How to Recruit Badly

I should start this post saying how much I love the town where I live. Really. I have wonderful neighbors and I feel strongly about my community. I expect this relationship to grow as next year my oldest begins kindergarten and I learn more about the school system my tax dollars have been supporting all these years. 

I am fortunate to live where I do, and I am still a supporter of my community, but I have to say their recruiting process could use some fine tuning and that is the nicest way to put it.

In the “what were we thinking” category of life, my husband and I decided that it might be a good idea to re-think our professional focus as a family and see about shifting his career from a monetary focused strategy to a more community-based one. We had this idea that maybe shifting to a schedule that didn’t have travel, was part time, and that helped our community would be worth the one-fifth salary.

I know. I know. REALLY —  I do know. You want to understand what we were smoking. I have no defense there. It was a moment of weakness, what else can I say?

So, we went down the path of applying for a job with our city. I say “we” but I think we all recognize that my role was the “have you submitted that application yet?” kind of role. As an observer from the side, I was horrified at just how badly the whole process was executed. A real embarrassment to the Recruiting profession. Being the kind person I am, I decided I should share this experience as a “what not to do” when recruiting in the 21st century.

To say that applying for a job with the city was different then applying for a software-based professional job is to understate the situation. Here is the summary of the process from the candidate point of view.

  • Upon inquiring about the job, paper application form was sent to us in the mail – of course, I almost threw it out as junk mail.
  • My husband was able to fill out the application online, not that the experience was great, but having some personal experience with development of online applications, I am very careful not to throw stones here, no matter how much I want to.
  • Of course, the waiting for confirmation and information was exponentially longer, but this wasn’t surprising to me, I guess I was expecting that.
  • The first round of interviews was a panel and here is where the situation went downhill. No offer of a beverage, 45 minutes of questions, and never was there an opportunity given for any question to be asked. Seriously, they fired off questions like an inquisition and then escorted in the next candidate.
  • The follow up from the panel interview process was again in the mail, and that was to tell him he was one of the finalists. I’ll say it again, the candidates they thought they wanted to hire they informed via snail mail. Talk about positive impression. Yup, I really want to work with these people – the ones who can’t be bothered to call the three finalists to come back for a second interview. By now, as you can imagine, our enthusiasm for helping our community was seriously being threatened, but we decided to stay in to see how the process completed.
  • The second round of interviews was slightly better, and by better, I do not intend to imply that the logistics and human side were well covered, BUT the interviewers did appear to have some experience in conducting an actual interview.
  • Then the waiting process began again.
  • After four weeks without any notice coming via the US Postal Service, we decided that maybe a follow up on our side might be appropriate. After sending an email we got a response that said, “Oh didn’t we tell you? We filled that position already, but we’ll keep your application on file for another year.

To that I can only reply, “well thanks for that.” I guess I can be grateful that our experiment in community-based employment really only involved a few poorly executed interviews and some wasted postage. I shudder to think what the actual employment experience might have been. 

I personally have decided that in the future, I’ll limit my altruism to volunteer work. And as far as employment goes, I think we will focus more on channeling Gordon Gekko in our decision process.

This blog was originally posted on TalentedApps.

Does This Job Make My Butt Look Big?

Thanks to David for reminding me that the blog title is important. Just for the record, I am not covering that job you had that gave you an extra 15lbs by making you work 80 hours per week and feeding you ‘round-the-clock, all kinds of processed snack foods. That is a topic for another post altogether, or a therapy session (or both).

What I am talking about today is more on the idea of engagement and what I learned at a recent conference I attended. 

The session was hosted by the Conference Board and it was a preview into their 2008 engagement research. In a nutshell, they found what we here at TalentedApps have been saying for a while: the most critical element of engagement globally is a well structuredwell designedinspiring job.

This is not just having a job that provides you with growth opportunities, but also a job that fits well into your broader life, balancing the demands of both your personal and professional needs. 

What is so interesting about this study is how consistent this is across a global population. The four questions that “worked” in every geography to measure engagement were about:

  1. Variety and challenge of the work itself
  2. Interpersonal relationship with the manager
  3. Shared company values
  4. Opportunity for career growth

In the US, there was also a strong correlation between goal alignment and engagement. My personal guess is that this is evidence that the focus on strategically aligned and managed goals is beginning to take root. 

As we look at strategies for getting the most from ourselves and our teams, we must focus closely on how we define and measure jobs. That, to me, should be the strategic agenda of anyone interested in turning the employee engagement focus from a fad to a result.

This blog was originally posted on TalentedApps.

Why Are We Smarter About Puppies Than Humans?

While before I was talking about feedback in general, today I want to talk specifically about positive feedback and the merits of praise. 

Just coming back from The Conference Board’s Employee Engagement and Retention Conference last week, I was struck by just how far we have to go in this area. One point that summed it up for me was the following set of questions and responses.

When asked, “do you need encouragement to do your best at work?”

20% replied yes. 

When asked, “when you get encouragement, does it motivate you to do your best?”

90% replied yes.

We all read this and think “of course,” we know this. So I ask you, when was the last time you said thanks?

Does your team make it a standard practice to recognize the contributions in an authentic and timely way? Why do we understand so easily when training puppies that rewarding good behavior causes them to behave, but with people we focus on “constructive feedback” (and maybe once a year?!) and expect that to yield results.

I would encourage you to consider making a serious [focused] effort to say thank you more often. Not only will it help someone be motivated to continue to do their best, it might also help you to always look on the bright side of life.

This blog was originally posted on TalentedApps.