No transferability, no feedback – candidates have feelings too…

We have just completed some research to find out what candidates find most frustrating in the current jobs market.

300 candidates gave their views on a number of scenarios in the current job market, and indicated whether they were satisfied or frustrated. We also asked them to grade their frustration…

The headline results are that the following had the highest percentages of ‘very frustrated’ or ‘quite frustrated’…

The overall lack of relevant job opportunities for me 88%

The transferability of my skills into new sectors is being ignored 82%

The lack of feedback as to why my CV is rejected 74%

The lack of constructive explanation on why I’m not right for the job 73%

The very slow selection process 73%

There isn’t much that we in HR & recruiting can do about number 1 at present, but there is a lot we can do about the rest.

Why aren’t we looking at transferability of skills?? CIPD research recently showed that HR professionals believe that skills are transferable between sectors…so why isn’t it happening??

Why aren’t we telling candidates the reasons why their CVs aren’t right for the roles that they’ve applied for?? Why aren’t we offering simple, constructive advice??

Recently on our LinkedIn group a candidate told of a call she had made to a recruitment company. She had submitted her CV to the recruiter, who had sent her CV on to their client with a note saying that ‘they would let her know the outcome ASAP’. Two weeks later she hadn’t heard, assumed it was a ‘no’ so put a call in to the recruiter to try to gain some closure. She was told that the recruiter was no longer with the business, and that the role had been filled…she was then told…

“To be fair if we spent all day phoning people who were ‘no’, which we’d like to do because it’s the ‘experience’ as much as anything that counts, we simply would go bust”

Whatever business model it is that dictates that communication with the people that enable it, or could enable it, to make profits is not worthwhile, is a repugnant, failed model….

Surely all of us…recruiters (3rd party and in-house), hiring managers and talent professionals have a duty to treat with dignity, respect and compassion the people who show an interest in working for our businesses and clients….

8 thoughts on “No transferability, no feedback – candidates have feelings too…

  1. Totally agree with the diagnosis that communication is crucial, and that it’s frequently ignored by a significant number of “bulk” recruiters.

    A personal example to illustrate, with wording simply copied from correspondence (or lack of it)

    28th October: Mail to me from agency:
    Dear Graham,
    I am working with a large commercial organisation etc.
    Please send a CV to apply in response to this e mail etc.

    28th October: Phone call and e-mail from me to agency
    (Mail contained detailed breakdown of match with client; CV was specifically tailored to the requirements of the position – both of which took up considerable time in producing)
    Very much interested in this position.
    In view of the match between what your client is looking for and what I believe I can offer, I look forward to hearing from you to discuss the role in further detail.

    5th November: e-mail from me to agency
    Can I just ask if there’s been any development on this one?

    12th November: e-mail from me to agency
    Any news or progress?

    As of today there has been no communication at all between the recruiter and myself. Not one word. This is not only a business error on the part of the recruiter; it is simply pig ignorant.

    Outside of the recruiting relationship such behaviour would be frowned upon and criticised. Within it, it represents not only unacceptable practice, but it verges on misconduct.

  2. The continuing growth of online recruitment seems to have brought with it a pile it high sell it cheap philosophy amongst a lot of recruitment consultancies, which in itself means that certain corners must have to be cut, decent communication with applicants being just one. For all the wonders of modern technology you still cannot invent a widget or gizmo that makes a candidate feel important. Only good old fashioned customer service will do that. Trouble is, many rec cons seem to have forgotten about that part of the service. it will ultimately be their downfall.

  3. Unfortunately there is no notion of ‘the customer’ in recruitment – only ‘the client’ which missed the point somewhat. And anyway, most don’t treat ‘the client’ any better anyway!

    This behaviour is driven by a small number of things:

    Remuneration and targets – the consultant in nearly all cases is trying to focus on the deal and meeting his KPI’s because its likely that at the end of every day or at least every week s/he is going to have to share them with the team leader and get a bollocking if they are not up to expectations. They will also have a pay structure that rewards against these KPI’s and financials rather than against customer service benchmarks.

    Technology – Technology does actually exist that could make the customer experience better, even in recruitment – its used globally in nearly all other industries. However, most recruitment organisations, even some of the largest globally, have an ignorance and reluctance when it comes to technology. Having spent a number of years in the technology sector, specifically looking at recruitment and HR solutions i can tell you that recruiters especially spent much of their time looking to keep costs to the bare minimum and were reluctant to invest even in some of the basics. Frankly, they were just too greedy. They would rather squeeze the lemon a bit more and put up with the problems because at the end of the day they didn’t care about the impact on the candidate or client and a £ less spent on technology was a £ more in their pocket.

    Is it any wonder clients and candidates alike would like to see the back of many recruiters??!!

  4. …and as for transferability??! Its a joke. (Sorry i hit the submit key too early!)

    Whilst recruiters are in some way complicit, the blame for this one has to lie squarely with the recruiting organisations, the clients. And i hate to say it but HR, despite what the CIPD says, are possibly the biggest road blockers to adopting transferability.

    As a recruiter, i have sat in front of thousands of HR candidates, all waxing lyrical about the transferability of their skills and insisting they can easily move sectors or industries. Yet, when many themselves become clients and come back to me to help build their teams, do you think they have the same attitude? Nope! If i had a £ for every time i have heard “Canididates MUST have retail/banking/FMCG etc etc” id be a wealthy man.

    I also think HR must be stronger with line management in educating on this matter as hiring managers across many disciplines are no better. Until HR drop this double standard themselves though and start to truly ‘believe’ in transferability of skills it will never change.

  5. As someone who has been recently job hunting (albeit for a part-time role) I can totally relate to the frustrations the respondents talk about. I’m also a recruiter though and, while I do agree with what you say, I do have a quick opinion to share about transferrable skills in the current climate.

    I’m a great believer in the old transferrable skills; it’s crazy the way they’re ignored sometimes. BUT, in this climate, while I don’t necessarily like it, I do kind of understand it. We get people apply to us with transferrable skills or (slightly) out of date experience quite regularly – good candidates who would, in better times, pick up a role in minutes. Fact is though, in my industry at least, there’s so many candidates on the market who already have exactly the right skill set that employers don’t need to bother looking at these people. It’s not that they’re not great candidates, and it’s not that (with a little re-skilling and training) they couldn’t do the job really well (maybe even better), but with companies under pressure to perform and stay solvent, they need people who can hit the ground running.

    I’m not saying it’s right, but I can see why it’s happening more now at the moment.

    Just my thoughts on it anyway!

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