Are You Treating Your Recruits With Respect?

Julie Shenkman
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From hour-long waits to unprepared interviewers, nearly every job seeker has horror stories about rude recruiters. Over the years, employers have forgotten that recruitment is about attracting talented people, not alienating them. Many job seekers are abandoning this broken system and finding ways to succeed on their own terms. To get talent acquisition back on track, your recruitment team must be willing to start fresh and build a hiring process that works.

The Shrinking Talent Pool

Although there were 5.7 million unfilled U.S. jobs as of February 2017, workers are giving up on job hunting at higher rates than ever before. While the unemployment rate is declining, fewer people are participating in the labor force. In March 2017, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that 1.6 million job seekers stopped looking for work in the previous four weeks. Of that group, 460,000 were discouraged workers who gave up job hunting after failing to find available positions. The other 1.1 million moved on to pursue other options, such as higher education, self-employment or family obligations.

As a recruitment professional, you have to wonder why it's getting harder to find good hires in a growing workforce encompassing five generations. It's easy to blame candidates for lacking the right skills, but job seekers respond based to how well your team markets the company and job openings. If you continually achieve poor results, your recruitment process is failing and needs retooling to satisfy your hiring goals.

Making Recruitment Serve Your Goals

To fix recruitment, your HR team must be willing to research the flaws in your methods. Take advantage of review sites such as Glassdoor to find out what candidates are saying about your company. Consider whether you have a long, costly process, high turnover or a high rejection rate for job offers. Keep in mind, you're dealing with humans, not machines. Being treated well is just as important as getting hired, so job seekers may move on when you don't respect their time and skills. Even if they accept job offers out of desperation, unhappy recruits only stick around until they find better employers.

Start looking at your recruitment process from a job seeker's perspective, even if it means sending in a ringer to collect honest information. Get answers to these key questions:

1. Do you have a clear picture of what each job entails?
2. Are you using unbiased practices to find talent?
3. Do you dismiss candidates for superficial reasons or drive them away with unfriendly behavior?
4. Do you follow up and explain any delays throughout the hiring process?
5. Do you give candidates a final answer in a reasonable amount of time?

Your recruitment team can't always be open with job seekers about what's happening behind the scenes, but they can be considerate and respectful. Job seekers are people you could potentially work with, and you don't want to give them the impression your work environment is chaotic and uncaring.

Employers aren't customers, and they can't choose whatever "product" they want after letting it languish on the shelf. For successful talent acquisition, develop performance metrics to define what makes a good hire. Get feedback from job seekers who didn't get an offer. Once recruitment is over, job seekers may be more willing to discuss hiccups in your hiring process.

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