“I want the truth” “You can’t handle the truth”

Talent Alienation v Talent Attraction

Now is the time to review and seriously consider how to stay ahead of the game when it comes to getting great talent into your business. It's essential to ensure that you are leading from the front and critically enabling great talent to access your business and make an introduction. Surprisingly many organisations appear to have become extremely adept at making it as difficult as possible. Change your organisations mind-set and begin to switch to Talent Attraction as opposed to Talent Alienation.

Here is how:


Let me suggest a little role play exercise. Imagine for a moment that you are an applicant who has a life-long dream to work for your organisation. After sitting tight for the last 5-6 years in your current role, acquiring the skills and expertise needed to move upwards and onward now is the perfect time to see what is available. You've gazed from afar at the perfect organisation for your next move, your organisation. Now test how easy it is to actually identify where and what the potential vacancies are and then to apply? See how difficult it is and how time consuming it can be. See what the response time is if any, and what the quality of that response is?


Now go to your closest competitor and do the same. Is their application process easier, more engaging and / or more rewarding?


Recently I conducted a very straight forward review of a medium sized but very attractive fast growing technology company on their recruitment strategy including how they sourced and the actual application process. It was startling. Very quickly it became apparent that this company had actually gone out its way to ensure that the whole process was difficult, frustrating and almost inexplicably distanced from any kind of human identity. Through a period of 3 years they had effectively installed a whole series of barriers to entry. It was almost as though in a bid to minimise the white noise of incorrect or inappropriate applications they had given no thought whatsoever to all the really good ones. This makes absolutely no sense to me, it is like using an industrial rock crusher to find a diamond.


I actually spoke to some of this company’s most recent hires to ascertain what their individual experience had been like. Vinesh had applied directly to the organisation for the same job through 8 different job boards over a period of 3 weeks and had never once received a response. None of the application options provided him any specific name or direct contact option. He was basically applying in the dark. He may as well have thrown a paper dart into Outer Space for all the good it did.


He finally got an interview through a recruiter who proposed him directly to the CTO of the business. He started 6 weeks later. But whilst he was applying for their jobs he was also applying for similar jobs with their competitors. Luckily some savvy recruiter cut through the barbed wire and opened the gate. My kind of recruiter indeed.


Another far more senior employee, a qualified accountant called Jackie had applied for the same job 3 times via 3 different recruitment companies without realising it was the same job. Only one of which explained to her who the organisation was, what the culture was like, the strategic vision (including a clear IPO strategy being prepared for 2018) and provided her with an insight on the key relationships aligned to this role. Jackie was lucky. She was actually delighted and impressed to spend over an hour with this recruiter in person over coffee. Jackie got the job but not through her preferred choice of recruiter who unfortunately was too slow to send her CV forward because he wanted to meet her first. Imagine that? A recruiter was sloppy enough to actually want to meet, interview and prepare his candidate before he submitted them for consideration? Seriously just pause for a second and imagine being that recruitment consultant?


Shouldn't the actions of that recruiter be standard wherever possible? Shouldn’t every candidate presented to you have been thoroughly briefed specifically for that role with supporting evidence to demonstrate this critical part of the process has been completed? How can the alternative process, no interview and no preparation or selection process be preferable to a hiring organisation? What kind of organisation literally just accepts CV's of prospective candidates who don't even know who is actually doing the hiring? The truth is, many do. This probably explains why there are so many no shows for interviews, inappropriate candidates interviewed and prospective new hires lost at offer stage. The candidates have basically been railroaded through the process in a hurry hurry style manner, because in recruitment of this nature he who hesitates is lost. There are no short-cuts to great recruitment, so why do we actively enable and even encourage it?


Jackie went on to explain that the recruiter who interviewed her was so animated and enthused about the organisation that you could almost believe that they worked directly for them as an employee. He described every key member of staff as he if he knew them personally right down to the fact that the Group Finance Director was an Aston Villa fan and had a penchant for tropical fish. She had decided she was joining this firm before she'd even met them. Isn’t that the holy grail of a recruiter / client relationship? Scant reward that recruiter got for his enthusiasm and professionalism, although Jackie and the business intend to address this scenario positively in the coming months.


I'm not bashing anyone here. All I am saying is that whether you are a hiring manager, work within HR or an In-house Recruiter just take 30 minutes once a month. Pretend to be a candidate who really wants to work for your company. From scratch knowing nothing see how easy, how gratifying and rewarding it is to try and identify and apply for a job with your organisation.


You could be even more diligent and pretend to be a mystery candidate and apply for one of your vacancies through one of your PSL recruiters? But that may just be a little too scary for most of you. I suspect many of you would be absolutely appalled at the lack of actual professionalism you met. I think many of you would actually physically gasp at the lack of real screening, interviewing and preparation you received. But then you need to balance any findings with a comparison of how you as a business have set up your recruiters to work for you? Very often recruiters are limited or influenced in the way they work by the constraints placed upon them by their actual customers. Are you inadvertently working against your recruiters, are you handcuffing them? If so, try and change it.


The best of luck if you are one of those companies who really offer prospective job seekers an engaging and rewarding experience, there are many of you. But for the rest of you as the War on Talent picks up momentum you may find that Talent Alienation creates a Talent Attraction Conundrum which can have far reaching consequences.


I'd love to hear your own experiences as a candidate or a client user in the comments.



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