Thursday, January 31, 2013

Why do Recruiters lie or paint a rosy picture?

Why do Recruiters "Paint a rosy picture"? - An article by Faisal Siddiqui

I am sure that if you are have been in recruitment or talent acquisition. You would know what I am talking about here. We recruiters seldom have the tendency of exaggerating or sometimes even painting a rosy picture about the company that we are recruiting for to make things appear more attractive to the potential candidate.

I personally would admit using this tactic early in my career when hiring for hard to fill positions specially when the employers would like you to go find that "purple squirrel"  (perfect candidate) out of nowhere. 

Some employers for instance don't understand that apart from a good recruiting skills & job portal access, there are multiple other factors that play an important role in attracting talent. More importantly these factors are not controlled or influenced by the recruiter. 

These intangible but yet important factors which are often conveniently sidelined by the employers, play a crucial role in attracting talent;

1. Brand Name & Company Reputation

If you are IBM, Google or CISCO's of the world, your existing brand name becomes a strength for the recruiter and helps them get right talent. But if you happen to be a start-up  then the same strength becomes your weakness. With the world becoming increasingly obsessed with brands, not having a brand name is a big let down. Hence it becomes a dilemma for most start-ups which can't afford to shell out huge amount of money for advertising their brands but strongly need to create an image. Not having a brand name can also be a problem for B2B companies not targeting end customer, and hence may not feel the need to promote themselves. 

So what do you do when your company is not a household name? While a one size fits all answer to this question may not exist but a mix of public relations, reputation management, SEO, branding on social media and networking sites may holds the key. For instance, if you have good reviews on site like Glassdoor, Mouthshut and many other such site, it helps portray a good picture about the organisation. So don't underestimate the power of social media and word of mouth. While it is OK for a business not to have a brand name but having a bad reputation can certainly jeopardize your business specially if you are a startup.  

2. Work Culture

A good and conducive work culture would not only helps you in retaining employees but it also works as a magnet for attracting talent. Remember if your employees like the work culture, each of them would function like a brand ambassador of your company to the outside world. And remember words travel fast. I know of companies that are brand names, great pay masters but don't have a healthy work environment. One good indicator is employee referrals, barring a few greedy ones most employees would never refer friends & family for employment if they don't like the culture. So you need to lookout for these signs before things go from bad to worse. 

How do you fix it? The best way is conduct an anonymous survey, find out what is wrong and try fix it. Though it may not always be as easy as it may sound; your environment might be suffering from small dysfunction to big monstrous problem which may take a while to fix. Whatever the problem be it's never too late to fix.     

3. Job Stability

With economy going global what happens on the other side of the world unfortunately does influence your job, specially if that other side happens to be America. So after surviving double dip and news doing the round that Europe is at the brink of triple dip recession. Hell! of course job security is important. An unstable tag can create a big time problem for your recruiters.While it's a fact that no company likes to layoff their employees and can do very little to prevent it. 

But what you can do is make sure that layoffs & terminations are done properly. Every employee has the right to know why s/he is being asked to leave, so be transparent and explain the real cause - why and how it happened. Don't be sudden, give time. No one likes surprises specially if it is about losing ones job, so keep your employees informed about the hiccups your business is facing. You never know, sometimes it might work in your favor and employees may put extra efforts to save your business and their jobs.

When dealing with terminations, again make sure that prior feedback and reasonable opportunity were given to the employee to make improvements. Make sure there is no communication gap, power plays, biased feedback etc. are not involved. Again be transparent, explain the reason for his/her termination and why you can't keep them anymore. Remember a disgruntled employee will talk bad and will try to tarnish the companies image. I would still recommend conducting exit interviews with those being terminated. 

And more importantly, whether in case of layoffs or terminations - please pay whatever is rightfully due.These are some of the steps that you can take to avoid being tagged unstable or getting your self branded as hire and fire company.
4. Employee Appreciation

Appreciation again not only helps boost employee morale and productivity but also goes along way in strengthening employee-employer bond. Regular appreciation helps create happy employees and these happy employees again can do tremendous amount of free PR for your company, thanks to the power of social media. I am sure that you all must have seen those tweets, pictures on Facebook and videos on Youtube where your employees share about their promotions, awards, recognition or company paid tours etc. These viral messages again can do wonders for your business and help create a positive image about your company to the outside world.    

True, the above may sound like a Talent Management issue but nevertheless they have strong impact on your hiring. These 4 factors are exactly what most recruiter exaggerate about to potential candidate. 

So, your recruiter may get lucky and might just find you a purple squirrel but if you are careless and do not address the above issues, you will have a hard time retaining good resources. And then you can't blame your    recruiters for painting a rosy picture. And thus, it becomes a vicious circle.

Article written by Faisal Siddiqui, HR Professional & Enthusiast. 
View my on LinkedIn profile.

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