Monday, August 10, 2009

Getting in to a company is tough

First impressions matter, right ? Your first impression of the company is usually when you come for the recruitment interview. What sort of an experience of the place do you get ?

It goes something on the following lines. You arrive a little early, not wanting to be late. You get stopped by security who has no idea of your coming. You produce your interview letter. He checks on the phone. He then lets you in to a reception area. You sit down with twenty others who have all come for the same reason. Awkwardly you squeeze between two others for the only millimeter of seating space available. You wait. And wait. And wait. And wait. Finally one hour after the scheduled start time, a guy walks up and hands you a form to fill. You deposit that and wait. And wait. You may then be called for a silly test. You finish that. And wait and wait. Its now 3 hours since you came. You would like a nice cup of tea. Fat chance. You keep waiting. Then suddenly you are called for the interview. You rush in disheveled to face four formidable men. They have just opened your CV and are reading it. One of them asks your name just to check that he is reading the right CV. Oops wrong person. Shuffling of papers. Your CV is dug out. Questions are fired. Halfway through, the fifth interviewer walks in , for he is late in coming. Your answers are only half listened to as they are still reading your CV. 15 mts later its over. You’ve spoken for 5 mts. The guys asking the question have spoken for 10. Out you go.

For the next 3 months, there’s deathly silence. You have no clue as to whether you are accepted, rejected or killed. Then out of the blue comes the call – you’ve been taken. Can you join in 3 days. You protest saying that you have a month’s notice period with your current employer. The caller says – break it and join in 3 days for you are urgently required. You can’t ask why the company slept for 3 months if it was so urgent.

OK – this is an exaggerated account. But something in this might sound familiar. Many companies fall over themselves to create the most negative first impression possible. Just can’t fathom the reason. Maybe HR folks like to do esoteric HR stuff and hate doing the boring hard work that goes behind creating a wow experience.

Here’s my checklist to determine if your recruitment process is broken.

- If the candidate waits for more than 5 mts
- If the candidate isn’t offered some refreshments
- If during the entire process, nobody smiles at her and nobody thanks her for coming.
- If you don’t tell her when to expect a feedback
- And if you don’t get back to her as promised, even if she’s not taken.

If any of the above happens, fix the recruitment process. That’s the first job of HR – to create a wow experience for your employee even before she walks in. For if you’ve created a “Oh s%^&” experience, you’re going to spend the next 3 years trying to overcome that.

And the word “caring” appears on most companies’ culture statement. Oh God !