Branding and Personal Interaction

By Robyn-Jay Bage

Last month, I blogged about recruitment. I noted that in today’s marketplace, recruitment is about branding and personal interaction. Candidates are more likely to respond to our efforts if we reach out to them in some personal, non-electronic way. Additionally, potential employees want to know they’ll be working for an organization that makes a difference and that their work will be meaningful.

Selection isn’t much different.

  • Bage 8.28It’s personal. One of the most common misconceptions about the selection process is that the person with the most credentials should be hired. Not true! Assuming we’ve done a sound job analysis, we know what minimum knowledge, skills, education and experience are needed to ensure our candidate has the best shot at being successful. Once a diverse pool of candidates has been developed, the first task of selection is culling the applicants who do not have these minimum qualifications. The remaining candidates are, by definition, qualified for the job–MORE credentials do not necessarily make a candidate MORE qualified.

Once we have a group of candidates who all meet the minimum qualifications, the goal of the selection process is assessing the fit between the person and the organization, as well as the person and the job. In other words, will the candidate be happy, effective, and productive in this job at this organization?

There are many factors to consider regarding fit and they all depend on the culture of the organization. For example, if the climate values teamwork and camaraderie, a person who values working independently might not be a good candidate. If the work environment is fast paced, where decisions must be made quickly and information shared and processed like lightening, someone who prefers a slower pace might not be the best choice. Assessing fit isn’t a value judgment. Preferring independent work over teamwork doesn’t make one a bad person. But it might make for a bad fit.

As we strive to improve the selection process at my nonprofit, we’ve realized that the management team subculture values humor, hard work and a “we’re all in this together” approach. Those who view the world differently may not enjoy this kooky culture and don’t do well in it.

  • Bage 2 8.28It’s about the brand. During recruitment, the objective is to attract a diverse pool of qualified candidates by selling the organization’s brand. Present the mission and the work. Proudly boast your strengths and successes. Put on your Sunday best in order to convince top choice applicants they want to work for you.

During the most effective selection processes, however, take off the Sunday garb and stand bare before your candidates. Give them an honest peak at the job–what’s tough about it, what’s stressful, as well as what’s extraordinarily empowering or rewarding. HR professionals refer to this as a realistic job preview.

Our realistic job previews for management personnel include numerous examples of stress, such as stressful decisions, stressful interactions and stressful deadlines. Successful candidates recognize stress must be managed and can be productive. An employee shouldn’t have to resign saying, “You didn’t tell me it was going to be like this.”

How does your organization use branding and a personal approach to your recruitment and selection processes?

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