Over the past decade the job market has undoubtedly taken employers and applicants on a rough ride. When the economy tanked, our country’s unemployment and jobless claims went through the roof. Knowledge workers and less-skilled workers alike went from leisurely job-hopping to knocking on every door. Now, as the economy is balancing out, talented job seekers are once again in demand. Employers in a variety of competitive industries are energetically seeking those job applicants that can help give them a competitive edge or just to provide dependable, high-output labor.
One confounding question that has come up during the economic ebbs and flows is: “Why have employers stuck to the same, old hiring processes throughout it all?” Bloomberg Businessweek recently published an article titled “Why HR can’t innovate” that examines this phenomenon.
Instead of focusing on proven methodologies for process improvement – flexibility, nimble responses and strong collaboration – most employers have instead resorted to more of the same during thick and thin; slow, mechanical and often stand-offish hiring practices that are great a fostering participation from average performers. From Bloomberg: “The whole encrusted recruiting process (not to mention unfriendly, robotic auto-responders and the unending stream of honesty tests, writing tests, and other recruiting hurdles) makes it easy for organizations to hire drones, and it makes it hard for them to hire the brilliant and complex people they need to solve their problems.”
There are always going to be a few gems in the every industry, stories about employers that have a reputation for innovative and inspiring recruiting processes. However, for the most part, we hear about employers that simply can’t get out of their own way. If that sounds all too familiar, it’s time to ask yourself if your recruiting program is attracting real talent or just a bunch of average applicants that are willing to tolerate your ineptitude.
Even if your company has a fresh face, a ton of funding, a good reputation and decent products and services, until proven otherwise, applicants will continue to be weary of your recruiting process. It’s up to you to break the mold and make it easier to attract the best people. Surprise candidates with a slick online application process, meaningful correspondence, prompt feedback and good service. Ooze a little creativity and be inspirational. After all, as an employer you want to be in the driver’s seat to make the decisions on who you want to hire instead of settling for who you can hire.