Recruitment operations: The common issues.
You often hear people complaining about recruiters and recruitment. HR departments, outsourced recruitment functions, and agencies are used to a series of common ‘moans’. Emails disappearing into black holes, candidates’ questions not being answered, people holding out on decisions or cancelling roles.
As you might imagine, this reputation is not indicative of Lean or Operations Excellence thinking.
What if these people were your customers?
Would you ignore their emails and queries, not tell them if you were shipping their product, or just cancel a product line without telling them?
Of course, you wouldn’t. Because that would destroy your brand and business.
Well, they are your customers.
When you look at recruitment, the ‘customer’ is often deemed to be the client paying the fees, or the internal department which you are recruiting for. Which is of course correct. However, every single candidate that applies for your business is also a customer of yours – always metaphorically, sometimes literally.
For every thirty candidates that apply to OEE Consulting, only one is successful. At each stage of the process we could ignore those who don’t make it through, but we choose not to. We make sure we are courteous, we respond promptly, and where appropriate we provide feedback.
Apart from simply being good manners, we want people to advocate for us, not militate against.
If we dealt with a candidate badly, and they ended up in a leadership role where they were selecting a consulting partner – guess who may not make the tender list? We realise that these scenarios don’t often occur, but given the opportunity wouldn’t you rather people had a good brand experience, rather than a terrible one?
Put yourself in the candidate’s shoes. Aim for a brilliant employee at best, and a brand advocate at worst.
Start with the candidate journey.
Make the process easy to understand, and intuitive, and don’t waste their valuable time. That doesn’t mean you can make it a difficult, selective process – but it does mean you should make it simple to navigate and clear to understand.
Consider the whole process.
Remember the candidate journey doesn’t start when their CV lands in your inbox. Think holistically – consider the end-to-end process. It starts when the candidate decides they are looking for a new role and crucially – it doesn’t end until they have completed their probationary period.
Be flexible, and use different channels – online application processes, out-of-hours interviews using Skype, etc. Remember these only work if they are joined up as part of the overall process.
Don’t forget your basic operations management. Planning, improvement, and coaching are all vital parts of any process – and as this is a process revolving solely around people, it is either brand damaging or brand enhancing.
Avoid failure demand.
Make sure your recruitment team is truly adding value. Rework or ‘failure demand’ can make people look busy, but you’ll soon work out if they are spending time correcting mistakes from earlier in the process. Work out why this is, and keep the staff focused on the value chain.
As in any process, capacity and demand will fluctuate – so they need to be managed. Understanding daily, weekly and monthly patterns can enable managers to achieve exacting service standards at the lowest possible cost.
Don’t forget that people are the most important part of your business. They are your employees, they are your customers, they are influencers, and they are advocates. Treat them well, and treat them fairly.
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