Fake organisations

A few months ago I had four hr colleagues participating at the same time in a recruitment process for the role of People Director of one of the sexy companies of the moment, you know: cool image, elegantly rebel, emerging and very promising sector. I suppose that we, HR people, cannot avoid to go through a recruitment process in the purest National Geographic style, magnifying glass in hand and ready to analyse each and every part of our experience as a candidate. After all, this is our job.  The starting point of the process, due to the company’s external image, raised a lot of expectations, so my four colleagues happily plunged into the journey, ready to live a mega candidate experience aligned with what the company promised. To make the long story short, the process turned out to be something like the Hunger Games of recruitment: competitive narrative, arrogant attitude from the company side, lack of communication between headhunter, company and candidates, eternal time lapses between interviews and feedback (if there was any) and, as a cherry on top, after numerous interactions that dragged on over time (the most patient candidate spent six months in the process), the candidates had to develop a case in detail (the company even dared to make one candidate repeat the exercise because “she could do it better”). One by one, my friends dropped out of the process with the same explanation: “As I got to know more about the way this company operates during the recruitment process I didn’t want to work there. This company is just a fake”. Disguised as a silly demand for excellence, the long and tortuous processes only show a lack of professionalism from the side of those who lead them.

In a world where there is more and more fake news, we cannot allow fake companies to exist in any way. There must be coherence between what an organisation says outwards and what it does inwards. It is quite shocking to realise how many companies are still delighted with themselves by offering a super-image to the external client and have not realised the very weak point that represents their first direct contact with a potential internal client (i.e. someone who applies for a job). Some of the companies who are aware of the fact that, for one reason or another, are considered sexy, go so far as to organise ridiculously long and tedious recruitment processes which indeed are a true reflection of what the company really is: a labyrinth. The inconsistency between how the external customer is spoken to and how the internal (potential) customer is spoken to crumbles any attractiveness the company might have had at the beginning of the story.

The way to solve this bipolarity is obvious: make sure that the external and internal customer journey are the same. Narratives, tools, processes, tones and approach must be identical for both targets. Otherwise disengagement and subsequent rejection is automatic, as the audience will feel cheated. And, truth be told, nobody likes to feel like they are being treated like a fool.

Let’s stop playing epic recruitment processes. Let’s look for authenticity and treat the person who is applying with respect. Applying for a job should not become like a casting call in a talent show. Except if we want our company to become a show indeed.

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