The MonsterBuzz debate – The “real candidates view”

On the 24th January we'll be running the first MonsterBuzz debate of 2013. This time the debate will be centred around the topic of “The Candidate Experience – Does it really matter?”.

Our panel of six includes; Gary Franklin (Co Founder of the Forum for In-House Recruitment Managers), Colin Minto (Global Head of Resourcing G4S), Julia Briggs (Founder on HR Interim Group, Interimity), David Henry (VP Marketing, Monster) and Richard Thayer (Founder of the M3 Job Club).

I asked each of them to answer a few questions prior to the event to help shape some of the points we'll be covering. The first set of answers I want to run through are Richard’s. I have attended Richard’s Job Club and know that he can truly reflect the views of those seeking employment - every week he hears the views of our customers and shares them with me.

Q: What is your/their take on applying for jobs and the recruitment process that they go through?

A: Most members are very frustrated at the varying processes for interacting with the plethora of job boards / online application processes with varying degrees of accuracy.

A job search has become more of a process than an engagement. Using technology as the ‘perceived’ answer for recruitment as opposed to just one of the tools to find the ideal candidate, is leaving people isolated, confused and disheartened.

Consistently, members cite lack of feedback as a major issue but this is not just from Recruitment Consultants or agencies but many organisations as well. We like to ensure that members are aware that this is a two-way engagement and of who pays the bills to counter this challenge.

This doesn't excuse inaccuracies when it comes to poor grammar, spelling and/or irrelevant jobs suggestions based on key word searches. This is because any of these factors play a part in helping potential candidates make decisions to apply - they may get the wrong impression or of course apply for something that is simply ‘pie in the sky’!

Encouraging people to take a scatter-gun approach to applying for multiple roles is irresponsible and gives false hope. This is not a gambling game but a serious and well thought out process for many eager people looking for their next move.

Many services now allow just one click to simply apply  for several roles to different companies. We often hear of members having applied for several hundred jobs and gaining a handful of interviews and still they wonder why they cannot get to the next stage.

Clearly the job seeker's responsibilies include having a professional, well laid out, accurate, grammar and spelling perfect CV and these are some of the basics we would highlight. People recognise the importance of a good CV that communicates effectively their sales pitch to prospective employers.

Using the multitude of online services, this flies out the window having to comply with everyone else’s format to harvest potential candidates. Uploading a CV to be transformed into the format for that organisation, having the right key words, profile or no profile, cover letter or no cover letter, locations, sectors, and so it goes on – all of a sudden the CV that is poured over time and time again, resembles another message that is being sort to be told in the original humble CV.

The process of getting through and then facing the feedback that “you are too experienced”, “over-qualified", or "need to work with X, Y, Z companies" is not helpful and many feel that they are not given a fair opportunity to demonstrate their skills, experience and passion.

The wrong key words being detected means you don’t get a chance as you're not in the top 5 or 10 and therefore the end client is potentially missing the person that will fit in, solve their problems and help play a part in building the future.

People feel vulnerable during this stage and are on an emotional rollercoaster with many members facing a big battle in overcoming this challenge. The experience of one day you’re up as you have spotted your dream job to the next feeling like ending it all as you’ve heard nothing, is frequent and it's not felt that there is any concern or responsibility for playing a part in this emotional turmoil.

Bluntly, the job search process is about people, not technology or key words or age but as many members know, 50% is about fitting into the culture. If you don’t meet anyone or speak to anyone, how do you know that such an important aspect of the ideal candidate is going to fit?

Many members feel that although it's illegal to discriminate on age, their age is still a barrier to getting through to the next stage. We tackle this as part of our programme to ensure that employability is at its optimum through utilising practical tools and techniques to overcome the challenges.

The feeling of such a large disconnect between the role and a candidate is a burden that many feel is a major challenge in the candidate experience and one in which, as we continue to utilise technology, needs some refocus and attention to better manage.

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