November 1, 2023 workforce podcast show notes
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Jamie begins the discussion with the topic of ghosting. Imagine leading recruiting teams for large organizations. Suddenly you find yourself laid-off. You’ve made progress in your job search, but suddenly you realize, nobody is calling you back. It feels as if you’re being ghosted.
If you’ve every applied for a job, it’s quite possible you’ve been ghosted. You took the time to go through the process. You did your best to avoid typos and grammatical errors. You submitted the information well within the posted application period. Nonetheless, you’re not getting any response. No acknowledgement of receipt. No “thank you will be in touch.” No “we’ve decided to go in a different direction.” No follow up letter/email of any type. Nada.
Molley shares her personal experience when stepping back into the job search. She wasn’t aware this actually happened in recruiting. It was a shock. She and Jamie discuss the importance of tracking the communication flow to ensure you’ve responded to each applicant, even if it’s to decline them. In the past, this was a tedious, manual process. Today, technology has changed that process and there’s no good reason for ghosting an applicant.
Molley comments about how important follow-up is, especially if you’ve had an actual interview with an applicant. At some point, it becomes about the personal brand of that recruiter, as much as about the brand of the company looking to hire.
Jamie talks about how some of her best hires were people who had previously applied but weren’t necessarily the best fit for that particular role. However, once a better opportunity came around, because she’d effectively handled the communication flow with that person, she was able to reach out and convince them to apply for the new opportunity.
The follow-up becomes even more important if the candidate has made it through several steps of the interview process. Remember, how you represent the company for which you are recruiting can have a significant effect on how that individual talks to family and friends about the company, especially if it was a poor experience.
The team discusses the importance of having a solid process in place. In File 2, Process was the focus of the entire episode. It can ensure you communicate and limit the chance that an applicant or candidate slips through cracks. A good process, especially when combined with the right software can help you to automate some of those communication activities, thus saving tremendous time and effort.
Molley transitions the discussion to zombies. Okay, well not exactly, but we’re sticking with a Halloween theme today. Zombies are the recruiters or HR professionals who only consider applications if all of the right boxes are checked. The system or process might eliminate a quality applicant, simply because he/she didn’t meet each one of the prerequisite qualifications. Often, those qualifications might be more boilerplate than actually relevant to the individual’s ability to excel in a particular roll. Unfortunately, the zombie recruiter will never get the chance to connect with that applicant.
Jamie also describes a colleague who was an extremely effective professional, but might not have made it past the initial screening process, because she had a degree in paralegal studies rather than a bachelor’s degree.
The Invisible Man or Woman
Jason introduces this spooky recruiting issue. This is an HR professional who is not performing internal talent reviews. Recruiting is a time-intensive and costly process. It’s quite possible the ideal candidate would have been an internal hire, had there been an internal talent review to identify this individual. It’s scary to think of the time, effort and money wasted by not looking at your own bench before deciding to pursue an external hire.
Molley asks who’s actually responsible? Is it the HR professional or the internal candidate? Jason makes a good point that if the internal individual doesn’t know the job is posted, how could he/she apply?
It’s important to make sure you have a process in place to identify and cultivate successful, internal candidates, who are actually interested in pursuing a new role. Jason describes managers as gardeners. They’re growing and developing their teams, but the recruiter may not be as familiar with the internal talent. Again, effective communication flow is critical to optimizing the recruiting and hiring process.
Jamie advises recruiters to have this conversation during the intake process. Ask the hiring manager, during the initial discussion, their current team or individuals in other departments. There might be quality candidates who should be involved.
This refers to an amalgamation of a number of factors. Recruiters may be looking for culture-fit, but forcing a fit may actually create a monster. Subjective decision-making introduces bias. Trying to convince someone they are a good fit, or rejecting someone because you don’t think they’re a good fit may result in negative consequences.
Jamie and Molley share that sometimes the culture needs to be adapted or changed. Often a talented individual may be able to evolve the team’s culture, while also excelling in the role regardless if his/her perceived “fit” with the existing culture. Why miss out on a great candidate because of a bias?
Molley describes an “interesting” question a CEO used to use in his interviews with prospective clients. It may not have yielded the desired result. She comments that while sometimes there are reasons for “riding the wave” when it comes to assuming a new role, more often than not, it can be risky if the process isn’t managed properly. This can lead to failure rather than an optimal result for both the new hire and the company and/or department.
This refers to the person who sucks the life out of you at work, rather than enabling you to maintain your excitement and engagement in the work you are performing. Jason observes that the vampire may have originally been a Frankenstein (i.e. forced into a culture fit scenario) and now he/she is in a position in which the rest of the team is suffering because of it.
Jamie describes another vampire, but from a different perspective. This is the high-performer who’s meeting or surpassing the KPIs, but leaving bodies in their wake. They’re abusing their administrative support and others. People might imagine aggressive sales people fitting into this mold. While the individual continues to earn accolades, bonuses and other recognition for performance, the damage to the organization can be tremendous.
Solutions for Dealing with Spooky Recruiting Issues
Ghosts: Make sure you’re properly staffed so you have the time and processes to effectively communicate with your applicants and candidates. Automation can be your friend.
Zombies: Jamie mentions this was addressed in a previous episode. As a recruiter, you really need to know and understand the job for which you are recruiting. Understand what really matters and what really drives results. As you’re interviewing if you spot a potential gap or deficit, ask questions to see if the applicant/candidate may have made up of this perceived gap/deficit in another way. Again, it’s never about just checking the boxes. Engage!
Molley observes that when the job market is tighter, recruiters may have the opportunity to look more closely at prospective candidates. As part of that, Jamie recommends reviewing your “knockout” questions to ensure your system isn’t rejecting individuals who may actually be able to perform and/or excel in the role, based on a few broadly brushed parameters. Bias can have a role in the zombie approach. The recruiter needs to be on guard and self-aware during the vetting process.
Invisible Man/Woman: Jason suggests having a good process developed to identify viable internal candidates can be a solution to dealing with this issue. Remember, you may have a talented individual already on your team who either hasn’t spoken up or doesn’t know about the new opportunity exists. The internal search process can save time and money.
Frankenstein: Stitching together a person to simply get a body in the role may seem the path of least resistance, but in the medium- to long-term, it can turn out to be a disaster for the organization. Molley makes the point that it’s important to review the job description before you set out to hire. The job description may not have been updated since the role was originally created, however, the actual tasks and responsibilities may have evolved. Fixing this upfront can definitely help avoid creating a Frankenstein.
Vampires: The group quickly urges managers to identify the vampires in your organization and get them out. The overall negative impact to the organization isn’t usually worth the damage the vampire is inflicting. Jamie recommends analyzing the rewards systems to ensure they’re not rewarding vampire behavior. More often than not, this is the case.
That’s where we’ll leave the conversation for today. Before we close the file, we invite you to reach out to us with questions, suggestions or other comments. We’d love to hear from you.
Need Help Supporting Your Company’s Recruiting and Staffing Goals?
We’re here to help. You can contact us via our individual websites, depending on your specific needs or questions:
- Jamie Swaim, SPHR – www.ParcelKnows.com
- Molley Ricketts – www.IncipioWorks.com
- Jason Heflin – www.CrowdSouth.com
We hope you found this file insightful and helpful. Thank you for listening!
By Jason Heflin
Jason Heflin is one of CrowdSouth’s owning Partners and brings years of marketing experience from his past lives as a corporate marketing manager, writer, and freelancer. He also plays the ukulele for fun, which is cool.