We're one of the only companies hiring in our area right now, and with the recent changes in the economy we're seeing a big increase in the number of resumes coming in. My recruiters are way past overwhelmed, and most are noting that candidate phone calls are becoming much more frequent and confrontational. Today a candidate actually followed one of my recruiters from our office to a restaurant and into the bathroom, refusing to leave until she read her resume. How can I help my recruiters cope with aggressive candidates while still delivering a great experience?
Dear Worn Out,
Ok, so I'm a big fan of candidate experience. Huge, actually. But I'm also a big fan of recruiter experience, and being stalked in a bathroom
is just plain creepy. No hire for you
, bucko. Have you considered giving your recruiters cans of compressed air
labeled "Candidate Be Gone" to use at will? Seriously, a healthy sense of humor may be the best coping skill for your team under these circumstances, and your leadership will make the difference between engagement and burnout in the ranks.
While we were building the Feedback Portal
at Improved Experience, we asked a lot (did I say a lot? I meant a boHUGEous
amount) of active job seekers about their experiences in job hunting. With resounding agreement, the most popular points of pain were:
1. The process is broken (87%);
2. No one talks to me (92%); and
3. I don't feel valued or respected (94%).
The obvious answer is to assign a candidate advocate
on your staff, right? But before you go there (and yes my friend, there are creative ways to squeeze short-term help out of your budget), take a moment to assess your situation carefully.
Engage your team in setting the standards of candidate experience.
If they're accountable for delivering service, they should have a say in what is reasonable and what is not. And most often in my experience, recruiters set the bar higher than I might. As the manager you make the final decision, but make the details of the service level agreement a collaborative discussion.
Engage your job seekers, too.
Preview and select a small panel of candidates to join your next team meeting (yes, really!), and query both their frustrations and
their suggestions for improvement. You'll learn a lot, and may find that some of their priorities are different from yours. Have you noticed how often stress is self-imposed? This of course leads to my last point:
Question your assumptions.
What is true in ordinary times is not defacto true in extraordinary times. Look at every candidate touch point. Aim for simplicity and fix the process, communicate clearly, and be respectful. And wherever you can, put a human face or voice on the front line. Your candidates will love you for it, and tell others about their great experience.
Survival doesn't go to the fittest, it goes to the most adaptable. If you can make it through this onslaught with a good reputation and a team that hasn't run screaming out the door, you'll have achieved something worth speaking about at a recruiting conference next year. Let me know how it turns out!
In my day job, I’m the Head of Products for Improved Experience, where we help employers use feedback to measure and manage competitive advantage in hiring and retention. Learn more about us here
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