Recruiters can do better

I read a piece titled “Table Manners” by Christopher Demers and it evoked those unpleasant manners and practices of recruiters. If it is not ‘laziness’ I do not know what word to describe a recruiter who mentions nothing about his client when putting up a job ad. If you wont reveal the identity of the organisation you are filling a position for (even though I frown at this), what about the industry or its market position. I think the focus of every recruiter is to attract a wide pool of talent for position being advertised!

Sometimes when I see ambiguities between job descriptions (JD) and person specifications I wonder if the recruiter had read through the ad before putting it up. The truth could be that these recruiters ‘copy and paste’ already prepared  JD of a particular role for all organisations. In the process, vital details are left out.

The use of social media for recruitment has been on the rise and now a popular source of hiring for most recruiters. How well have they fared on this platform can be determined by the quality of job ads on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook etc. I do understand the constraints of word counts with some of these applications which made it practically difficult to spell out every detail as regards a particular job role. However, I think they can get round this constraint by converting the ad to a web link which can be opened in a new window.

A worrying trend also emerging is for recruiters to tersely post a job role and request for interested candidates to give their email addresses in the comment section. This is a ‘NO’ for me. I wont give out my email address to the public domain with hackers and spammers everywhere. I’m sure other people will share this sentiment. It also gives room for people to send you unsolicited emails and requests. Recruiters can definitely do better than this!

Lack of feedback is an issue so many people have harped on but has lingered in the recruitment industry. The common excuse is giving feedback to hordes of unsuccessful candidates is not practicable. I beg to differ, it is. I wont go into the details of stating the importance of giving feedback as this has been done in numerous blogs but it is important to stress that feedback is possible no matter the number of candidates you have.

As 2015 beckons, we expect to see recruiters up the ante in the new year.

 

What are your areas of weakness?

Being humans, we all have our frailties. There has to be that habit or skills that need development. While it is easy to come up with those strong attributes and excellent work ethics that make up the individual being, the same cannot be said of our weakness. As individuals, we often do not admit our weakness even though a third party would easily identify this. A third party here means that person who relates with us regularly at a close range. This ranges from supervisors, colleagues and even our spouses.

The intriguing question this piece is probing is why it is difficult to individually come up with one’s own weakness. A regular interview question is to ask a candidate his area of strength and weakness. As a HR person, I have heard candidates give ‘not-too-intelligent’ answers when responding to the weakness aspect. The probability of ‘strength and weakness’ question coming up in an interview is almost one. Consequently, It is expected that most post people would rehearse their answers before appearing at interviews. Yet, most answers we get are not genuine and are ‘crappy’ at the same time.

Apart from job candidates, interview experts are also evasive on tips to answering the tricky question. The common advice is for candidates to stress on efforts they are making to correct identified weakness. Whatever that might be! I do share the constraints of coaches and mentors in attempting to render adequate counseling on the ‘weakness question’. Most interviewers are never explicit on the question. Weakness could be in the areas of skill sets or behavioural traits and other psychological competencies.

If interview experts and counselors are evasive on ‘weakness-question’ because of its ambiguity, it is then proper to turn to recruiters and other HR professionals who sit at interview panels. Mostly, the question is being thrown to elicit certain information or reactions that would help the panel in making a sound judgment on suitability or otherwise of a candidate. Are we expecting candidates to be upfront on their weakness? If the answer is yes, then most candidates do not tell the truth on this.

It is imperative we revisit those generic interview questions because candidates are likely not to be truthful with their responses. What we ask at interviews are set of similar and pre-determined questions. It is like a list of commandments which are meant to be stuck to that in so doing we shy away from probing questions and miss out on good fit. It is high time we reviewed our interview strategies.

The title used for this piece is borne out of the need to evoke changes in the way we conduct interview. It is also genuinely aimed at getting an answer to the ‘weakness-question’ as I have always wondered why individuals are never forthcoming on this. If it is also so important for employers to know the weakness of a would-be-employee, it is more important that the question is asked without any form of vagueness. It is only then; career coaches and mentors can give appropriate guidance to their wards.

Bashir Mudi Baba can be reached on Twitter @El_De_Bash