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When HR Hurts Your Employer Brand

Some HR people should never be allowed to be HR people.

For instance, if you're an HR person who has invited a candidate in for an interview based on a resume they submitted as part of the application process...

... AND a questionnaire you subsequently sent them asking questions about their experience...

... and at the end of the interview, when you ask if the candidate has any questions, the candidate asks:

"Is there anything on my resume or that I have said today, that has been a red flag for you? I would love the opportunity to address it"...

... and your response is anything like, "It's not my job to tell you where you fall short!" or "We've already talked about the requirements of the role!"...

You should fire yourself.

For cause, and without severance.

Because if this is you, you're an HR person hurting your employer's brand.

The scenario I described above didn't happen to me; it happened to someone close to me.

But there's absolutely no excuse for it to happen to anyone.

What's even more ridiculous about this scenario is that the question asked was arguably a good one!

Candidates generally want to present the best versions of themselves during an interview.

Those who ask if there's anything they can clarify or address should be applauded for their interest, enthusiasm, and growth mindset...

... not chastised and made to feel stupid for asking.

Treating candidates with respect and dignity doesn't take very much effort.

But when you don't, it's not just a terrible reflection on the organization...

... it also has a real business cost.

When I wrote Tom Talent and the Terrible, Horrible, No-Good, Very Bad Recruitment Process, I worked with leading insights firm Caddle to survey over 9,000 Canadians.

In this survey, we asked (among other things), "If you experienced what you felt was a terrible recruitment process with a company, how would this affect your willingness to apply to other roles at the company in the future?"

Almost a quarter of survey respondents (23.9%, to be exact) said it would have a "Significant Impact" and that "I would not apply to this company again if I had any other option available to me."

Further, when asked how a terrible recruitment process would "affect your perception of a company's brand or your willingness to buy from them in the future"...

... 56.6% said it would have a moderate or significant impact, meaning they would think much less of the brand and avoid spending money with them where possible.

So a bad candidate experience results in a shrinking candidate pool, a negative impact on a company's brand, and a greater chance of people spending their money elsewhere.

In other words, a bad candidate experience can directly translate into worse business results.

Which brings me back to my initial statement:

Some HR people should never be allowed to be HR people.

A female HR Manager giving inappropriate feedback to a visibly upset female job candidate.

P.S. It should go without saying, but I'll say it anyway: not all HR people are like this. I have many friends who work in HR and none would ever treat a candidate anything near what was described in this post. And yet... "those" HR people exist. They shouldn't but, sadly, they do.


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