Feedback, feedback, feedback

Recruiters are often considered as the dark side of the process. It’s true that there are times when we do well and other times when we do not.

One aspect that is fundamental to our role is giving feedback. There is a lot of discussion around feedback and the importance to give and receive it. Feedback should not only be the conclusion of the recruiting process; giving feedback is a dynamic and constant exercise during the whole recruiting process.

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One of the secrets of being a good recruiter is following your candidates during the recruiting process. The feedback can be related to the format of the candidate’s resume, the way of presenting or the needed preparation for the interviews.  Being a recruiter means being a point of contact, from the beginning to the end of a recruiting process and give constant feedback. If feedback is a real gift, it has to help the growth and career development also for the candidates in a selection process. Even the ones that won’t be hired.

The candidate experience is not only about emotions…

You often hear about the importance of the candidate experience. The candidate experience refers to the dynamics related to the candidate’s journey during a recruiting process; the “journey” involves a few actors (interviewers, recruiter) and interactions (the steps of the interview process, email exchanges etc..).

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Many companies try to understand, analyse and talk about the emotional side of the candidate experience, considering the involvement of different actors (recruiters and candidates for example). In addition to that, they tend to associate the candidate experience with the customer experience; the latter is the result of actions or planned actions/interactions between a customer and a company. Do the candidates need to be considered customers? Yes, twice; they are using a service (= your recruiting process) and they are prospects or already customers for the service(s) your company provides to the market.

Is your company really treating candidates as customers? Or are they doing just an emotions check? There is much more than the emotional side when we talk about the candidate experience. Does your company assess the points of contacts with the candidates (social media, company website, news etc), their tone of voice and the quality of the interactions? If not, they should start looking at the complete candidate journey and not only at the emotional experience.

You need to understand if you are a good cultural fit or not.

The organisational culture creates unique workplaces. Why? Companies are built by individuals. For example, two companies of the same sector and with the same organisational structure are different due to the social component.

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When you think about your career, it’s important to understand to which kind of organisational culture you belong to. Not all organisations are the right fit for you and you are the right fit for them… yes, even if the role your applying for matches your experiences.  You have to think about the type of supervision you want (autonomy in the role vs close collaboration with your manager), the visibility (work in a client role facing or not) and the collaboration required in the team. It is important also to say that these aspects (autonomy, visibility, and collaboration) vary during your career. You need to evaluate these aspects in the specific period of time and in relation to your career development goals and ambition.

Finally, remember that the cultural context in your organisation changes over time. It changes and evolves as you do.

Do you want to be in contact with a recruiter? Do not use Facebook!

We can exchange and receive information in real-time; this dynamic and multiple sources’ network boosts innovation, knowledge sharing and relationships’ building.

The organisations have to embrace this revolution and their efforts are focused on (virtual) collaboration and cooperation. The results of this revolution brought also the organisations to be more open:  they have opened their doors to the external world. For example, the recruiting function has been affected by this cultural change; think about LinkedIn, the meetups and Glassdoor. You can search about the company using different media and get to know better the company culture. If you want to reach out a recruiter, it is super easy.

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So, why are you using Facebook? Why would you contact a recruiter via Facebook? Why would you move a contact from the professional level to the personal one? A recruiter might decide to do not answer a message. Additionally, your message might not show up because it has gone to the “spam folder”. So, I would not do it…and if you ask, the recruiters should not use Facebook to find candidates for the same reasons.

Do not say ” I am the perfect candidate”

I am a recruiter and I interview candidates for a living; there are times when the interviews are really positive and other times when they are not.

If you are going to be interviewed by a recruiter, your preparation is fundamental; however, the real difference is made by what you are ready to talk about. Example? Knowing the company’s financial results won’t necessarily help you. So what? Do not memorise the financial results but be ready to talk about your experiences. Considering that you are under pressure while interviewing, you can easily make mistakes recollecting the financial results.

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One of the most asked question by recruiters is: why do you think that you are the right candidate for the job? You can answer talking about your professional experiences, the projects that you have been involved in or the career development path you want to join; these are valuable answers. The worst answer ever? “I’m the perfect candidate”. Let see a few reasons why saying that you are the perfect candidate is not a good idea.

1) You are evaluating yourself …what you think it is not necessarily true.

2) You’re evaluating yourself…however, the recruiter is the one there to evaluate your application.

3) You are trying to impress the recruiter. Interviews are not created to impress but to present projects, your experiences and skills. An interview is not a date!

3) If you have never worked for that specific company, there are definitely things that you do not know about them (processes, tools, the culture).

4) Showing self-confidence is fine.  However, saying that you are the perfect candidate is still not the best way to get started and set the right framework for the interview.

5) If you decide to ask questions to the recruiter about the role or the experiences needed to be successful in the job.. why should you ask these questions considering that you are the perfect candidate? you should know the answers already. The only thing that you are doing is proving that you are not the perfect candidate. You can be a good candidate, a very good one.. .not the perfect one.

Suggestion? Even if you really think to be the perfect candidate (or very close to the recruitment’s needs), well, do not say that.

Interview questions? Don’t talk (too much) about your team

Being prepared for an interview is not always easy. You think about the possible questions, you make a research about the company, you review your resume and you decide how much time dedicate to these activities; I know, looking for a new role is a job.

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In order to be well prepared, you have to think about how/what you are going to answer. For example, you need to decide the level of detail that you are going to provide. When the recruiter will ask you a question you need to decide which details you are going to present… and you need to do it in a few seconds. You need to be ready to present cases or activities that you’ve completed/achieved or that are part of your daily job.

In most cases, our achievements and activities imply teamwork and shared responsibilities. However, even if it is important to show that you are a good team player, you have to present what degree of command you have for your activities. Showing accountability does not mean that you are not a team player. Mentioning only the activities that you are doing with the team is not enough to present your role.

Dear recruiter…

Dear Recruiter,

I hope that you’re ready to start the new week.

There will be new candidates to be interviewed, feedback to be delivered and you will surely have to organise (or reorganise) one or more recruiting processes.

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You have to remember that your relationship with the hiring manager is very important. You have to work on it, you have to listen and you have to understand the recruitment needs; however, do not forget to have opinions. Being available and responsive with a manager does not mean always that you need to agree with her/him. If you do so, well, apart from creating problems in the recruiting process itself, you will always be considered as a support and never as a partner. A recruiting process is only successful if there is a true collaboration between the recruiter and the hiring manager. Remember that having opinions is a good thing; a recruiter without personality or opinions will be always an average recruiter.

Finally, what is the worst thing to tell to your hiring manager? This role is difficult.

What would the answer to the question if I was the manager? Well, what are you doing here then?

Presenting well? It is not so easy

We often think that a great presenter is the one who always uses a specialised and technical language. On the contrary, when we use simple words we think that we are showing a lack of knowledge.

In order to impress the audience, we tend to overcomplicate our way of presenting. I did it too, of course. We want to impress the audience and we want to be perceived as subject matter experts. Are we sure that it is the right approach?

When we feel that we are losing the attention of the audience, we change our strategy. Completely. How? We try to simplify our messages using examples and speaking slowly. We need to keep in mind that when we explain a process, we present slides or when we are just telling a story we are appreciated only if understood.

 

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When I interview candidates, it often happens that they try to impress. However, the result is not always great.  Being specific and giving details is clearly good. Extremely good.  Unfortunately, when we are under emotional and time pressure, we risk losing our focus.  In these cases, the answers result too complicated and full of not relevant details. Answering in a simple way is often much more effective.

It is often said: less is more.

The data scientist self-promotion is like the hacker case.

The recruiting world is influenced by trends, temporary or long-term ones. This post is not related to any employer branding or talent acquisition strategy. It is about a job title: the Data Scientist. Oh yes, we will talk about a job title, not a job profile. Why are we not talking about the job profile? The Data scientists have different expertise, skills and focus considering the organisations they work for. Another variable to be taken into account is the tech stack.  So, defining or discussing the job profile is extremely complicated.

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During the last two/three years, we’ve observed a surge of the need for data experts; it is especially true if we consider the Data Scientists. The issue rises with respect to the research of this profile. Many professional define themselves as data scientists. It happens very often. If a professional manages data, the Data Scientist job title is listed on LinkedIn. However, a Data Manager is not a Data Scientist. 

Do you remember when many software developers were used to defining themselves hackers? We are in the same situation…. Data rhymes with Scientist as it happened with Software and Hacker.

 

Stop talking only about the candidate experience. There is much more!

Let’s start with a simple statement: the candidate experience is very important. However, we need to broaden our horizons. We need to talk about the customer journey when it comes to recruiting and employer value proposition. The customer journey is very important.

Why?

The first thing to consider is that the candidate experience is related to professionals who are already interested in your company. They might be already part of a recruiting process. If your strategy is focused only on candidates, you are excluding an important part of the “market“. Following the advice of the best marketing or acquisition departments, we cannot forget the prospects (for example, the so-called passive candidates) or our customer base (the employees). Therefore, the organisation must think about providing a service to them too.

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Then, the recruiting processes require the commitment of professionals of the organisation, not just the recruiting team. Therefore, all the participants in a recruiting process (for example the interviewers) are brand ambassadors  https://goo.gl/fBP0zM .  Finally, when a candidate accepts an offer becomes a customer of your organisation. Moreover, the candidate, now employee, becomes also a brand ambassador. Organisations need to be aware of this conversion process and need to work to optimise it.

A prospect who becomes an employee through the recruiting process needs to be treated as unique. Why? The professional can decide whether to become a customer of your brand or continuing to be one of your customers, to convince others that your business and your brand are exceptional, refer friends and spreading the word about your brand…. We know that the word of mouth is still the best form of marketing and proposition. What about the candidates who have not been selected? You need to value them and treat them as the ones that accepted your offers. These candidates can be selected in another process, make referrals, being your customers and brand ambassadors.

A different approach to the candidate experience is definitely needed.