Your Customer Service and Public Relations Department’s ‘Trojan Horse’
Prasanth is an out of work Product Manager. He has a Computer Science degree from a state school that is not a top 20. Even though he got a 4.0 GPA while working full time at a local tech company, he is still discounted among the elite companies in the space. He has tried his hand at startups and found that he is more of a big company guy. The only problem is big companies don’t want to hire him. It’s a combination of being out of work for such a long time, his degree not high leveled enough, and found to be a little bit OCD.
He finally scores an interview with a top 10 tech company. He arrives for his three part interview, only to be asked to leave after the first part. Feeling jaded, he stops by his local Starbucks and starts tweeting while sipping his coffee to hopefully cheer himself up. Who is he tweeting to? He is tweeting to his friends inside the company that just booted him out. He is tweeting to other colleagues holding an offer letter between that company and a hot new startup. He is tweeting to his professors, who take it personally that the company does not think his curriculum is up to speed, resulting in educating his students to not waste their time interning at this company. He is also tweeting to his blogger friends, involved in writing an interesting section on how companies treat employees, future candidates, and people in general.
It sounds like he tweeted hundreds, and in effect, tens of thousands of people. While this is true, the main concept to recognize is that it took only one single tweet to reach this audience. When we live in a society where the most obscure dude living in his mom’s basement can create a social media nightmare for a company, imagine what an educated and networked candidate can do!
Recruiting departments are the un-checked customer service juggernaut. Too often they are guilty of dismissing candidates with poorly written and non-human form letters during the interview process, or even 10 minutes after the first initiated call. Staffing firms are not resourced enough to handle that kind of scale; in 2012 and beyond they will have to be for greater success.
Let’s make a test case for one single search. Your company hiring manager needs a new Software Engineer. So you post online, internally, and have your internal recruiting team start working on it. After a few weeks, the hiring manager is still not finding that perfect candidate. So the recruiting team sends it out to a couple of search firms. Within a couple days, solid candidates are put into process, and the interview process begins. About a dozen candidates are phone screened, and as the process shrinks to the field, to three candidates that are brought onsite. One candidate is made an offer while the other two are kept in the dark until the recruiter knows the choice candidate accepts for sure, then the other 2 are released by getting sent a form letter.
To hire one new candidate, your company had to tell approximately 100 candidates ‘No’. Considering we are living in the first wave of gold spray painted plastic trophy toasting, super hero, rock star generation, my educated guess is you now have 100 customers that will likely not shop with you again.
Luckily, most people will not accept this denial and keep trying two or three other attempts, in vain, to get hired at your company.
I am not suggesting you hire them all. I am suggesting you treat them throughout the process like a real human that you will have to speak to the next day ,or better yet, want to sell something too the next day. Treat them as if it was your mother being referred to the company. Coddle? Yes man, I am saying to coddle!