing tactics and ideas along with “how do’s” and “how to’s” around the creation and management of Direct Sourcing Models. Subject to getting sponsors on board and finalised we will be formerly announcing this in the next few weeks – thanks to Vanessa Townsend of Recruiter Magazine for the write up!

So on to lunch!

The rest of the day was spent in company of more friends made via a various social media platforms and what a good advert it was too for the power of connections via people you already know, especially Marianne

Louise Triance, a big supporter of The FIRM and very near neighbour of mine in rural England writes a great newsletter and blog, UKRecruiter, had arranged a social networking gathering for the early evening kicking off at 6.30pm in Holborn, London. With the help of some very generous sponsors this get together, which also had a #recnet Twitter hashtag associated with it was both very enjoyable and very successful. After some introductory comments from Lou, Stephen O’Donnell talked for 5 minutes about the NORA’s and announced that they are now able to accept nominations for this years awards and was followed by Fiona Lander of Lander Associates who talked for a few minutes about motivation.

Whilst I thought I was going to one of the few corporate recruiters amongst a majority of agencies I was very pleasantly surprised by their absence or their good sense at avoiding me!

There were at least 60 people in the small room so as you can imagine the noise level was quite high and as with most of these events people initially gravitate towards people they know. To overcome this Louise came up with the fantastic idea of Speed Networking. Facilitated on the night by Oliver Barrett, we were all asked to find someone we had not met before and then talk to each other for 3 minutes, after which time Oli blew a whistle and we moved on. Great idea and a real ice breaker. Needless to say the usual suspects where there; Matt Alder, Mervyn Dinnen, Gareth Jones, Emma Mirrington, Andy Headworth, Alan Whitford, Simon Lewis, Keith Robinson, Jeremy Snell and was I pleased to meet up with people I didn’t expect to be there, namely Carline Winder of 33, always a pleasure seeing her. On top of that there were two people with whom I had being tweeting for some time, @TheSourceress,(Katherine Robinson), and Wendy Jacob a real pleasure to finally meet two really terrific people. I even got to meet the real @RecruitingDad but my lips are sealed! Then there were all the newbies; @HeatherTravisUK, @sambluesky (Sam Woodwood) and Wendy Cowell of JobServe, thank you all for your conversations and your polite attentiveness – I know I can prattle on!!

A great evening, well organised and well supported, congratulations Louise and thank you!

One of the advance plans for the day was for four of us plus two initiates to slip off for a curry at the wonderful Masala Zone in Covent Garden, however 9pm came and went and tiredness was the decider, so excuses were made and departed to catch the train. As it was I was with Louise and we got to Paddington in time for the slightly delayed train to Reading and the final leg of our journey by car. Despite the fact we were shaking with tiredness we didn’t stop talking all the way home – fantastic day! Finally I got home just before 11pm very tired but buzzing from an awesome day.

Good to meet those I did for the first time, good to see you again for people already well met, I look forward to seeing you all again. Thanks for reading.

End-to-End Recruitment Lifecycle Management – Brand Protection

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In the last posting End-to-End Recruitment Lifecycle Management – Brand Promotion I acknowledged that it was the responsibility of the corporate marketing and PR depts. to promote the corporate brand and also suggested that as Recruiters we have an equal responsibility for doing so. To take it a step further we can promote the brand with as much gusto and enthusiasm but if we forget some of the basics and lose focus we will fail to protect the brand. Some may even goes as far as severely damaging the corporate image and in some cases damning themselves and their company to infamy or worse. Good examples of this could include Gerald Ratner, who in 1991 openly said that the products his jewellery store chain sold were crap! and thus coined the phrase “doing a Ratner” and more recently, a story more closely related to recruiting first reported in the Daily Mail of Mr Karl Winn, boss of a web design company who I referred to previously Recruiters Brand Protection – shameful.

What have these two gentlemen in common? For starters they were probably both successful in promoting the products and services of their respective companies, and for generating different degrees of success. Secondly they both lost the focus of who they are and how they are responsible for continued protection of the corporate image and brand. They both forgot that what they say and do can and will have ramifications. Whilst Ratner’s mistake was meant in jest it still had a disastrous affect on him personally and on the company he founded and grew. As for Winn – well the less said about him the better, eh?

As professional Recruiters we too have a responsibility for ensuring that the employer image we and our colleagues have striven to create is protected. There are many reasons for this, reasons we don’t all think of all of the time, however we need to be mindful that what we say or do – or what we don’t say or don’t do – how we say things and do things can cost your employer money. One thing to be aware of, you cannot create a brand; your customers, your market does that for you, but you can protect it.

I’d like to use the FMCG or Consumer market to provide one example of what I mean. Picture the company has spent millions of dollars developing, launching, marketing and supporting a product that when used is a global market leader, whether it be a washing power, a computer product, a confectionary item or a soft drink. Then think of all of the people, candidates, you speak with on a daily basis and how anyone of them could be a consumer of your company’s product and what decisions they may make based on their interaction with you and your team members.

It all comes down to candidate experience. Each candidate who applies and is considered needs to be made to feel unique by the in-house recruiters and by any agency staff engaged in the process. This all comes down to the levels, timeliness and quality of communications between all parties, how much information is given, how much assistance is given and how much time is spent with them. One objective I speak about a lot is the fact that we need to ensure that every candidate who comes through our process leaves at the end of their journey with a positive feeling about my company, regardless of the result and their success in securing employment with you. We aim to ensure that they will speak highly of us and reapply for another role at another time because they had a good feeling by us.

A word to the wise here – Don’t forget it is our job to process applications and fill Reqs, but please don’t forget that a job application and the prospect of the job with your company could have a significant impact on the life of a candidate, for all kinds of reasons, especially in today’s economic climate. Put yourself in their shoes.

Take the candidate experience into the reference to the FMCG or Consumer Market above and think how a candidate who has been poorly managed and becomes dissatisfied and frustrated by how the application process has gone. It is human nature to associate one experience with another and to generalise. Thus it is not too much of a leap to think that if a candidate has had a poor experience when applying for a job with you he or she may very well have or create a similar opinion about your products. Not only that they are likely to tell their friends and word will get around. It won’t go far in a market context but give enough candidates poor experiences and a reputation can very easily be created. Not only are you likely to alienate some people and put them off applying for jobs with your company but they may chose not to use your products. Don’t forget people are fickle and perception is everything.

As recruiters we can’t do much about the quality or flavour of a soft drink or the performance of a software product, but we can influence the perception of a large portion of the market with our professionalism and by the attention we give to them during a job application process. Our goal is to give someone such a strong and favourable experience that if we are able to offer them a job they will be hungry to accept. If on the other hand we cannot offer them a job we would like to have done such a good job with as much sensitivity as possible, that they will feel confident that they can apply again in the future or at least refer a friend to us.

Simple tips:

• Be honest – do not over sell but feel free to impress
• When telephoning, discuss what they want to do, what they want to achieve, make it about them
• Confirm everything in writing, preferable by email rather than IM or Twitter DM etc
• Provide thorough detailed job descriptions
• Set accurate expectations and with regard to the process and the timelines
• Be clear with interview arrangements and confirm in writing, with a map and directions
• Don’t hide behind the anonymity of your ATS front-end
• Be available to answer any questions they may have in follow up
• Provide details of interviews structure, who interviewers are and their functions
• Follow up for feedback – but make it about them, their opinions, concerns and questions
• Give them feedback
• Be polite at all times
• SMILE! It does come across over the phone I promise you

• PUT THE CANDIDATE FIRST!

Sorry it is a bit 101 but I know from many candidates, as well as from reading concerns and complaints many have with their application process and experience, that many of us don’t adhere to basic principals all of the time. There is so much more that you can do and possibly should do. There is much that you will think cant be done for one reason or another, but don’t forget that even as professional recruiters we have all been candidates at some point and chances are we will be so again. How you like would to be treated and what would impress you?