Recruitment: Ignore the basics at your peril

I recently set out to find a new senior HR role and approached a number of specialist HR recruitment agencies.

I expected to be bombarded with vastly unsuitable roles and I was not disappointed. But I did not expect to be told by one agency that the only interview slot available was 18 hours later, 30 miles away, and that my inability to attend implied I was not very flexible or committed to the role.

I then encountered the (mainly blue-chip) organisations themselves.

While some were slick and efficient, some choice quotes include:

  • At final stage for a major global outsourcing company, I was advised: “We’ve decided not to go with you because you reminded us of someone who did not work out.” Gee, thanks – that attitude reminds me of companies that get sued.

  • At a large airline infrastructure organisation, I was told: “It’s our policy not to give candidates feedback.” And how are your industrial relations?

  • In another, needing a comfort break, I was sent outside by a receptionist to an adjacent coffee shop as “You can’t use the company toilets because you’re not an employee”. And guess what, I now don’t want to be.

  • Finally – and ironically at a transportation firm – I was advised my interview was cancelled because the interviewer was in another office about 80 miles away, though my appointment was in the diary. I’m still awaiting an apology for wasting my time.

Do I have unreasonable expectations or are we HR people so busy impressing with our business partner credentials that we forget it is the delivery of basics that truly supports the organisation and reinforces its brand?

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