Business Brain: Honesty and communication key to good recruitment
With recruitment within a range of sectors such as finance and technology on the rise and the market for talent in specialist areas tightening, pressure can mount on employers to oversell a vacancy in order to attract good candidates.
Companies may be tempted to stretch the truth about the job, the business culture or the corporate benefits of working with their company. They may even offer a set of responsibilities or tasks at an interview and quickly default on these when the new hire starts. Sometimes they assign a new employee to what amounts to be a different job entirely.
Data from research group Gallup on employee engagement suggests that only around 40pc of people are actively engaged in a new job after six months. The 'oversell' is often to blame: the newness wears off and the job turns out to be less appealing than it seemed.
It's important to note that the first 20 weeks of an employee's tenure are the most critical. New hires are always measuring how their new employer is delivering on what was discussed during the recruitment process, whether that's training, systems, support, management, or personal development. A dissatisfied employee who doubts the employer will not be a highly productive one. They may eventually choose to resign soon after taking up the role.
While it's important to impress candidates, honesty is key. At each stage of the hiring process -- from the job advert to the interview -- candidates should always be told exactly what is expected of them and the true aspects of the vacancy. It is in the long run better to equip potential new hires with a true picture of what the job holds and any difficulties they may encounter.
Consistent communication is also very important and not just at interview stage. No matter what the size of the company the job description on its careers page should be consistent with the job advert being used in other media, which in turn should be communicated by HR at the interview stage -- all must reflect the true duties, obligations, benefits, and responsibilities that the new employee will take on.
A small- or medium-sized enterprise may be more susceptible to overselling due to lesser visibility in the market versus that of their global competition. Larger corporates may also offer a better package or better training.
SMEs need to develop more strategic recruitment and attraction strategies. A smaller company offers many benefits and these should be highlighted. Free of corporate infrastructure, it can often offer a much more flexible working environment where employees are given more freedom to initiate projects, develop and lead product and service innovation, work closely with the senior team and potentially fast-track a career without following a structured hierarchy.
On the retention side, smaller companies should have an effective follow up process in place. Organise short meetings with key colleagues on starting, set up regular meetings with the manager and if money and time allows, assign a mentor to the new employee, a go-to person that gives them a strong feeling of support and interest in their personal development. The more they are integrated into the business the quicker they will feel part of it and on board.
Remember that the loss of a skilled employee can have a much more dramatic impact for a 10-person firm than for one with 500 workers.
HR professionals have to note that the cost of an inefficient recruitment process is higher than a salary. It is said that a bad hire costs a company an average of 2.5 times the employee's annual salary and more for management positions.
The damage to a company's reputation, which is harder to quantify, is also something to be very wary of especially with the rise of the internet and social media. A tweet or forum comment from a disgruntled employee who leaves can very quickly harm people's perception of the company and future recruitment efforts.
Overall, it is important to be as honest as possible throughout the recruitment process. Peg expectations at a realistic level and don't sugarcoat a job description.
This will help filter out candidates who will not be suitable for the role, while also ensuring the most relevant and skilled individuals go into the job with all the correct information about the position and the company.
This will allow job interviewees to base their job acceptance on the real aspects of the job and will likely ensure their overall job satisfaction in the long run.
Don't forget to sell the job. Just don't oversell.
- Hilarie Geary is MD, Executive Connections, a specialist banking, financial services & accountancy recruitment consultancy. www.executive-connections.ie