Firms who treat potential employees poorly risk losing business

22 December 2017

Companies should be wary of how they treat candidates for roles in their organisation, or risk reaping a whirlwind that could see their consumer-base fall, according to latest research. Less than a fifth of job applicants would remain a customer of a business if they had a bad experience as a candidate there, while almost half would be likely to urge their friends and family members to stop being a customer.

Fresh research of professionals across Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA), has cast new light on the importance of sound hiring practices. Amid increasing competition for top employees, as talent scarcity – resulting from an ageing population and a drop in migration relating to Brexit – threatens to pose serious problems to the human resources market, firms would do well to consider the possibility that their recruitment process is costing them top talent. According to the new analysis from consulting firm Korn Ferry, irrespective of whether they felt the role was a good fit, a staggering eight-in-10 prospective employees are unlikely to accept a job offer if they were treated poorly during the recruitment process.

Word-of-mouth communications are a key factor for potential hires, with a substantial majority of 93% admitting to researching online sites that give feedback on working for the company, such as Glassdoor. For 34% of those surveyed, the elements that mattered most to them on a career website were video or case studies from a range of employees on company culture and what it is like to work there. A key tactic to help win candidates over in this regard could be to adopt an employer branding strategy, which can be brought to life using a company’s digital platforms, Korn Ferry’s researchers suggested.Firms who treat potential employees poorly risk losing businessFurther, the survey, conducted by the Futurestep division of the firm, illustrated how a poor recruitment campaign could also directly impact an organisation’s profitability. The 422 responses garnered by the research, demonstrated that amid an environment of increased competition and lowering brand loyalty, groups that upset their potential staff stand to lose ground in their respective market. A minority of 19% would remain a customer of a company if they had a bad experience as a candidate, while 48% said they were likely to urge their friends and family members to stop being a customer too. Furthermore, 25% would consider taking to social media to share their bad experience as a candidate applying for a job – potentially spreading the bad word well beyond their nearest and dearest.

When those polled were asked by Korn Ferry to explain what would aggravate them most during a recruitment process, two issues came out on top. The largest group of 37% said that not hearing back from the recruiter or hiring manager would aggravate them the most, while 34% suggested that an employer being rude during an interview would rub them up the wrong way. Almost a third of respondents meanwhile said they believed recruiters fail to clearly define tools and tips that they would need to seal the deal and land a job.

Jonathan Brown, a Managing Director at Futurestep, warned that companies risk alienating not only strong candidates, but loyal customers if they don’t make a concerted effort to create an efficient, welcoming and informative environment during their hiring process. “This equates to significant costs, both in terms of the time and money wasted during the hiring process, as well as loss of revenue from fleeing customers,” he added.

“There is absolutely no excuse for recruiters and hiring managers to not respond to candidates, even if that communication is electronic such as email or text. New technology and AI tools are automating many of the traditionally manual recruiting tasks, freeing up time for recruiters to provide stronger candidate care and strategic counsel to their clients,” Brown concluded.

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Why leaders must balance technical expertise with soft skills

17 April 2019

Soft skills matter in the workplace just as much as technical expertise, writes Samantha Caine, Managing Director of Business Linked Teams.

For too long technical expertise has been seen as the marker of a strong candidate for development into a sales or leadership position. Sales and leadership candidates are tasked with demonstrating a diverse and wide-ranging set of technical skills, yet their aptitude in these technical skills or ‘hard skills’ cannot signify great leadership potential. This is why a healthy balance of soft skills and technical ability is required. 

So what exactly is the difference between technical skills and soft skills? In engineering, it’s crucial to demonstrate knowledge of physics as well as a strong grasp on mathematical equations. Yet, in any industry, it’s important for leaders to be able to interact with other people effectively with soft skills like communication, empathy and adaptability. 

Business Linked Team’s 2018 study into internal leadership development revealed that 69% of large organisations are prioritising the identification and development of future leaders from within the workforce. As more and more organisations begin to invest in sales or leadership development within their existing workforces, more focus needs to be placed on ensuring the right soft skills are in place. 

With those soft skills in place throughout the workforce, the business will benefit from a wider pool of potential leaders developing under their noses, and it should be the same where sales candidates are concerned. 

It’s not just about easier access to ideal candidates for these positions without the rigmarole of recruiting from outside of the organisation. The leadership development study also found that 89% of HR decision makers say succession planning has become a top priority. Those currently serving in leadership positions can’t lead forever and the same goes for those generating sales for the business.

Why leaders must balance technical expertise with soft skills

From people leaving for new opportunities or retirement, to people simply stepping aside to focus on other areas of the business, successful leaders and salespeople require experienced and capable successors that will be ready and able to confidently step into their shoes and pick up the mantle without the business experiencing any lapse in performance.

Soft skills make stronger candidates

When it comes to the soft skills required, a strong leader must be able to manage through clear communication and effective time management, coaching and goal setting. They must be able to demonstrate empathy and empower their teams to be successful, productive and fully engaged. And beyond simply giving direction, they must also be able to take direction from those above them and cascade the business strategy down through their teams. 

A strong sales candidate must possess the ability to communicate value to the customer, negotiate well and protect margin or the ability to increase the scope of a particular sales opportunity. 

With the relevant soft skills in place, the business will benefit from increased productivity, greater agility against changing market conditions and greater transparency. In turn, this will provide visibility on issues and inefficiencies while removing opportunity for miscommunication. All of this can transform the culture of a department, improving employee satisfaction and reducing staff turnover. 

Ultimately, developing leadership or sales candidates will require the business to strike the right balance between technical skills and soft skills, and this requires an effective and sustained learning journey.

A balanced learning journey

Facilitating and supporting the development of leadership and sales is best achieved by establishing training groups. By cultivating training groups, businesses are creating talent pools that will inspire and support each other on the learning journey. However, personal goals and learning objectives must be defined for each individual based on their own existing skillsets and the skills that each individual needs to develop. 

With the emergence of e-learning, businesses recognise the value of online-based learning activities, yet many make the mistake of opting for one-size-fits-all solutions which are solely focused on self-study. A development solution will only deliver true return on investment if it combines e-learning activities with group learning activities that provide opportunity for shared experiences and support.

A blended learning solution that combines self-study and face-to-face group learning activities will aid strong development of the talent pool through shared experiences. Through these shared experiences, those undergoing the training will organically develop a support network that supports the development of the group as much as it supports the development of each individual. 

The blended learning approach is supported by one of the seven principles of human learning that socially supported interactions aid the individual development of expertise, metacognitive skills, and formation of the learner’s sense of self. The strongest opportunities for development can be unlocked by blending workshops with online activities such as virtual sessions, peer coaching, self-study, online games and business simulations. But it’s crucial to provide a blend of one-to-one and group sessions too.

Beyond delivering a better learning outcome for the employee, the blended learning approach allows organisations to adapt their training quickly and easily to shifting business demands in an ever-changing landscape.