I have been very fortunate to participate in two vitally important events over the last few weeks centred on customer service and candidate engagement. One was an industry event, led by Brett Iredale, CEO of industry software practice management giant Jobadder. Iredale spoke about how we as an industry interact with candidates – particularly how those who do not get a role are treated, often without much dignity or respect in the process. In an age where automatically generated email replies are becoming the norm, a lot in our industry still aren’t responding to applications let alone providing the opportunity for follow up in relation to why they didn’t get selected. This got me thinking, are we as recruiters failing to engage positively with our talent pool? Industry leader Greg Savage likens advertising for a role to inviting 100 people to a party, with only enough room in the house for three and it’s raining outside. Iredale explained applicants who didn’t get a role but had a pleasant experience through the process would still have a positive view of the organisation they dealt with. He said many organisations did not realise how much damage they were doing to their brand by not having clear and timely communication with those candidates who did not progress through an interview process.

The second event I attended was the inaugural Customer Journey Mapping Masterclass, run by our friends from Customer Frame. This had a wow factor about it. As Customer Frame’s ‘superheroes’ Peter Turner and Sueanne Carr put it, while the customer owns their journey, the company has control over the experience while they are on that journey. This seems obvious but made me realise how important it is to consider every touch point we have with clients, candidates and even our staff. By getting all these interactions consistent, we can ensure both our internal and external engagement remains positive and our reputation is enhanced. There is a lot of talk within the LinkedIn community about the customer/candidate impact piece and there are some great tips here.

These two workshops have prompted our team at Carroll Consulting to see what we can do to improve. I personally have been on the receiving end of a change to customer service that is causing me to think about my experience. I have been using a workshop and service operation to maintain my car for more than 20 years. The two owners specialise in my marque of car and I am used to speaking to them directly when I go in, and they usually answer the phone if I call. Over the last couple of years, they have grown the business and have more customer service people ‘out the front’. This is fine, except now I do not get the personal engagement or chance to speak to the owners when I go in. When I ring, despite my long history with this business, I must explain what I want to talk about or leave a message. I understand people need to get leverage but feel I have lost the personal contact and engagement I used to have. So, if I feel this way, how must a senior person feel when they have put an enormous effort into producing a tailored resume and cover letter for a role to not even get a response when he or she feels they were perfect for the position?

The ability to engage well with stakeholders and build relationships is vital for all businesses. Quite often we deal with owners who have built a business through their ability to engage and passionately tell them a story. As the business matures and grows, they don’t always spend as much time articulating the ‘story’ or narrative to people inside the business. This passion is often the reason they became successful – but they then fail to pass on this knowledge, particularly with internal stakeholders who are meant to be their strongest ambassadors. The same applies for those responsible for an organisation’s recruitment, interview and feedback process. The way you engage with your applicants presents an opportunity to build your brand and reinforce your positive company narrative through the respectful way you conduct yourself.

The things that have been reinforced with me are:
– Communicate in a timely manner even if there hasn’t been a lot progress on an assignment
– Provide the opportunity for personal contact if necessary.

Unfortunately, everyone seems to have a bad recruitment story. I would like to think we at Carroll Consulting do the communication piece fairly well, but I am sure we can and will continue to improve.

Happy recruiting!
Ian Hamilton

Photo by adriaticfoto on Shutterstock