You may not all have noticed it, but the world of recruitment has changed. This is no longer an environment in which the employer holds all the cards. It is much more of a meeting of equals where the employee has as many choices and opportunities as he or she has ever had.
We have probably all read the headlines that staff turnover is rocketing - but this is not my subject this week – rather the holes that appear in your recruitment process. So I want to talk about the waste that occurs during the recruitment process, because it is here that retention starts.
And to cope, many of you need a change of mindset. In this new world of less deference, more equals, the recruitment process is (and don’t take this too literally) more like a romance than a master-servant relationship.
Here you have two sides who might like to get together for a while. They need to know more about each other first, but can be put off by the slightest thing, very often something that just does not seem important to the other side.
So he promises to call or email her about next weekend. Sadly he doesn’t until Thursday night - rearrange everything or forget him, which doesn’t go down too well. Or she does the same but he has been waiting by the phone 24/7, it sends out the wrong message about commitment, caring, etc.
Just like a manager, who has ignored his recruitment process, suddenly wakes up and invites everyone in for tomorrow. Even worse, those unavailable are then excluded for nothing more than being busy, or not wanting to let their current employer down. Not a great way of filling a shortlist, and not a great message from the company.
So the first plea is this; recognise that the best are probably going to be busy and allow them to plan ahead by planning yourself. Those really wanting the job are also keen to hear about it as soon as they can – just like our courting couples. Put them out of their misery or include them at the earliest opportunity.
My second bug bear is offer letters. We reckon around 35% of job offers to our candidates are turned down. There are a variety of reasons, but probably 15% are preventable. It was down to that offer letter – it was either too late – how difficult can it be for most well organized companies to raise one within 48 hours? Or it was too badly worded, or it offended in some way, or it was unfair or even illegal in its demands.
Illegal? Perhaps not, but maybe they are unenforceable – like asking people to “voluntarily” opt out of the Working Time Directive as a condition of the offer. It is difficult to argue that this is voluntary, and probably cannot be enforced.
Offensive? One client always stated that holding a driving licence was a condition of employment. Understood by all, I think. He did not then have to point out that losing a licence would result in instant dismissal – no celebratory drink for getting the job then. Rather a constant worry that your drink might be spiked by a jealous colleague.
Another classic– a contractual obligation to pay back the costs of recruitment (yes, including my fee) if the candidate left in the first year. Nothing like starting on a positive – from the day you join, there are 2 or 3 or even 4,000 good reasons why you are not going anywhere. I have seen it several times.
Or letters that are just plain unintelligible. Often drawn up by company lawyers they are soul-less and dry statements of terms, rather than an enthusiastic welcome to the business. They are a series of statements rather than any great expression of pleasure, expectation or imminent career opportunity.
This is your last chance to impress. Candidates are always nervous about moving; poorly drafted, uninspiring messages from the new employer really do not help. As you would understand if you had changed your mindset.
A whirlwind romance it may have been – but a badly worded pre-nup is enough to put anyone off. Don’t do it.