The Candidate Experience

I recently spotted an interesting opportunity to do some work with a company who are looking to do things differently, looking to replace a current transactional set of relationships with something more focused on growing greater value between the organisation and its customers. They are a company I expect many of you will know well, I am a customer of theirs, and I know a good number of you are too. Applications to help with this work were invited, and I duly sent mine in on June 20th, a day before the deadline.

Here’s what happened next:

Application acknowledged via a standard email. That’s good, I now know contact has been made, even if it is just me and a robot talking just now.

The following week I noticed the deadline had been extended. Ideally I think it would be better if applicants could be told this rather than stumble upon the fact themselves, but I freely admit I’m a bit fussy.

The week after that I noticed the deadline had been extended again. Ideally I think it would be better if applicants could be told this rather than stumble upon the fact themselves, but I freely admit I’m a bit fussy.

The week after….yep, it happened again.

On July 17th I was invited for a telephone interview to take place on July 25th. The interview went well and the next day I was contacted and asked to go for a face to face meeting. I agreed to come in on August 1st as I was about to disappear off on holiday after that. I didn’t want to keep them, or me, waiting.

I was asked to fill in one of those personality assessment thingies before I attended (shudder), and I had to chase the link to complete this, which was finally sent to me at 4.15pm the day before the meeting. I duly completed it.

The meeting on August 1st seemed to go well, and I also completed a critical reasoning test while I was there. I confirmed that as I was going to be on holiday for the next ten days I’d be difficult to get hold of, but to call me if anything urgent needed dealing with. I also asked that the test results please be sent through to me along with the completed personality assessment. I was told this would happen. When I got back to the office I sent a thank you email.

We had a fantastic family holiday and on my return I headed straight off to Chicago to speak at a conference, and to have fun, and to learn stuff. Mission accomplished, I came back from Chicago. The end of August arrived, and having heard nothing, I put in a call. The person I needed to speak to was away from their desk. ‘They’ll call you back’. This didn’t happen so a few days later I called again and the conversation started ‘I was due to call you today…’. The tone as much as the words, plus the preceding delays told me everything I needed to know. Afterwards I thanked the other person for the opportunity, and reminded them to please send me through the test results and assessment info. They said they would, and nothing arrived.

Coincidentally I met up with the person managing this process recently and reminded them to please send through the test results and assessment information. I was again told this would be done. Again, nothing arrived.

After yet another chase up I finally got the assessment back on September 25th. I haven’t studied it in detail yet but it probably says I’m pushy! And I got 90% in the test. Whoop de doo.

It’s not the overall timescale of the process I mind so much (though things did drag on rather a lot), it’s the slippage and forever having to chase stuff up that bugs me. This happens to have been a big piece of work with a budget approved and signed off, but to me it shouldn’t really matter whether you’re recruiting for permanent posts, interims, projects, consultants, senior, junior, whatever. What I think is important is for recruiters to read stories like this and ask if they are OK with their part in helping to craft the way their brand is perceived?

As is the way of things, an interesting twist arose during the August meeting and I think there’s a good possibility we may yet work together. We’ll see.

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