Despite the looming shadow of Brexit, many UK organisations are still recruiting – albeit on a temporary rather than permanent basis. Many industry sectors are reporting that it is still difficult to find the right candidates with the right skills and experience, despite the fact that many people are out there searching for new roles right now; myself included.
Is it a matter of the right skills not being out there in the job hunting population or is something else at play? Here are a couple of examples to illustrate what I mean….
A friend, J, is looking for a new role and career change. Knowing this he is prepared to take entry level role with the right organisation as long as it gives him what he’s looking for. J likes being outside, getting up early and working autonomously – he thinks that being a Postman is just the new career for him. Then he tries to apply for a role with Royal Mail….. To cut a long and painful story short, J’s “candidate experience” is a very negative one.
Why, you may ask? This should give you a flavour and is not unique to the Royal Mail:
Applications have to be made via an online recruitment portal, which requires you to register, fill in your personal details and to complete an online assessment. Easier said than done…. J is fairly computer literate and his brother is an “expert” – they try and fail several times to register a basic application. There is no phone number, email address or help option for him or other applicants to help them with this labyrinthine application process.
If J wasn’t so keen he would give up now. Other suitable applicants may not have the “IT savvy” or the perseverance, so Royal Mail is losing out on a potentially large candidate pool. (how IT savvy do you need to be a Postman anyway?)
- Where there are multiple vacancies, perhaps with a minor change such as working hours / days or work base, J has to apply separately for each. Each time he applies for a role he has to do the exactly same online assessment again and again. Frustrating, a waste of his and the Royal Mail’s time (and money?) and it undermines the validity of the assessment. (practise makes perfect – so repeating the test and getting the feedback means you can easily boost your scores).
- J finally manages to get an application registered and waits to hear. And waits…. And waits. The closing date has been and gone, and despite being told to check his “portal” for progress / an update, there is none. There is no phone number or email address for him to chase this up so he has to decide whether he waits any longer. He’s been invited to attend another interview for a different role – so perhaps he’ll just go with that one instead.
I can echo similar experiences to J’s and can add to the what not to do list further:
- I have a non-standard address and post code – the computer says “no” to allowing me to progress my application. Now what – make one up? (easier said than done)
- The salary and the exact work location are a mystery. How do I know if the role is paying enough for my needs and am I able / willing to work in that location? (client confidentiality is not an excuse!) Should I bother to apply?
- Do I really want to spend hours filling in a very detailed online application form when the majority of this information is on my CV? Can’t I just upload my CV and add in the missing bits? Also – I can’t save my application part way through – it’s all in one go or nothing. I don’t have 2 uninterrupted hours available so perhaps I won’t bother….
- The recruitment portal promises to save my details for next time, should I apply for other roles with the organisation. It doesn’t…. I have to start again if I want to make another application – do I want to go through that pain again?
So in summary, many of the issues that are putting people off seem to be due to overly automated process with no “human touch”. Theoretically going for an automated, standardised recruitment portal should make recruitment slicker, cheaper and easier for your organisation – but what about for the candidates? The initial impression they get from your recruitment system can be extremely negative and it means you have lost them before you even know about them. Employee branding, good PR, your employer reputation and your brand recognition / values aren’t going to change that.
Is it time for a rethink and change to your recruitment approach? We can help……..