Successful sales people will tell you that whatever is being sold, the ‘softer’ aspect of the sale is as important as the process and the product.
When we are recruiting, it is easy to focus on the process and the product (the role), and sometimes the softer aspects can get side-lined, but this is where hirers can take a leaf out of the sales book. If we treat our candidates in the same way as we treat our customers we stand a much better chance of a successful outcome.
Brand awareness, Customer Service, Values and Integrity are all an essential part of the sales/hiring process. Even if they are considered ‘softer’, it seems that the process, without any one of these could quickly fall apart and become less effective, or even fail completely. Resulting ultimately in no sale and no successful hire.
In sales, each of these areas has a direct correspondence to a circumstance that could be applied to the hiring process, here’s how:
- If a potential customer makes an enquiry with us, we go out of our way to assist them and provide them with the information they need to make a purchase.
But once potential candidates have been discounted by a hirer, they are frequently ignored.
We all appreciate the importance of a good reputation and verbal ‘referenceability’ in our market places when it comes to the sale, but let’s not underestimate its importance in the candidate arena. A particular candidate may not be of interest, but the chances are they will talk to others in their network about their experiences, and this is where an employer brand can become damaged. Often candidates are as active in the market place as customers and people love to talk about a bad experience, but even just having a standard ‘thanks but no thanks’ response sets a far better tone than leaving a candidate with no response or feedback.
- If a customer wants to buy from us, we aim to make it as easy as possible for them to do so.
But candidates may be put through multiple (sometimes unnecessary) hoops in the application and selection processes.
Often great candidates are passive in their search. They may occasionally ‘dip in’ to the job market to see what is available, and may be tempted to apply for an interesting role. However, if they then come across multiple layers of forms to fill in before they can speak to someone for an informal chat about the job, they may just decide not to bother. This is where the application of great customer service in our recruitment processes can make all the difference – ensuring we are open and available to candidates and encouraging engagement and dialogue.
- Once a customer has bought from us we work hard to ensure we deliver to their expectations.
But it is not unusual for candidates to hear nothing from the hiring organisation between offer acceptance and start date
Once a good candidate is looking at their options, they will often update their profile and instantly become more visible in the market place. Even if an offer is verbally accepted, a candidate may still be looking at other opportunities, so it is important to encourage as much emotional buy in to the new organisation as possible. This could be done through meet and greet visits, familiarisation, newsletter updates, assigning a work friend etc. All of these things will also help cement the values of our organisation and ensure their first day is as relaxed as possible.
- During and after the sale, customers’ feedback is important to us and can influence how we behave in the future.
But it is very unusual for a hiring organisation to request feedback on their recruitment and selection processes.
Even those who get the job are not usually asked for their feedback, and yet an organisation who actively looks for ways to understand and improve their basic processes demonstrates a willingness to listen, engage and improve. These are all qualities which demonstrate a level of integrity which is valued by candidates, employees and customers alike in today’s business world.
It is important to remember each of these four aspects, especially during the hiring process. Bringing together Brand awareness, Customer Service, Values and Integrity sets hiring managers in a good light to attract the best candidates. Ensuring that these things are as important in your recruitment approach as your sales approach will help to increase the perception of your organisation as an employer of choice.