At eighteen years of age, I applied for a sales assistant position at a well known, high end department store. The first step in the recruitment process was a group interview with twenty to other eager candidates. The interview started with a speech made by a company representative, boasting about the brilliance of the organisation and how anyone would be desperate to work for them. I remember thinking at the time how arrogant their approach was. This perception was confirmed when I did not hear a word after the interview from the “too good” company. Not a surprise since the two hour, exhausting session was an unorganised mess.
For years following the encounter, I refused to set foot in one of their stores. I told numerous people of my experience, specifically their arrogance and disrespect of people’s time.
Fast forward twenty years, this time the interview was for an executive position within a large Australian retailer. The interview seemingly went well and was advised I’d hear back regarding the next stage, with several other applicants still to be interviewed. Several weeks later, I was still left wondering therefore, I called their office only to be told a decision had not yet been made. Coincidentally, I bumped into one of the interviewers who was genuinely surprised that I had not yet been notified, as the decision had been made some time ago. In his embarrassment, he confessed I had been unsuccessful as they’d decided to go with someone internally.
A week later, I received the phone call from their office, telling me now for the second time I had been unsuccessful. As someone with experience in human resources, I was completely dumfounded by how unprofessionally things had been handled. I obtained the impression this organisation did not value transparency and communication and to this day I avoid visiting their very big chain of stores.
Unfortunately these stories are common, with businesses having hap hazard, unprofessional and sometimes disrespectful recruiting practices. Employers must be mindful their candidates are also potentially their customers.
Just as a business is evaluating the applicants’ suitability for a role, an applicant is also making a judgement or evaluation of the business. They have an insight into its inner workings, which can expose all sorts of inadequate practices and a glimpse into its culture and values.
Not only may a candidate re-evaluate their desire to work for the company but their overall impression and desire to do business with them as a customer may also be influenced.