Volume 19: Principled Hiring

RoyOver the past few months, my Outside the Box articles have covered what I call my “Three Guiding Principles” of Open and Honest Communication , Mutual Respect and Hard Results.

These articles have been written in the scope of how you should treat your current employees, but treatment of prospective and active candidates during the hiring process should take the same principled approach.

This seems fairly obvious, but after over 30 years of recruiting for the Corrugated Industry, I can tell you it’s not as common as you’d think.

Open and Honest Communication

Candidates are expected to be totally Open and Honest with HR and Hiring Managers. They’re expected to reveal their strengths and weaknesses, and pull back the curtains on their lives to give Hiring Managers a peek.  Hiring Managers and HR need to do the same thing and be Open and Honest with Candidates.

If a Hiring Manager expects a supervisor to come in hours before his eight-hour shift and stay well after, HR shouldn’t tell a Candidate they’ll only have to be there eight hours a day. If a company has a monthly bonus system, the HR staff shouldn’t quote the highest possible bonus as the number the candidate can expect each month (unless your plant really is that awesome and you’ve gotten the highest possible consistently.)

These small, truth-bending incidents are very tempting as companies try to convince top talent to come and help their plants out, but they always catch up to you in the long run.

If I had a dollar for every call we get from Candidates we’ve worked with that feel they were lied to during the hiring process and want out, I could retire tomorrow.

They’re not receiving the support they were promised. The Plant Manager is too busy playing golf to help run the plant. The bonus is hundreds of dollars less per month than they were promised. The advancement opportunity they were promised never materialized.

Basically, if you expect Candidates to be completely Open and Honest with you about their background and abilities, you need to be completely Open and Honest with them about the realities of the position and plant you’re trying to hire them into.

Mutual Respect

During the interview process, it’s pretty standard to expect candidates to respond promptly to requests and questions and always be on time, if not early, to interviews.  If a Hiring Manager wants this level of respect from candidates, they need to show that same respect back.

It’s understood that Hiring Managers and HR reps are very busy, and that, in some companies, there’s a lot of red tape to dig through to get someone brought on board. These processes can sometimes take weeks and months. Candidates understand this.

I’m not asking anyone to break protocol and speed up the process, (though, that would help some of your companies attract top talent easier,) what I’m saying is that if the interview and on-boarding processes take time, communicate that to the candidate. Show them the respect of letting them know where they stand and where the process is.

There’s nothing worse from the candidate perspective than doing an interview that you feel went very well, trying to follow up and then not hearing back for weeks. It takes just a few moments to pick up the phone or shoot an email to a candidate to let them know where they stand.

Everyone deserves at least that level of respect.

In Conclusion: Hard Results

Many companies feel they have all the power in the hiring process and can take these liberties by bending the truth or going radio silent for weeks at a time. After all, the candidate needs a job and the company has an opening.  They have the supply and the candidate has the demand.

The reality here is simple.

Be Open and Honest during your hiring process and you’ll hire employees that fit in well and drive Hard Results within your company. Don’t, and you’ll either hire the wrong candidate, or that employee won’t be around long.

Be Respectful during the interview process, and good people will come on board to work for your company, rather than walking to your competition simply because they called back first.

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