Chocolate Pillow | Recruitment is a two way process…
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Recruitment is a two way process…

19 Apr Recruitment is a two way process…

Apologies are due firstly for the delay in posting for a while, there really is no excuse except laziness and lack of motivation – but I am back now and tackling something that a lot of companies fail to recognise.

The job market in the UK is not great currently, but there are some opportunities out there which often get a really competitive response, sometimes with hundreds of applicants for just one vacancy.  Article upon article is available that tells applicants how to stand out; but I fail to see many that actually tell employers how to recruit properly and professionally.  I have had the opportunity of seeing some recruitment processes, and being the unwitting victim of others, but how many businesses actually see what the recruitment process is like from the perspective of the applicant, so here are some pointers for anyone working in the recruitment process:

1 – Check your own perception and attitude/professionalism

Okay, you may not have a golden pool of applicants all massively qualified and perfect for the role, but at least treat your applicants with respect.  If you say you will call at a certain time, call at that time; if you say you will respond within 3 days, make sure you do.  Your time is precious but often so is the applicants.  To treat me as though I am second best or worth little of your time, only serves to tell me that you do not care – why would I work for someone who does not care?  Several times in my career I have dealt with companies or individuals who actually portray zero interest in what I am saying – why should I bother sending time talking to you if you are going to spend zero time listening!  Remember that if you actually listen to people, you are more likely to find the right candidate!

2 – Grow a pair and be honest!

An applicant is usually open and honest about their skills and reason for applying for the job, so at least be honest about why they did not get the job!  There is nothing worse than spending a good portion of your evening preparing your CV specifically for a role, only to receive a generic rejection email stating there are more ‘suitably matched candidates’.  It deserves at least a reason more specific than ‘everyone else was better than you’ (which is about as motivational as being whipped!), would you not agree?  Imagine spending an hour crafting your CV to match the job description and skills, only to receive a reply within 5 minutes of emailing your application that rejects you outright with a generic response – please tell me why I am not suited (even if you just tell me I do not have enough experience in the relevant areas, or that I do not have the relevant skills demonstrated on my application etc), so that I can actually improve my application skills.

One huge bugbear of the automated rejection is after an interview!  Please bear in mind that for me to attend an interview, often means arranging time off, travel etc, at cost to me and sometimes inconvenience to me and others, along with all the preparation that can go into appearance etc… only to receive an automatically generated response from you by the time I get home – if you do not think I am suited to the job, tell me there and then and give me a chance to justify.  To send a generic email as soon as my back is turned feels underhanded, and actually tells me that as an employer, you would be unlikely to be confident enough to challenge me when things go wrong or to actually face challenges head on with me…. hardly confidence-inspiring for applying for future roles with your company!

3 – Make sure the job exists

A huge issue I have with agencies – the role that is advertised, but actually is entirely non-existent.  If you as an agency do this, and I happen to apply; expect me to never recommend you, and never actually attend your offices to register.  If you cannot be honest about whether a job exists or not, and have to resort to falsifying jobs to get people on your books, then as far as I am concerned you do not warrant my details on your records.  Just the association of myself with an agency that fraudulently advertises roles could be damaging, and I do not want that association and similarly I may have spent time and effort crafting my CV to the advertised job role, just to find out it never existed in the first place!  I appreciate you want people on your books, but why not just advertise for people to register rather than just making up jobs!  It’s just dodgy!

4 – Watch your wording

Many times I have seen roles advertised demanding excellent command of English, only to be littered with typos… hmmm.  Similarly be aware of what the wording of your advert actually means to potential candidates:

  • Competitive Salary/Negotiable Salary = Minimum wage or just above in most cases!
  • Excellent Benefits = We throw you a bone every now and then but don’t expect anything amazing
  • Well-rounded individual required = General dogsbody required
  • Motivated and hands-on manager = You have hardly any staff and will be required to do most of the work yourself
  • Meets minimum wage = IS minimum wage
  • Ability to be calm under pressure = the job will stress you out massively

This may not be everyone’s perception, however it is mine, and many people will hold similar views.  Again this goes along the vein of honesty – hiding things by using non-specific or generic phrases like those above, can lead to the wrong type of applicant entirely, and missing out on some great ones.

5 – Judge me on my merits and skills, not other aspects

I have known employers who screen candidates on multiple criteria, often some which can cause you to lose some extremely good applicants.  Such criteria I have known included are:

  • Location/distance to workplace
  • Previous employers
  • Current employment
  • Previous/current salary

Okay, none of these seem major, but bear in mind that often the applicant cannot control many of these factors, so why is it fair to judge them on these criteria – if they applied, then they are obviously of the opinion that they can get to the workplace and have the skills needed.


There are no doubt other points that can be raised by other people but these are just 5 that annoy e when applying for jobs, in particular though it has to be the lack of honesty and/or respect shown to applicants by many companies.

Matt Shiells-Jones

Husband, Author, Hotel Manager and ambitious 'old cat lady'

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