How Is Transparency Changing the Role of Culture?

In the past, when graduates were fresh out of college and just starting to start their careers the extent of their company culture knowledge was really word of mouth. You had to know someone personally.  Parental advice, coaching from an older sibling, and the old college career center were the primary sources of intel.  Graduates heard pointers on how to interview, what to wear, how to draft a resume and cover letter, etc. If you are going to work for Big Blue you’re going to invest in a collection of navy and gray suits.  Now, if you plan to work for Google, you’d better plan to ditch that tie.

There’s more to company culture than the dress code though, and today thanks to social media and sites like Glassdoor and LinkedIn graduates have an unprecedented peek behind the curtain to your company before you even meet them at a career fair or they submit an application to your ATS.  Candidates know they questions you’re going to ask, the compensation you’re planning to offer, the pros to working for you, and let’s not forget not to mention they know all of your dirty laundry from disgruntled employees and candidates of days past.

With all of this transparency I’d say there’s no point sugar-coating the bad points.  Candidates are going to find out.  And let’s face it we all have some cons to acknowledge.  It’s not all rainbows, sunshine, and ice cream parties out there or for those in Silicon Valley – it’s not all Friday keggers, bring your dog to work day, and nap rooms.  Candidates will respect the directness of an honest conversation of the pros and cons.  I stand by the idea that honesty is the best policy but that doesn’t solve all of your problems when you have a multitude of reqs that need to be filled yesterday.

And it will take more than just honesty to win over the best candidates.  It’s a fast paced world we work in, and recruiters face a lot of pressure to make sure you’re making the right hire.   You have to get that right person into the right seat on the bus.  You have to keep the best candidates engaged in their job search in a way that also allows you to determine which candidates would be the right fit for your organization’s culture and productivity.

This a challenge that we all face but lucky for you I have a couple of friends joining me next week for a special webinar ready to share some practical tips and some recent research to help you improve. I’ll be joined by Mr. HR Hardball himself, John Whitaker, along with Pamela Teagarden, Founder of Authentum, for More Science than Art: Quantifying the Role of Culture in Candidate... on June 25 at 2pm ET.   John and Pam will explain the central role recruiters play now as gatekeepers to the company culture and how to leverage the needs of your candidates with the needs of the organization.   I’ve been looking forward to this one for a while now.  Hope to see you there.



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Comment by Eric Putkonen on June 18, 2015 at 4:31pm

I am a big fan of Glassdoor.  I believe the transparency is a good thing.  Why do most companies insist on hiding their salaries?  If the pay is below average, it is best to fess up and sell other benefits of the job...then someone who is not so motivated by salary will apply.  If the company's salary is an issue for a candidate, they will self select out.  Instead we play this game of..."no, you tell me first."

I was talking to a fellow recruiter the other day and they said they had a position that would not pay a dime more than 55K...which was a bit low for the position.  Instead of mentioning this, the recruiter had a prescreening question in the ATS asking for current salary and she rejected anyone over 55K.  There were likely some very good candidates who might be making 60K who would take 55K or a contractor making 35/hr (and so would say 70K in the salary range bands) who would take 55K for a full-time job.  All this could have been easily solved if she listed a salary range.

But then all candidates then want the top end of the range - you might respond.  Well, if the position is paying is likely whomever has the skillset you want is looking for the top end.  And if you could get someone for 50K or know you are paying low, so it would be perhaps wiser to pay the 55K just so they are not poached by other companies offing more money.  If a candidate says they want 55K and you think they really are only worth 50K...then offer 50K...and just explain to the candidate that based on their experience and our needs we could not get approval to offer the absolute top end of the range to him or her.  Just talk with the candidate.

Long story short...I agree, Daniel.


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