Gone are the days of stringing job applicants along without repercussions. In today’s twittersphere, employers can quickly gain a reputation for being unresponsive, impersonal, boring, or insensitive.
Your reputation as a sought after employer begins long before employment. Employers who want their pick of the best talent need to protect their brand in the hiring process. Here are 3 common mistakes—and easy fixes—that you should consider so you don’t damage your brand as an employer.
(1) It starts with words: Flawed job listings. Just like a CV is an advertisement for whether or not you want to invest in a candidate, an employer’s job description is evidence for whether or not a candidate should invest in an employer. A poorly written job description is a terribly unconvincing advertisement that candidateS should trust their career, much less their work day, to that employer.
Some common job listing problems are:
Sloppy – A job listing filled with misspellings, missing words, contradictory information, or incoherent descriptions creates a negative first impression. If this company can’t even get itself organised for this job posting, what kind of a mess is it to work there? Make sure your posting is free from errors.
Stodgy – You have to be pretty desperate to apply for a job that sounds dull. And desperate candidates aren’t usually the finest candidates. Some job descriptions sound mind-numbingly boring and uninspiring. Sometimes companies in job listings sound colorless and uninteresting. Make sure there’s energy and positivity in your job posting so that you can attract job candidates with energy and positivity.
Cheesy – Conversely, some companies try too hard in an effort not to appear dull and their attempts to seem zany and fun just seem bizarre and undesirable. So add some interest to your job listing, but if you’re going to get wacky, you may do more damage than good. There needs to be some level of professionalism maintained or you may only attract candidates with zero professionalism.
Corporate-speak –The key takeaway of this best practice is that at the end of the day, you need the bandwidth to benchmark some win-win metrics for onboarding and…blah blah blah….
You know what I mean. Don't do it. Sound like a human, not a corporate zombie.
Unenlightening – In other words, some listings are so bare on details that the candidate learns nothing and perhaps gains suspicion. Either the employer hasn’t figured out what it wants or there’s something unsavoury going on…
Easy fix: If you’re a small company without a lot of HR staff, hire a contract writer to produce literate, appealing job descriptions. If you’re at a large company with stodgy HR writers, influence them to insert some appeal into the job descriptions, so that you can attract the top tier candidates. Or offer to write the job description yourself, if you have the knack for it.
(2) Or no words: Silence. This is perhaps the most common and easily preventable mistake employers make: they don’t communicate. At all. Acting with arrogance as if they hold all the cards, some employers decide they will only contact candidates in which they have interest without ever making that clear in the job description. Think big picture about your employer brand. Because of the way you treat someone you don’t want to hire, you might lose out on other candidates you do want to hire because that other candidate is now trashing your brand to his highly-skilled friend or sister or some other great job candidate in the future.
Often, employers even greet promising candidates with silence. Maybe their funding is on again/off again. Perhaps the hiring manager or HR works very slowly. Maybe an internal candidate seemed like the answer…until she suddenly quit. Either way, silence shows disrespect for the job candidate and damages a potential employer’s brand. Silence is the path of least resistance. But make an effort. Communicate.
Easy Fix: Set up gracious, brief automated email responses to all candidates, whether to tell them they’re no longer under consideration or to ask for their patience whilst the hiring process is in a holding pattern.
(3) Problematic Interviewers – In this social media environment where a secret recording of a job interview could go viral, employers need to think carefully about who is representing their company.
Some potential problems to avoid:
The Loose Cannon – Many companies have a few employees that are tolerated because of their long tenure or valuable skills. But occasionally what comes of out their mouths is not fit for public consumption. The racy joke, the slightly misogynistic remark, the inappropriate comment from someone who colleagues consider a benign office fixture could destroy an employer brand when it spreads on social media. So think carefully about who is representing your company.
The One Always On a Bit of a Downer – Some office personalities tend to be more negative or depressing. They might even be hiring managers. So when this type of personality represents your company, he may depress the job candidate’s mood towards your company.
The Socially Awkward – Again, it is not terribly rare for socially awkward employees to be in leadership and in hiring. And if the potential candidate has other employment options, they often will make their decision based on the feel of the company and the interviews. An awkward interviewer can make you lose talented hires.
Easy Fix: The obvious solution is to simply exclude the problematic interviewers. But what if the problem is the actual hiring manager? While it wouldn’t make sense to exclude a hiring manager from her own staffing process, you can compensate for the problematic personality by ensuring that this individual is just one of many in the job interview process. Choose some personalities that are a great face to represent your company and have a group interview or a multi-step interview process. Have someone with a charming personality take the candidate out to lunch. Make sure someone who could provide a potential peer friendship is included on the interview roster. Fill the meetings with some positives to counterbalance this weak aspect.
Companies need to be protective of their employer brand and reputation because it will determine the caliber of talent they are able to hire and retain. Showing respect and consideration for all applicants throughout the hiring process will enable your company to gain and maintain a reputation as a great place to work.
Review Checklist of 3 Common Mistakes Employers Make During the Hiring Process
- Flawed job descriptions
- Problematic interviewers
For more great information about smart hiring practices and screens, contact Veremark at firstname.lastname@example.org