Recruiting with respect

The topic of hiring in an employer's market has been hot as of late. On one hand we have candidates rightly complaining that they're being - for lack of a better word - jerked around by prospective employers. Multiple interviews, return trips back to the company and hiring processes that take months are common for many job seekers today. On the other hand, employers say they're not taking advantage of the market, but rather exercising due diligence in a time when many desperate job hunters are overinflating their resumes.

There are valid arguments on both sides, so I turned to Paula Manning, co-author of "Recruiting & Retaining Employees for Dummies," for some help in finding a middle ground on this issue. How, I wanted to know, can companies get the person they want while respecting him or her, and the other candidates?

Respect is the key, says Manning, who is co-owner of Triad Resources, a Texas IT recruiting firm. "Show candidates the same respect you did when the market was really, really tight in tech," she says. "A lot of companies feel like it's an employers' market and I've got my pick of all these people. A lot of time they're not sensitive to the candidate. You only have one chance to make a first impression.

"This is a cycle and yes it is an employers market now. But if you don't show them the respect you did three years ago, they're going to remember that when the market does turn around," she adds. "They're going to tell their friends and their friends will tell their friends, and it will snowball."

Manning offers the following tips to better recruiting and hiring in these times:

  • Post a very detailed job description. "You have to be very specific, but do it in a polite way," she says. "Think about the things you must have and put them in there." You'll still get mismatched resumes, she adds, but the detail will hopefully cut down the ratio of qualified vs. unqualified candidates.

  • Don't make people wait in the reception area. A simple concept, which harkens back to the "respect" theme.

  • Streamline your interviewing process. If your candidate needs to interview with several people, don't make him or her return several times. While it's not unusual for companies to ask candidates to meet with several people, they need to be respectful of the job seeker's time. If you can arrange all the interviews for one day and one visit, great. But if it's going to be an all-day process, consider the initial interview and perhaps a second half-day of interviews to avoid fatiguing the person. Either way, plan this well and give your job candidate as much information up front, before his or her initial visit.

    For example, "I will need you to meet with X, Y and Z, and I've arranged all the interviews for your visit" or "I need you to meet with several people, would you be willing to come back another time, in addition to the scheduled visit?" Don't forget that job candidate is probably anxious about the interview, so the last thing you want to do is ambush him or her with several interviews when they thought they were just meeting with you.

  • Communicate. The hiring process is longer today because companies have the upper hand. However, don't leave your candidates hanging for weeks - or months - with no word on how the process is proceeding. Sure, this sounds outrageous, but it's happening. Just drop the person an e-mail or a phone call, "We're still interviewing people, we haven't forgotten about you. We hope to have a decision by X."

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