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Why does HR recruitment ethics not follow digital engagement?

Author's avatar By 29 Oct, 2014
Essential Essential topic

Re-imagining the recruitment process in a digital world

Using digital to provide a human touch

In relationships between two people, the person instigating the break up may feel they may have little to lose, especially in the early days of the relationship. 'You never return my phone calls, my emails. You never told me why you don’t accept me for who I am? I just get voicemail. Tell me why you don’t love me.'

Unnecessary behaviour

This behaviour appears to me, to often also manifest itself in the HR recruitment processes of companies. Even in a digital age when a prospective employee could also be a customer or even a shareholder. They could be left thinking that if this is how they treat their prospective employees then this is how they might treat their current employees. Worse still, it could mean they walk away as a customer or shareholder.

Marketing Directors and Customer Service Directors are tasked to ensure that customers feel loved, are responded to and kept informed. And yet it seems that this mantra has not transferred across to the recruitment process.

A new model for recruitment

I think that a new model that uses the best of digital but does not lose a human touch is required.

Whether a role is applied for directly with the employer or through an agency, there is no excuse for not providing some form of feedback. There appears to be an accepted practice of telling would be employees something like the following (a real life example):

'Please be aware we receive a high volume of applications for every role advertised and regularly receive applications from candidates who exceed the job credentials. We will only contact you within the next 14 days if you are selected for an interview with us.'

If this was true then one assumes that the HR person has a countdown of 14 days from every job role they receive. In a digital world they could. In reality it is highly doubtful anything like this exists. Even it does exist it is not being used positively.

A human touch could be added to the process by providing a feedback mechanism by email: either some level of reassurance – 'I’m sorry it has taken more than the 14 days we said it would, we are still reviewing applications' Or it could drive the Dear John letters: 'On this occasion we have not been able to put you forward'. Whilst this provides very little feedback on the 'why?' of the rejection at least the candidate can move on and consider other options as they see fit. However, there is also no reason in these days of Marketing Automation why an SMS or email couldn't be triggered with a specific reason, even from a selection, could not be included e.g. 'Your experience was not as appropriate as other candidates'.

In my experience none of these digitally led options exist. In the majority of cases there is simply no communication at all. As a customer and shareholder of the brand I am applying for I may well take my business elsewhere – more worryingly for the brand is that they will never know.

Integrated communications

Truly marketing oriented brands consider all contacts important. All contacts could potentially promote or demote their brand. This is Integrated Communications. A little thought on how digital could be used to increase the communication between candidate and HR/agency would go a long way.

It is time to wise up and use digital technology with a human touch to ensure the rejected employee of today is not an irate customer of tomorrow.

The Smart Insights Digital Marketing Recruitment guide doesn't solve this challenge, but does cover 12 digital marketing roles and reviews the latest salaries for digital marketing jobs.

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