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Behind Every Resume Is A Potential Customer...and Karma.

I recently heard from an executive colleague who, thanks to a merger, found herself looking for her next opportunity. Her story, probably depressingly familiar to many of you, was all about the big black hole of rudeness and non-responsiveness that so often sums up employers' attitudes toward candidates.

This colleague, thinking she'd see the healthcare world from a new vantage point, pursued opportunities with consultants, IT vendors, architects and other suppliers who, far from appreciating her solid resume, were like the 3 Stooges of clueless.

So back to a senior health system role she went, WHERE SHE NOW INITIATES AND MANAGES RFPs FOR SOME OF THE VERY SAME COMPANIES who wouldn't talk to her as a candidate, but profess their LOVE for her now that she's got money to spend on their services.

Not gonna happen. Any guesses who's off the RFP list?

I smiled when I heard her story, imagining the BusDev people working hard to grow the revenue pipeline, all the while being quietly sabotaged by their HR team.  Sure, you can't hire everybody, nor should you.  But karma is real and, when given an opportunity, why not make a new friend instead of an enemy?

From the New York Times comes a modest proposal: treat job-hunters like, well, customers!
"...in the whirlwind of daily activity, a business can lose sight that there are real people behind all those résumés. And how the company treats those people, well before any of them become employees, says a lot about it, its brand and its values.

"In the current labor market, where there is a glut of supply, perhaps some companies think they have the upper hand and can afford to skimp on the niceties. They are mistaken, though, because every economic cycle eventually turns, and there is always competition for the best talent, regardless of economic conditions.

"It’s for this reason that human-resources professionals and company leaders need to treat job candidates like customers."
Pay attention to job-hunters? Treat candidates like customers? They're a dime a dozen, so where's the benefit in that, you ask? "Oh but we're terribly busy HR professionals..." you say? Sure, go ahead and kiss that brand promise goodbye, along with the last remaining thimble-full of your business model's growth potential.
"A Stanford Business School case study found that some companies get (the concept of treating job hunters like customers) and capitalize on it. Southwest Airlines, for one, recognizes that employment candidates are not only career customers — but that they could also be, or become, customers of the airline.

"Southwest’s core principles of respect permeate its recruiting, where there is a focus on making sure that no applicant feels inferior or rejected. Many Southwest job applicants have a better experience being rejected by Southwest than they have being hired by other companies. As a result, Southwest gets the best people, and it shows in its superior financial results.

"Another example comes from the food industry, where I recently heard a story about a manager from Nabisco who was attending a human-resources industry conference. When he declared that his company responded to every résumé it received — solicited and unsolicited — he was met with incredulous stares from his peers.

'“Why respond to every résumé when that’s clearly not necessary?” someone asked.

"The Nabisco manager smiled and replied, “ Because — everyone eats cookies."
I love that: "...because everyone eats cookies." And they always remember how you made them feel.

The Takeaway: Has your growth trajectory flattened out? Nosedived? Check how your organization treats job-seekers. Go online and try out your HR Department's "application engine." Investigate how (or, if) you communicate with applicants. Undoubtedly, it's no better than how you treat customers...more's the pity. How can your organization surpass HR's performance when it's THEM supplying the talent? Wouldn't they be the lowest common denominator?

Regrettably, I don't foresee it changing until a generation of HR "professionals" and recruiters spend a few months themselves searching for a new job, sending resumes into the black hole, dealing with recalcitrant web sites. At that point they may figure it out. Until then, as Depeche Mode might have said it, Enjoy the Silence.

More on my feelings about HR, here.



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