Hope, Respect, and the Recruitment Equation

When it comes to HR and the unemployment crisis the past year has hurt my heart. Just about every networking event I attended in 2011 had several attendees handing out personal business cards, intent on making connections to those who could help them find work. I can’t help but notice the number of LinkedIn profile updates that say something along the lines of, “Currently seeking the next great opportunity!” More and more Human Resources practitioners are now consultants. In many cases they’re striking out on their own because their prospects of joining an established organization are slim to none. And I found out just this week that two more HR colleagues I know are out of work. It’s enough to make you not want to get out of bed. 

While the holidays are portrayed as a time of celebration and joy it should be noted that reports of depression, even suicide, increase at this time of year. It’s not too hard to imagine that given the current employment climate that people may not be feeling the holiday spirit (although November’s job numbers are much better than October’s). People want hope and for some it appears that they’re may not be much to go around this year. I imagine that many kids will be asking Santa for things other than toys, just like last year

While hope may be in short supply, I believe that there is something that those involved in the recruitment equation-job seekers and hiring managers-can offer each other, and that’s respect. It’s something that both sides have control over. It doesn’t cost anything. And like good customer service it can be all the difference between a great experience and merely a good (or awful) one.

For recruiters and hiring managers, please take note of the following:

  • When candidates submit applications they want to know where they stand. This is especially true when submitted via an applicant tracking system (ATS). 
  • When candidates leave messages please respond back in a timely fashion.
  • Honor commitments; if you agree to do something then stick to it.
  • Be honest with candidates. Don’t sugarcoat the position, the company that has the open position, or the candidate’s chances of securing the role. Most will appreciate it, even if they don’t always want to hear it. 
  • Be kind. People deserve to be treated as if they mattered, regardless of whether or not they’re a good fit for the role or company.

For job seekers, you have a part to play as well:
  • Stay focused. It can be difficult to remain consistent around your job search. You should have a routine that will allow you to produce tangible results, which can help keep you motivated and positive. This attitude will and should reflect in your interactions with those who are attempting to hire you.
  • Find partners. Having people in your corner will go a long way toward helping you stay sane during your job search. If you’re angry, frustrated, or just need to let off steam go to these people first instead of venting out loud or online. Having these outlets allow you to remain professional.
  • Be kind. What goes unnoticed in the discussion around unemployment is that those with jobs are doing more with less. The manager involved in the organization’s recruitment process is probably juggling a dozen different tasks in addition to filling headcount. Recruiters are under enormous pressure to fill requisitions. Be mindful of this as you interact with people throughout the job search process.

Let’s do what we can to help each other through this mess. Seeking work can be a full-time job. Finding appropriate positions to apply for, making phone calls, replying to emails, completing applications, preparing for and conducting interviews-these are just some of the steps that people must complete in order to have an opportunity to join an organization. It can be physically and mentally exhausting. At the same time, those that are seeking to fill roles are working hard to do so, often in conjunction with other responsibilities. Both want to be recognized and respected for what they are trying to do. Let’s not make the situation more difficult by not doing so.

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