Talk about first impressions! Managers responsible for recruiting new employees have a significant impact on both the employer brand and their organization’s overall brand.
Here are two examples of how an ineffective recruiting experience – described by a potential candidate looking for work in the nonprofit sector – resulted in a negative brand impression. [Note: I’ve heard similar job applicant horror stories in the for-profit sector as well. ]
Example #1. “I had a telephone interview for a grant writer position in an arts-related organization. It was clear during the interview that the supervisor had no interviewing skills — she did not seem to know what she wanted to ask, nor could she process my responses. She was very busy concentrating on what to say next rather than evaluating my answers. Mid-way through the interview she sighed with exasperation and said she had no idea how to talk with me because I was not ‘part of the art world.’ At the conclusion of the interview the HR person asked if I would be available for an onsite interview, and I said yes. I never heard from them again.”
Example #2. “In my experience with another organization, the telephone interview was a fiasco. Three people on a speaker phone interviewed me; I could barely hear one of them and was never quite sure who was speaking. The first question asked why I had applied for the position. My response addressed the unique combination of duties, appeal of the variety of work involved, etc. When I finished my response they told me they were no longer certain that the position would be structured as posted. They then asked a series of narrowly focused questions that indicated very clearly that they had not read my resume or that they were incapable of shaping the questions to elicit additional information. At the conclusion of the interview, the convener told me that additional interviews were being scheduled the following week and that he would be in touch ‘either way.’ Two months passed and I received an email from him saying they had decided to put the position on hold while they reviewed and possibly revised the position’s responsibilities.”
Bottom line brand impact
The job candidate had previously worked in HR. Here’s what she had to say about her experiences with the two organizations that interviewed her:
“As a former HR and management professional, I am appalled at the ridiculous turn the interview process has apparently taken. I am struck dumb by how little regard or understanding these folks have of their role as brand slayers. They seem completely unaware of the fact that an interview is not a one-way street. While they are asking questions and making some attempt to assess the applicant, the applicant is gaining a great deal of insight into the nature of the organization and the people who inhabit it! My respect for these organizations is diminished, my interest in supporting them in any way is erased, and my new and distinctly negative view of their capacity is going to be a topic of conversation for some time to come.”
Do the people who recruit and interview potential employees for your organization understand how their actions affect perceptions of your employer and external brand?