Home Articles Recruitment, redundancy and the missing R

Recruitment, redundancy and the missing R


Respect can never be underestimated as it is a value many of us hold dear – respect for our information, privacy, views, time, and so on. Yet there is clearly a dearth of respect when it comes to recruitment and redundancy. It doesn’t have to be this way.

Job seekers, recruitment and respect

From the job seeker’s side, it starts with an advertiser posting a job ad, with those that apply assuming that the ad is current and ‘real’. Wasting people’s time with vague job ads where the advertiser may be simply fishing, looking to reverse-market candidates into businesses, looking to build up the number of resumes in their databases, or maybe going through the advertising process as a part of protocol (even though someone has already been marked for the job), shows a distinct lack of respect for the job seeker’s time.

Then move onto the application process. These days, applicants have to spend 30-60 minutes uploading and reformatting their data to suit each prospective advertiser’s Applicant Tracking System in the hope that their resume will be parsed and the right keywords matched, affording them the luxury of actually speaking with a person. It seems more like a production line with tight quality control rather than a process for hiring people.

Job seekers often spend large amounts of time sending their applications into the ether. For most job seekers, a simple email notifying them that their application has not been successful would be welcomed. Or even better, a return phone call or email should they make contact with a specific query. After all it is their career! As a sign of respect one would think it is the least a recruiter could do. Particularly given all this great technology available that one would hope is there to save them time ‘processing’ so that they can focus on meeting and building relationships with applicants.

Time is precious to us all, yet when it comes to the recruitment process it seems that we all waste an inordinate amount of time applying for jobs that are not actually ‘real’, interviewing with people who have no idea of what the job involves, being told after the interview we don’t have the right experience (which was highlighted at the outset in our resumes), or being added to the client shortlist to make up the numbers (as most clients need to see a number of applicants before they make a hiring decision).

Research shows that people don’t mind going through a lengthy and rigorous recruitment process in the event that that the job is real and that the process is outlined at the outset. Managing people’s expectations is also a sign of respect. Due to general inefficiencies, many recruitment processes are haphazard, sometimes political and frequently archaic.

Unfortunately, job seekers often have little choice other than to waste a lot of time going through unnecessary frustration and degradation before they land the job. Recruitment and respect are two words that I have not frequently heard in the same sentence. That is not to say that things cannot change and that there are not organisations out there with professional and recruitment processes that incorporate respect.

Recruitment, respect and advertisers

From an advertiser’s point of view, they too find that their time is wasted. It can start with a client (internal or external) who does not really know what they are looking for and as such may provide a poor job brief. The recruiter is then flying blind, which can lead to those vague job ads you frequently read where if you changed the job title it could be any job that we would all be adequately qualified to do.

The client may be hard to access and unrealistic in their demands. As a result a recruiter can find that they need to make many attempts at advertising to source the right person. Hence as a job seeker you are wasting a lot of your time due to un-prepared clients going to the market to hire.

Recruiters also receive a lot of applications from people who have clearly not bothered to read the ad or address any of the criteria outlined. A simple ‘what is required’ check against what you have can go a long way. If you don’t meet the majority of the criteria the job ad is seeking, save your time and the recruiter’s time and don’t apply.

Many recruiters when they advertise receive large volumes of unsuitable applications. This does not occur as much at the executive and professional levels, but it does still happen. Applicants need to use their common sense and make a judgment call – “Is it worth my time to apply for this job ad?” “What are the odds that I will progress to an interview stage given my experiences?”

One of the great things about online job sites is the ease and ability to view and apply for large numbers of jobs. However, more does not necessarily translate to better or success. Therefore, in order to increase the likelihood of being interviewed and hired, it is not a case of applying for many jobs but rather being selective about what you apply for and spending the time to prepare a terrific, relevant and tailored resume. This will increase your strike rate more than pumping out job applications. It will also free up the recruiter’s time and hopefully translate into more time for them to offer you a professional and personalised service.

Employers, redundancy and respect

Perhaps one of the most important times for showing respect is when employers are making their staff redundant. Unfortunately, due to the unpleasant nature of the task, the redundancy process is often managed far from professionally, with departing staff being shown little respect and leaving the organisations with various emotions bubbling inside them – from anger to frustration, loss of dignity, etc. These emotions do little to help the employee and even less for the organisation’s employer brand.

Granted, a retrenched person will go through a series of emotions no matter how well or poorly the process is managed. What matters is that the person leaves with a sense of dignity, feeling that the organisation has managed the process with respect for their needs and emotions.

Consider the example of MySpace, seen as a good employer by global standards. When times were good it was an organisation overflowing with bright, hardworking, committed and innovate employees. It offered a great employer brand and culture. Hmm, well not any more it seems.

The company recently laid of over 30 percent of its workforce in a less than professional fashion, also managing to bungle the final pays of its retrenched staff. In a press release announcing the layoffs, CEO Owen Van Natta called the company “bloated”. Just what the terminated workers needed to hear.

There are some terrific resources and services available to assist organisations in managing the redundancy process in a dignified manner. Good outplacement providers will offer to manage this part of the process for the client as a part of their service.

Kelly Magowan is the founder and CEO of Six Figures, a premium job site for $100K+ jobs and contract opportunities across all industries and professions. To help you value and negotiate your worth, visit Six Figures to download your free Salary Negotiation Guide.