On Employees and Hiring…
“The employer generally gets the employees he deserves.”
– Walter Gilbey
“Treat employees like they make a difference and they will.”
– Jim Goodnight, CEO, SAS
“A company should limit its growth based on its ability to attract enough of the right people.”
– Jim Collins
“Negative feedback is better than none. I would rather have a man hate me than overlook me. As long as he hates me I make a difference.”
– Hugh Prather
“I don’t pay good wages because I have a lot of money; I have a lot of money because I pay good wages.”
– Robert Bosch
“During job interviews when they ask: ‘What is your worst quality?’ I always say: ‘Flatulence.’ That way I get my own office.”
– Dan Thompson
FM Broadcast – Spring 2016
Hiring Is NOT a One-Way Street: The Importance of Candidate Experience
Everyone in the executive search business has that one, especially unfortunate assignment that they will never forget. A few years ago, we were retained to fill a critical role for a fast-growing tech company that had been acquired by a Fortune 500 corporation. Within short order, we had four incredible candidates—all actively working in great companies, but also very excited about our client and the impact that they could have in the role.
Unfortunately, each of the candidates opted out of the search process following their initial interview with the hiring manager. They couldn’t believe how they were treated in the interview process.
As search partners, it is our job to help make our clients look good and to step in when something could turn off a great candidate. It is also part of our job to give feedback to our clients about the impression that they are making in the market.
At the outset, we suspected that the search might be difficult because the client would not give us access to the executive team other than the Head of Human Resources. As we learned more about the company, it was clear that it also possessed a culture of arrogance. They thought anyone would do anything to join their company, but they were wrong. They treated candidates not as potential partners, but as job seekers who should be thrilled to work at the company. They continually changed interview dates and times, but also failed to recognize that their compensation for the role was well below market.
The company had already had a phenomenal “exit,” but had not adjusted to the market reality that it was now a public company and should pay employees accordingly. The prevailing mindset was, “People will want to work for us because our leadership team is brilliant. Besides, you would kick yourself if you turned down a job at Google in 2005 even though they were already public.”
Perhaps this was true, but how could someone sell the “brilliance” of a management team we hadn’t been allowed to meet? And, why would someone leave a good position to join a company where no big upside is offered?
When we asked the candidates about their initial interview, the responses were consistent. Each of them was rescheduled at least once and then when they arrived for their interview, they were kept waiting in the lobby and not offered a beverage or use of the restroom. One candidate described at length how she was moved from conference room to conference room because no one had reserved a room for their interview.
When you interview for a position you want, you prepare and put your best foot forward. When you are hiring someone, you MUST do the same. Otherwise, you are giving away the power to make the decision – it is being made for you.
When we tried to provide feedback on the less than optimal candidate experience, we were rebuffed. Instead of working with us to make some easy fixes to their process, our client told us, “That’s the way things are here and the right candidate will have to be okay with it.”
Needless to say, this search took some time to complete. Ultimately, two of the key decision makers for our search were pushed out of the company. Once given access to a new senior executive that actively engaged with us, we were able to complete the search in less than a month.
We have tracked this former client and while the company has not imploded, its performance has been more like Yahoo! than Google. Executive turnover has continued to hamper the company and they have not been able to attract enough new talent to scale and meet demand for their products. We are not surprised.
From our perspective, the company lacked an Institutional Emotional Intelligence. They had no self-awareness of how they were presenting themselves in the market and were not willing to be introspective or accept outside feedback. Bottom line… they behaved like they were the best employment option in town when the reality was that they could not attract “A” players. Had they made a few minor tweaks to their recruiting process to show candidates that they valued their time and interest in the company, they would most likely be achieving their desired business outcomes today.
Have a great interview story or some tips on how to improve candidate experience? Please share your stories and best practices with us.
– Fleming & Marty
JAFRA Cosmetics is a privately held company, headquartered in Westlake Village, CA. JAFRA is committed to transforming the lives of millions of women around the world. Founded in 1956, JAFRA’s 550,000 worldwide Independent Consultants make it one of the world’s largest producers of cosmetics. With annual sales in excess of half a billion U.S. dollars,
JAFRA has a worldwide productportfolio that encompasses skin and body care as well as spa products, color cosmetics and fragrances, which JAFRA produces using high quality natural ingredients and state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities, including their new $30 million manufacturing facility in Queretaro, Mexico. JAFRA products are sold globally in 18 countries across Latin America, North America, Europe and Asia.
We recently helped find JAFRA’s new VP Finance to take over leadership of global finance and accounting, thereby allowing the CFO/COO to focus on major supply chain and technology initiatives at the company. Learn more about JAFRA and their mission at www.jafra.com.
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