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Best (Hiring) Practices

In today's tight job market, recruiters should avoid alienating

potential candidates—who may share their bad impressions with others

When Sarah Breiner interviewed for a prestigious post-college program

at General Electric (GE), she figured she'd spend the majority of her

on-site meeting discussing her internship and academic experience.

Boy was she wrong.

One recruiter she met with asked hardly any questions about her and,

instead, arrogantly talked about his own work experience and how he

achieved his career goals. "He was tooting his own horn," says

Breiner, a graduate of New York University's Stern School of

Business. "I got a bad taste in my mouth. So throughout the day,

while meeting with other people, I asked more probing questions."

Because of Breiner's negative interviewing experience, GE lost her to

investment bank JPMorgan Chase (JPM). At JPMorgan and Goldman Sachs

(GS),where she currently works, Breiner feels that teamwork and her

background were valued more highly during the interview process.

SELLER'S MARKET. Contrary to popular belief, the employer isn't

always in the driver's seat. And, as the job market continues to

improve and more candidates receive multiple offers, companies have

to work harder to attract a large, high-quality pool of applicants

(see 5/15/06, "Never Too Late to Find the Right

Job"). In fact, many candidates have increased confidence about

receiving choice job offers, so they're conducting a more focused

search and forgoing back-up options, according to WetFeet's 2006

Winning Campus Marketing Strategies Report, which came out this

summer. Unfortunately, some organizations are still forgetting to

factor in job-seeker satisfaction when playing the hiring game.

Hiring is never a one-way street, and applicant happiness should be

considered from initial interaction until the end of the process,

whether it leads to employment or not. Often a candidate isn't

contacted quickly enough after an interview, which can lead the

person to assume the manager is uninterested. "There's a need for

urgency. Candidates today have multiple offers on the table. One

possibility could be very compensation-focused. Another opportunity

could offer a different variable," says Erin Barriere, vice-president

for staffing at Monster Worldwide. "If you don't close, the candidate

could go to another company" (see 3/21/06, "The

Jobs Come Looking for Grads").

STAY PROFESSIONAL. During an interview, a recruiter may fail to

create a warm atmosphere and opt instead for a condescending or

unprofessional tone, sometimes without even realizing it. Lauren

Kossak knows that scenario all too well. When interviewing for a

sales position at a computer company, Kossak says the recruiter

treated her more like a friend than a potential employee. "The office

was located near my apartment, so he asked me what I did the night

before and where I hang out," says Kossak. "He was very intrusive."

Kossak's recruiter didn't make her feel comfortable in the work

environment—a common mistake. So what can companies do to make

candidates feel more at ease? Fostering communication tops the list.

During the interview process at Deloitte & Touche USA, entry-level

candidates meet with all types of employees, from recent college

graduates to senior members of the organization. That way, the

company ensures that potential hires get relevant information on a

wide range of subjects from diverse sources.

"A candidate might ask a staff person about policy on vacation and

might hesitate to ask the same vacation question of a partner," says

Bill Ziegler, director of recruiting for the Big Four accounting

firm. "Candidates relate to different people on different levels"

That communication should continue right through the employee's first

day on the job. Often, there's a long gap between the time when a

person accepts an offer and follow-up from the employer. "It's a

strange dead time. You've got a candidate who is pretty sure he has a

job but doesn't have anything in writing or a start date, and feels

very vulnerable," says Marcie Schorr Hirsch, partner of HirschHills

Associates, a Newton (Mass.) boutique management consulting firm.

WORD OF MOUTH. Even if a company is not interested in a candidate,

recruiting personnel should make some type of effort. A poor

impression of a company can only translate to one thing—a candidate

sharing a negative perception with friends and co-workers, all of

whom are potential employees. "The PR part of the job is a continuous

thing whether or not you like a candidate," says Bob Eubank,

president of the Harvard (Mass.) Swift Murdock, a general management

and human resources consulting practice.

These and other mistakes can be avoided through preparation and

training. "Most managers will sit there and do a decent job of

verifying surface-level information from a resume. 'OK, you were a

tech consultant. How'd that go?' That's not digging. That is really

almost an administrative job," says Dan Kilgore, director of talent

acquisition for North America at Getronics, an IT services company.

Preparation can come in the form of weeklong intensive classes,

daylong seminars, or simple run-throughs with higher-ups to identify

exactly what is needed from a candidate. Kilgore says the minority of

hiring managers go through training and it is often outdated.

Mistakes like these are just the tip of the iceberg. Check out's slide show on 12 common hiring mistakes and ways

to avoid them.

From India, Hyderabad
To avoid these mistakes as potential HR professionals, why not we innovate few recruiting practices. There is already a topic posted on this, that, Are interviews the real test? So just visit it, and express how you would recruit innovatively.

From India
Hey Kiran, Good article. Vinay, Why don’t you take the initiative and start this process, I would love to contribute and so do others. Cheers Archna
From India, Delhi
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