Most people responsible for recruitment in one capacity or another understand that a recruitment process can demand much of your time and that it can be incredibly complex.  Finding the right candidate is an art in itself.  Thankfully, irrespective of the complexity of the process, most of us will reach our goal and hire the right candidate.

When we recruit, we are effectively giving an open invitation to candidates in the market place to open some kind of communication with us.  We “open the door” for candidates to call us, send us their CV or attend an interview.  To be fair, most people who work in recruitment are very good at this part of the process and it is carried out in a professional and acceptable manner.  It is therefore a shame that so many companies are so incredibly poor at “closing the door” in a professional and accurate manner.  It is even more incredible that they fail to carry out the task of providing feedback to the candidate (closing the door).  This is the simplest but nevertheless very important part of the recruitment process.

Isn’t it fair that everyone who applies for a position also receives some kind of feedback on their application?

Most people close the door after them when they come home from work in the evening

Today, many companies have a “policy” which states they only provide feedback to candidates who secure an interview.  What kind of “policy” is this?  If you can make time to write a silly policy like this then you certainly have time to provide some feedback to a person that has perhaps spent hours preparing their CV and Covering letter.  If you don’t have time for this?  Well, then you have, in my humble opinion, no right to work in recruitment in any capacity whatsoever.

If you read this and feel I am being too harsh on employers and recruitment companies, well maybe so, but there is a reason for my thought process.  Perhaps you will agree with me when you read the paradoxes below.

The three significant paradoxes:

1. Both companies and the many “job experts” we hear from on a daily basis through media and social media stress that as a job seeker you must spend a significant amount of time studying the role and the company you are applying for.  You need to spend time preparing a unique CV and Covering letter to make sure that the application is as relevant as possible with regard to the role and the company.  This of course demands a lot of time, but still needs to be done.  The paradox: Many of the companies and job experts that provide this kind of advice do the opposite themselves.  Yes, they choose to spend next to no time dealing with the applicants that may be irrelevant and of no interest to them.  Pretty “rich” if you ask me.

2. Many recruiters become frustrated and at times angry when they receive a high number of applicants for position when the majority of the applicants are not relevant at all.  I have myself experienced receiving applications which would be better suited to a shop floor job in a supermarket than to the Project Management position I have advertised.  Of course this is frustrating but we do not solve the problem by NOT telling these applicants why they will not be called in for an interview.  It is also of no help to these candidates to have a company “policy” that states exactly this.  The paradox: If we had set aside some time (perhaps only a minute) to write a few lines on email as to why the candidate is not relevant then there is a much greater chance that these same candidates will not apply for positions of this nature in the future.  This of course in turn means that the recruiter will save important time and costs in the future.

3. Companies often spend a significant amount of money every year on what is referred to as Learning and Development (L&D).  Sounds nice doesn’t it?  Well then, it is also exciting for the company to shout out load about this in the market place and at least put it all over their website.  Unfortunately, these companies forget one important aspect. Have you ever heard the saying: “Practice what you preach”?  The paradox: If L&D is as important as most people believe it to be, wouldn’t it then be obvious that the company also portray this during the hiring process?  Not just talk about it?  Wouldn’t this also show that the company takes L&D very seriously and genuinely believes in it as opposed to it being just another corporate b….hit term?  If a job seeker can learn why they are not successful in the application process and develops from this based on the company’s feedback, then it will become easier for the job seeker to do a much better job on his or her next application.

In today’s oil industry here in Norway we are now experiencing several thousand people losing their jobs and livelihoods.  Some people believe this is a very critical time for the industry, while others, Norsk Olje og Gass in particular, believe this isn’t a problem at all.   For most of us however, this is a very unpleasant situation.

As a result of the reduction in staff and consultants, a high number of people will now be out in the market place looking for new jobs.  Many of these people have never previously applied for a job while many have not written a CV for at least 30 years.  Due to this, feedback on job applications automatically becomes even more important than before.  As recruiters, we all have a moral duty to teach the newly unemployed oil workers how to get the most out of their job applications. What is the best way of doing this?  To provide feedback throughout the process so that they can learn and develop from this; L&D remember?

People who are made redundant often receive redundancy packages from their employer which include some kind of job seekers course.  Often these courses are incredibly advanced and one learns about the importance of having a firm handshake, sitting up straight in the interview and looking the interviewer in the eye (ideally also dress smart).  It is a shame to think that perhaps companies would not need to provide such packages to their staff if we had been better over the last 30 years or so in providing detailed feedback during recruitment processes.  Perhaps most people would have naturally already been job seeking experts?  Maybe, just maybe, the redundancy packages would have been financially lower, and in the current climate I believe this is very important to companies.

Let us all make sure we take some responsibility here.  Please be so kind as to spend some time closing the door on applicants in the same professional manner in which you opened the door.  Candidates will learn from this and one thing is certain: It will save the industry both costs and time in the long run.


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