Companies often spend a lot of time identifying and clarifying their culture and values. This process can be very useful, but a company’s culture and values are usually communicated “by what they do and not by what they say.”
The hiring process is an enormous opportunity for a company to communicate its culture and values to potential hires. It is very similar to a product purchasing process. A company often gets one chance to make the right impression on a consumer who may then communicate their experience (positive or negative) to many others. The hiring process is no different. A candidate’s experience during the process may reveal more about the company they are looking at joining than the glossy handout provided by the recruiter that states the company’s values.
The hiring process is the gateway for new employees to learn about a company but the process itself is often overlooked. Many companies use assessment tools to help determine if a potential employee is the right “fit.” These tools may be of great value, but organizations often forget that a candidate is also evaluating whether the company is the right “fit” for them as well. A few examples:
A company mentions that they are looking for someone who can work in a fast-paced environment and is a quick decision maker, but their hiring process is the exact opposite and very slow.
A company espouses integrity and honesty as a value, but doesn’t present itself that way during the hiring process.
A company that prides itself in its technology and product and services offerings has an applicant tracking system that is extremely frustrating to use and asks for too much information (i.e. social security numbers) just to apply for a position.
Many companies also often fail to realize that the messages they go to not just the new hire, but all the applicants that did not get hired. In an instance where there are 200 applicants for one position, an organization should be asking itself what they are communicating to the 199 applicants that were not hired. Those individuals may be the right hire for another position or they could be recommending a future hire depending upon their experience.
I would suggest as a business leader or HR professional that you take some time and evaluate your hiring process to see what messages you are actually communicating to candidates. The market for top candidates has always been tight, but it is becoming increasingly tougher in many areas. How you develop and implement your hiring process can provide you with a competitive edge over other organizations vying for the same talent.