Article by Rupert Sellers
Unfortunately most candidates don’t fall in love with your brand …at first sight at least
Having handled recruitment for 14 years I have seen so many cases where both employer and candidate lack empathy towards each other. Too many employers expect candidates to immediately love their brand. And too many candidates expect employers to immediately love them!
Here are two actual examples that have happened in the last three months:
The employer’s misjudgment
The employer couldn’t understand why one of his candidates couldn’t find availability during the working day to meet him. The employer’s attitude was: “Well, if she can’t find the time to meet me tomorrow, she’s obviously not interested in the job.” That was not the case at all. The candidate just happened to be extremely busy at work and as a committed and loyal employee wouldn’t dream of dropping everything so that she could go for an interview within 24 hours.
A great candidate falls at the first hurdle
‘John’ (not his actual name) has an excellent career track record and he currently works for a very reputable company. Having been in his current role for over three years, he was approached for a new job opportunity. John went to the first interview and started answering questions confidently, but soon became more interested in asking questions that related to his own requirements – and had little to do with the needs of the job. There were lots of smiles at the end of the interview and John was sure he would progress through the interview process and be offered the job. The next day John was given the news that the employer was not going to pursue his candidacy further. John couldn’t believe he had been rejected.
As a third party, I can see the dilemma in each case. In the first scenario, the employer is very proud of his company brand and takes the attitude that it should be an honour for someone to work for his company. Unfortunately most candidates, particularly GenY / Millennials, see things very differently and are thinking: “What’s in it for me to work for that company?”
In the second scenario, John – who is very capable and should be highly employable – had the wrong attitude and approach. He felt it would be a no-brainer for the employer to hire him. He failed the interview because he was only interested in finding out what the employer could provide him and never demonstrated what he could contribute to the employer. Furthermore the employer considered John as arrogant and unlikeable; traits that John doesn’t actually have in his current job.
As with any good relationship, it’s about ‘give’ and ‘take’. Empathy and understanding of each other’s situation is crucial and if played right can lead to a ‘love affair’ (ie successful hiring) – and more importantly a long term partnership (ie employee engagement).