I'm a corporate college recruiter, and find myself spending a lot (and I do mean A LOT) of time coaching candidates so they present well to hiring managers. I'm not talking about technical skills, which are fine; I'm talking about basic things like using good manners, writing communications that aren't filled with text message cryptics or emoticons, or setting expectations that are marginally realistic. It happens daily, and I am really starting to resent that I have to teach the most basic of collaboration skills to get these newbies past first base with a hiring manager. What can I do to keep my cool?
Not Your Mom
Your question made me laugh because it reminded me of earlier Calgon, take me away!
moments while raising my own teenagers. I might be inclined to jump off the nearest bridge if I found myself back there again, only this time without the authority to take away the car keys or a cell phone.
Seriously though, here are your options. You can close off every candidate who acts this way, and the result is that you'll also increase your source-to-present ratio and potentially lengthen time to hire. Alternately, you can set clear expectations sooner with candidates, and make the grooming less hands-on. Both of these options can bring you back to Zen
But before you start, take a quick reality check by asking yourself a couple of questions:
1. Whose filter is it, anyway?
If your blood pressure is going to go up, wouldn't it be nice to be crystal clear about who really cares about the offending behavior? If your Hiring Managers don't care, it's time for you to let this one go and spend your energy in another direction (a la "Who Moved My Cheese
A critical recruiting skill is the ability to reflect the business culture accurately to others, even when it isn't your preference. This is the most difficult kind of recruiting, by the way, because it requires that you make candidate choices without passing judgement on the parties. You're paid to make matches, not clone yourself.
2. Do I want to be right, or do I want to be rich?
If your filter is aligned with that of the business, this question isn't for you. But if you're the only one irritated here and you're not planning to leave any time soon, think about it for a moment. Either option is fine, just be honest and willing to accept the consequences of your actions; refusing to change ultimately leads to pain and separation. Make sure that the value you cling to is worth the price.
I think that you've stumbled on an opportunity to add even greater value to your business by helping generations transition and work better together. Why not create a short roadmap to your company culture for candidates, with tips on what works there and what doesn't? Reference articles like this
for added impact. If provided early in the process the smart ones will self-select pretty quickly (both into and out of your company culture), and eventually you'll spend more time recruiting and less time wiping noses.
In my day job, I’m the Head of Products for Improved Experience, where we help employers use feedback to measure and manage engagement for competitive advantage in hiring and retention. Learn more about us here
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