Recruiting, Karma and the Candidate Experience

Originally published on the Talent Technology Blog

We can talk about candidate experience all day (and do), but here’s the real reason why recruiters should care: as last in, first out when it comes to headcount, and as a pretty significant corporate cost center, you’re basically one bad business decision away from being a candidate yourself.

Just this past week, the Director of Talent Acquisition at major studio, who I’ve long admired for the job seeker advice and industry jobs newsletter he circulates every month, sent the most recent edition.

It was an unusual one, to say the least. There were no job postings or career advice tips. No sharing best practices or insider tips. Instead the news was, due to the whims of a faceless conglomerate headquartered a continent away, his position had been eliminated. His resume (and, coincidentally, his VisualCV) were attached, and any leads would be appreciated.

It happens just like that. And it’s happened to most of us in one way or another – either by choice or by cost cutting. It’s only a few feet to the other side of that desk, where we so often find ourselves, job search experts looking for a job. Which, I can attest from personal experience, is pretty hard to explain in an interview.

Recruiting is incumbent on having jobs to recruit for. The sluggish growth of the economy and associated headcounts, while nowhere near their nadir, still stagnates. In addition to the macroeconomic factors precipitating this professional instability are the twin trends of outsourcing (replacing the fixed costs and risks of employees with embedded RPO services) and offshoring (particularly if you’re in a high volume recruiting position that’s less sourcing than scriptable screening).

Furthermore, voluntary turnover in our industry is pretty high on the whole, probably because when you spend your entire day on job boards and LinkedIn, it’s pretty tempting to occasionally jump on over to the postings to see what else is out there.

Either way, as they say, karma’s a bitch. And that you’re eventually going to have to polish up that old resume is likely more of an inevitability than a contingency. And the talent leader who I spoke about earlier, one of the countless leaders at organizations doing the right thing that we never hear about because they’re too busy to blog but not too busy to help out, he’s already found another position.

Turns out the person who hired him was once a candidate for a position he was recruiting for – and while he didn’t get the job at the time, that candidate had settled in nicely to a new CHRO gig at one of their rivals across town – an introduction that the recruiter had facilitated, and the two of them had subsequently kept in touch. So, in the event, effectively communicating with a candidate beyond a simple e-mail paid pretty significant dividends.

Statistics and semantics aside, here’s the bottom line on candidate experience: do right by doing good. And making the job search process a little easier is just the right thing to do. The reasons, for recruiters at least, are simultaneously altruistic and self-serving. Which is pretty much a win-win situation, any way you look at it.

1 Comments on “Recruiting, Karma and the Candidate Experience”

  1. I know it’s a pain in the rear, and that looking for work can be a soul-destroying activity, but despite all that I really get a buzz from job interviews and the whole application process, especially sitting down with my CV and tweaking it to suit each position I apply for.

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