Do You Want Me as a Fan?

This is the second in a series of short posts looking at What I (a candidate) want from Recruitment. In the previous post (which you can read here) I suggested that there were some simple things that would make life better not only for the candidate but also the employer.

Those simple things were around including details of the overall process in your advertisement. Now let’s move on to the stage where I have applied for the role. What do I want?

The CIPD (the organisation that sets the professional standards for HR) suggest that when it comes to applicants the following should be a rule of thumb:

” Prompt acknowledgement of an application – whether successful or unsuccessful – is good practice and presents a positive image of the organisation.

In many ways there isn’t much to add there but let me just expand a little on the various aspects of what the CIPD recommend:

  1. As a candidate I want to know that you have received my application
  2. If I am not going to be invited to interview then I do want to know even if it’s just a short (personalised) rejection email. You want to leave me with a positive impression of your organisation don’t you?
  3. Don’t do what one large organisation did recently to me and reject me within less than 5 minutes
    1. Telling me that they had “carefully reviewed my CV against the criteria for the role.”
    2. What was really obvious from having worked with various types of ATS (Applicant Tracking Systems) was that they had set it to reject anyone who had put a previous or expected salary higher than they were prepared to pay – of course they had not advertised the salary!
    3. What a waste of time it was for me to have applied and was I left as a fan, advocate or ambassador for the organisation? I think you can probably guess the answer!
  4. If I am going to be invited to interview and you want me to do a presentation then please include the details. These should include the instructions for either getting the presentation to you or whether I can bring it with me on a Pen Drive. That saves a lot of unnecessary emails clarifying the details.

In the next post I will look at the Interview Experience from the Candidate’s perspective.

Have you had any experiences having applied for a role where the organisation could do better and what could they do better?

The Basics of A Recruitment Experience

I read an article the other day by David D’Souza entitled “What I Want from HR” (you can read it here) which set me thinking. As a current job seeker and with many connections who are looking for a new role I found myself pondering on what would constitute a good Recruitment experience from a candidate perspective.

As I thought about it, I came to realise that, actually there isn’t that much that is needed to elevate the average candidate experience to something better.

The Absolute Basics:

When I am recruiting I have a tendency to sit down with my diary and work out when things need to happen. I put together a mini project plan so that I can map things out against other priorities and put time into my diary. Admittedly things can happen that change the dates I put in my diary and I have to be flexible but I have a sense of when each of the main steps in the process will happen.

I am sure that I cannot be alone in taking a planned approach to recruitment or rather I sincerely hope that I am not.

Continue reading “The Basics of A Recruitment Experience”

Sector Experience Required! Are You Stifling Innovation?

Do you always need someone who has trodden the same path and climbed the exact same route if you are looking to be innovative, forward thinking and scale new heights as an organisation?

One of the things that I have noticed as I have been looking for a new role as a Learning & Development Manager is that many companies are insisting that you have experience in their specific sector. From my previous experience that has often been a requirement within what is termed the professional services sector (Legal, Accountancy etc) but it seems to have spread to many others as well.

I have seen a number of roles of late where the job specification has sounded really interesting and a good match against my skills, knowledge and abilities. Then tagged on the end of the specification is that phrase “Experience of XYZ sector essential.”

Do you take the risk and spend time applying for the role or do you accept that they have put in place an easy filter to exclude you from the pool of available people? It’s a difficult call because there are recruiters who will recognise that there are people from outside the specified sector who could bring a wealth of experience and new ideas to the role. The sort of people who could introduce innovative approaches to the organisation’s challenges gained from other sectors. But my perception is that all too often it is simply going to be a waste of time because you will be screened out because, as good as you are, you don’t have experience of the specific sector.

But let’s step back and think about what these organisations are saying about themselves when they specify that you must have experience of XYZ Sector. They are the same organisations which will often describe themselves as innovative, forward thinking and focused on developing talent. BUT only as long as you come from the sector that they are in!

So in fact what they are saying is that they aren’t really innovative and they don’t want the best talent available. They don’t want people to come in with new ideas, new ways of doing things, new approaches to the challenges that they face, what they want to do is play it safe. They want to bring someone in who has experience of doing what they do as an organisation but for another company. Yes there are benefits to playing it safe because the new person will take less time to become familiar with their organisation’s customers, clients etc. But is playing it safe really what it’s about when you are competing in an ever more challenging economy?

I have often encountered this disposition towards playing it safe when recruiting in fields like marketing and sales. But in Learning and Development? The profession that in so many ways is about innovating, creating change, approaching challenges in new ways and coming up with different ways of doing things does playing it safe really deliver?

I am sure it will come as no surprise for you to read that Learning & Development is about “learning” and “development.” Key to our roles as L&D Professionals is continually learning and using that learning to create change in different situations. It’s about being innovative, it’s about developing talent and maximising the talent that is available and if organisations are limiting themselves by insisting that you only know about a certain sector then there’s a lot of talent they are missing out on.

In my last role I had the opportunity to manage the delivery of learning solutions for a variety of situations from the delivery of the Census 2011 Helpline with 750 Advisors to regulated training in the debt advice environment. When I applied for a role recently that stipulated that candidates must have financial services sector experience the recruiting manager saw that I had the skill set if not the sector experience. They invited me for interview and we had a really good discussion based on my experience and how I could apply it and bring new ideas and approaches. So there are organisations which appreciate that skills are transferable across sectors but I think more could open their thinking and live up to their claims of being innovative, forward thinking and focused on talent. I will let you know if I get the role!