Hiring advice from your peers

The issue of balancing respect for candidates and due diligence has been a hot one as of late. Regular readers know that candidates are complaining they're being jerked around in this "buyer's market" while employers say they're just trying to ensure they hire the best person for the job.

Two previous columns offered advice from hiring expert Paula Manning, co-author of "Recruiting & Retaining Employees for Dummies," who emphasized respect for the candidates as the cardinal rule when looking for a new employee. If you don't communicate well with candidates, keep them in the dark on your progress or simply treat them poorly, word will get around, Manning says. And that will come back to haunt you when the hiring pendulum swings the other way and candidates are in the driver's seat.

I received some excellent reader responses to Manning's thoughts, which I would like to share with you:

One reader, who's currently looking for a new job, offered these thoughts from his recent experience:

  • "Many firms list certain positions to simply 'test the market place' at a certain time to see what kind of responses they will receive, and/or what kind of 'candidate talent' is out there that show an interest in their postings.

  • Many firms during the course of the actual interview process actually put the hiring for a position on hold due to certain internal issues (i.e., change of management, budgeting issues, etc.), this also, in most instances, delays the firm's hiring process. Both of these 'personnel actions' that are used by firms can be frustrating to the prospective candidates." He goes on to say that word does get around about companies that engage in these practices, and "at the end of the day these firms do experience difficulty in attracting solid talent for their open positions."

  • This reader goes on to note that while good communication with candidates is good advice, he doesn't see it in action:

    "My experience has been that most companies today do not take the time to drop an e-mail note to prospective candidates.

    Some firms have the 'auto reply' that I have received, and some firms do not respond at all. I do a good deal of follow-up to them (as many times a position that I have sent my resume for is on a firm's site for literally weeks or even months), but I don't receive any acknowledgement from them, that is...unless they want to talk with me! And yes, it does get frustrating!"

  • An IT Director looking for a job had a poor experience with a recruiting firm and a consultancy: "I had two interviews arranged back to back with a global consulting company. The line manager did not make the interview, but I interviewed with HR for an hour and a half and was left with a positive impression. No further contact or feedback - not even a Dear John. I interviewed with an executive recruiter and was informed that I would be on the shortlist and they would like to get me in front of the client the same week. I did not receive any further communication and they even failed to reply to my request - a couple of weeks later - for feedback. Poor behavior and not very smart. [There's] a consulting company and a recruiting agency that I won't be giving business to/hiring from for the rest of my career."

That last example is amazing - you would think recruiters, who are hurting just as much as candidates in this economy, would act better. See how this can all come back to haunt you?

Remember that when you're interviewing candidates, they're not just candidates, they're potential future customers, clients and business partners. Say you interview 12 people for a job, you can only hire one, leaving 11 with an impression of you and your company - hopefully a good one.

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