Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Are your recruiters, HR reps, and hiring managers hurting your brand?

Over the last eleven months I’ve interacted with a number of recruiters, plenty of HR people, and various hiring managers. From my experience in most of the interactions (not all), their representation of the brand left something to be desired. At a time when the unemployment rate is 10.2%, and a percentage of that population is interacting with your company, it seems like this would be a prime opportunity to be an ambassador of your brand. I realize that companies are getting hundreds of applications and resumes for each job posting right now, and the load is overwhelming. However, instead of just looking at this situation as “OMG all these people are bombarding us” or treating people as if they are cattle; why not take a different perspective? Look at the people as potential clients or customers and not just potential candidates or interviewees. No, you may not hire them, they may not be a fit for the position, but they still may be an existing customer or a prospective one.

Would you treat your customers negatively? So why not give candidates a positive experience with each and every interaction. I know through my job search if I had a bad experience with a phone interview or lack of response or disrespectfulness, that memory stayed with me the next time I came in contact with the particular company’s product or service. Not out of spite, but the negative experience was now associated with the brand and it was a data point that stuck in my head the next time I made a buying decision. Emotions play a huge role in both a job search and a purchasing decision.

We talk a lot about building communities and conversations with our customers. The social media craze has reconceptualized the notion of listening to our customers. The sales force has always been taught to be customer focused, marketing and PR spend years building brands and trying to protect them, and we now have customer service and marketing listening to tweets, comments, and status updates and responding all to build the brand. So why don’t we teach all our employees that they are basically a walking billboard for the company? They need to represent! And what a better time than now when there are hundreds and sometimes thousands of people knocking on your door, coming to you. This is prime time to boost the brand especially during a recession where every little bit helps.

Action Item: Use the mystery shopper or quality control scenario with your hiring process. Send someone through your companies’ hiring process as a candidate and have them report back as to how the process went, how were they treated, was it a positive or negative experience? Find out the impressions that potential candidates and potential customers are walking away with when they interact with your own people, your company, your brand.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Leigh Anne, I came upon your blog via the Social Media Club Seattle website. I really appreciate your advice as a job seeker and an active consumer. I'll remember it when I'm a company representative in the future!

    Like the "action item" format- what a great idea and certainly makes it even simpler to follow through!