Recruitment involves big decisions that need to be taken with due care and consideration. However, there is a noticeable trend of uncertainty and indecision on the part of both the employer and the candidate. The degree of reflection and hesitation we experience now seems to be increasing and inevitably affects both sides adversely.
The reasons for this are probably connected to a whole range of factors given the economic and political climate. But there might also possibly be a social and cultural effect that is playing its own part.
We live in a world where we can make easy, quick decisions that can be easily reversed or overturned. Buyers’ remorse doesn’t need to last for very long thanks to the ease of online purchasing with no penalties. You can return goods that you ordered online before 10pm the previous evening, or cancel that weekend break because the weather forecast doesn’t look good, all without any consequences. It’s okay to change your mind.
The digital revolution is influencing recruitment
The whole model for online purchasing is predicated on the basis that customers will go for the supplier who will send goods for free, deliver next day, allows us to change our minds, and all without penalty. The digital revolution influences all areas of our lives and recruitment is no exception. It’s easy to post a job out there and even easier to apply.
Employers don’t seem to have caught up with the sheer speed and flexibility that candidates are operating at and seeking. Barriers are put up that put candidates off and often employers are unaware of the issues until it comes to the point of decision.
As recruiters, we are seeing it time and time again where it is only when the offer of appointment is made that all the concerns and reservations of both the employer and the candidate bubble to the surface. Considerations that should have been thought about and addressed at the outset, have been simply ignored and suddenly the whole process is thrown into jeopardy without any consideration of the cost and reputation implications.
When the best deal is not always best
Employers and candidates are - and should be - looking for the best deal but it’s not always what’s best for both. The temptation is to think there is something better around the corner, or there’s more to be squeezed from what you’ve got. Some of the negotiation that happens after the point of offer can be a long drawn out process.
The proportion of time that we can now spend stewarding senior appointments to a conclusion post offer can be as long as the search or the selection period or both. In one instance this year an offer of appointment in September was not confirmed until the beginning of November. There are several downsides to this kind of extended process; charities can end up losing great candidates who may get a better offer, they go longer without the right person in post and candidates face an unnecessary period of uncertainty and anxiety.
Equally, if a candidate enters a process knowing what the package is and then asks for considerably more post offer, this can send a negative message to their new employer who has already invested in the appointment.
We’ve seen several instances where issues around working arrangements, salary, commitment to the process have all emerged only after the process has concluded, with candidates and clients both reconsidering what’s acceptable to them .
It’s a clash of perspectives with both parties at risk of losing out.
People have a brand and reputation, just as an organisation does
The consequences of a failed appointment process? News travels and employer brand can be weakened dramatically by poor recruitment practices. People talk and the sector is a small one as we all know. To any candidate who changes their mind at the eleventh hour, the same applies. People have a brand and a reputation in much the way an organisation does.
Employers: be clear about your offer. What are the must haves? Are your non-negotiables really that? Will they achieve a better outcome?
Candidates: don’t enter into a process if the commute really is too far and the salary really is too low or if you really are quite happy where you are and just want to see if you can make the case for a rise.
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