Inept employers driving away talent

Mar 15 2004 by Brian Amble Print This Article

Many employers in the UK are undermining their chances of recruiting top talent by giving a bad impression to potential employees during interviews and the recruitment process.

A survey by recruitment outfit Reed found that more than eight out of ten job seekers believed that it is as important for an organisation to make an effort to impress candidates as it is for the candidate to impress a potential employer.

But far from selling themselves to potential employees, many organisations are driving away potential talent with rude, thoughtless or simply appalling behaviour.

Top of the list of complaints by candidates were being kept waiting for an interview in reception areas and kitchens and bad preparation, such as finding that an interview room has not been booked or the interviewer was not there.

Poorly-dressed interviewers and scruffy offices were another turn-off, while inappropriate flirting and smoking, taking calls or eating while conducing the interview were also guaranteed to make a negative impression.

Not reading a candidate's CV – surely the most basic pre-requisite for an interviewer - was another an all-too common problem.

Among the examples of unacceptable behaviour uncovered by Reed was the interviewer who did bother to ask a candidate’s name for the entire interview and another recruiter who wore sunglasses, texted on his mobile, took calls, chewed gum and smoked.

Other examples of recruiter stupidity could land an organisation in court. The female jobseeker was asked if she “still had an active womb” would probably have grounds to make a complaint under EU discrimination legislation.

The importance of making a good impression to potential recruits can be gauged from the fact more than four out of ten jobseekers have been persuaded to take a lower-paid role than before by the prospect of a good working environment, a similar proportion to those who were swayed by the challenge of their new position.

One in three of those surveyed also said that they accepted a job because they felt their new boss was someone they would like to work for.

Reed's Dan Ferrandino added that with unemployment at a thirty year low and demand for skilled workers rising, employers who make a poor impression will find themselves unable to fill vacancies.

"People looking for a new job are prepared to commit a great deal of time and resources in a company, they need to believe that they will get as much out of a job as they are about to put it," he said.

"You wouldn’t buy a car from a showroom where you were kept waiting, the staff did not treat you with respect or that looked like it had been hit by a bomb.

"A job may not be for a life but it is far more important than buying a car or anything else."