Recruitment: do as I advertise, not as I do

Harrumph.

Some time ago, when I was volunteering with Leeds United / Leeds Carnegie Ladies FC, I’d be asked by friends, colleagues, and other football people why I did so. It was a lot of work to do and time to give up, unpaid, after all. And the simple answer was that the coach held a UEFA ‘A’ Licence, the players trained and took notice of the tactics board, a few had played for international sides at various levels. They were, in effect, professionals. As was I. All parties brought their own skills to achieve more than the sum of our parts, in our own time, for free. We had a great reputation on and off the pitch, and it was well earned. The effort paid dividends for all of us.

I was thinking of this recently, as I’ve applied for more than a few jobs over the last four months and even got a few interviews, but something’s been bugging me. As ever, no names or pack drill below.

I read the job adverts and descriptions, and they ask for someone who can work in a fast-paced, responsive environment, meet deadlines, etc. Which is, sort-of, the whole point of the public and media relations I used to do.

The adverts will say things like “Closing date: Friday 10th. Interviews to be held on Tuesday 21st” – “Great,” thinks I, “I’ll keep that day free, just in case.”

Now: I can cope with not being accepted for interview. I’m getting used to it. But not responding with the rejection email until a week or so after the stated interview date? That’s unforgivable in my book.

The recruitment team has gone through the applications, selected a half-dozen or so, and individually informed the lucky few *before* the interview date. So why can’t we rejects be afforded the same courtesy? All these jobs are applied for electronically, so there must be a file or database somewhere: “Dear {first_name}, Thanks but no thanks.” Not difficult, is it? I did mailmerging when I was a student in the late 1980s. There’s always Copy > Paste > edit-first-line-with-name-on-it > Send for those who haven’t.

Am I missing something? Recruitment is there to attract people, not repulse them! Or is the assumption that we’re all so desperate for work that we’ll accept the sort of treatment that we PR types would be castigated for if we did it in our jobs?

Public relations is ultimately all about reputation – and the reputation of several employers and agencies in Yorkshire has gone down in my eyes recently. There’s a constant conversation about whether internal communications is a PR or HR function. I respectfully suggest that any organisation wishing to position itself as a great place to work should take a good, hard look at the recruitment response times, and hand the task to the communications professionals. We know what we’re doing. We read the job advert, after all. Probably wrote it, too.

(This post first appeared on my LinkedIn profile.)

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