5 simple ways to make recruitment better

I’m a supporter of the Good Recruitment Campaign and will often help out my friends at the Recruitment & Employment Confederation by going and speaking on the value of good recruitment. I do it simply because I believe it matters.

I wouldn’t mind betting that all of us have been through a recruitment process that completely sucks. And yet, we don’t do enough as professionals to strive to improve the overall quality of the recruitment experience.

When I call this out, the pushback I hear is, “I don’t have the time” or “I don’t have the resource”. Which frankly is just a pitiful excuse for inaction.

Here’s five things you can do tomorrow that don’t take any time or resource but make a hell of a difference;

  1. Commit to a timeline – tell candidates how the process will work, when you’ll communicate to them and stick to your commitments.
  2. Set the standards – be clear what you’re looking for, how candidates will be assessed and what success looks like.
  3. Get personal – refer to candidates by name, not “candidate” or “sir/madam”. Remember they’re a human being with human emotions too!
  4. Give and receive – depending on how much effort you’re asking the candidate put in, give the same back when it comes to feedback. And don’t forget to ask what you could have done better too.
  5. Be realistic – about your requirements and what you can expect from candidates both in terms of their skills and experience and how much time they can put in to the process. After all, you’re not the only recruiter in town.

I know it sounds simple, but that’s because it is. Ask candidates and you’ll hear that time and time again these simple steps don’t happen. It wouldn’t take much for us to improve our overall performance, so why don’t we even try?

Government doesn’t make bad employers

Before the election I was asked to write a piece for HR Magazine laying out my dream policy. The sad fact is that whichever party had come to power the idea of providing free cheese and wine to HR Directors was never really going to get any traction. We can but dream. But, if you’re really interested, you can see the series of articles here.

Since the election, I’m hearing a lot of noise from left leaning, liberal, tree hugging, social media loving types, highlighting the risk to the world of work and employee rights from a right of centre government. And whilst it isn’t surprising (we all know the pantomime lines after all) it does seem to neglect the power that organisations have themselves to create good work and a good working environment.

There seems to be a perspective on organisations that “if you allow them to do it, then they will” which I find patronising and naïve in equal measure. The fact is, that lots of us work incredibly hard year in and year out to make work better AND make profit. That doesn’t mean that we always get it right and it doesn’t mean that there aren’t dodgy employers out there either.

The irony is that the same people who preach trusting employees in the workplace, reducing policies and procedures and placing the emphasis on adult to adult relationships seem to change their tune when it comes to CEOs and their relationship with Government. Employees should be treated like grown ups, but companies? Heaven forbid.

I’ve been involved in the Good Recruitment Campaign, a brilliant initiative from the Recruitment & Employment Confederation supported by many, many large employers who want to ensure high standards in recruitment. I’ve also been involved in the superb Learning to Work initiative from CIPD, which also has many, many high-profile businesses working to help reduce youth unemployment and connect the unemployed with opportunities in their businesses. These are just two, I could go on.

Beside these organised initiatives, there is also good practice going on in organisations up and down the country. Leadership and management teams that are trying to run their organisations well and responsibly and also provide shareholder return. After all, we all benefit from successful companies.

We have it in our power to be either good or bad employers, to treat people well or to treat them badly, to be supportive or attritional in our working relationships. No-one makes us do anything and ultimately we have the choice. The Government doesn’t have to set the agenda for HR, we can set it for ourselves. Instead of whinging and whining about matters beyond our control, let’s get back in to our businesses and make the argument for doing the right thing, regardless of who is or isn’t in power.