I recently had the experience of taking my car to my local dealership for a problem with the transmission. Of course, when the technician drove it, the transmission worked fine. They also told me that there was no code read outs on the electronic gizmo they use, so they did not know what to do. I asked if they had looked at the transmission fluid to see if there were any shavings, and the service guy looked at me like I had two heads. The answer was no, they had not but suggested that instead, I should keep driving the car until the check engine light comes on so it will be easier for them to diagnose. The dealership has gotten so used to a machine providing the diagnosis for them, that a simple manual inspection is out of the question. The result in this scenario is that they just lost a customer.
How about your organization? Is the customer service in your hiring processes so automated with keyword checkers, HR Departments that only look for attractive resumes, or an online application portal that is such a pain that the good candidates seek employment elsewhere? I currently work with one organization that has a 42-page hiring packet, and will not allow an electronic signature. Every hire must print, sign, and scan or fax all 42-pages and when discussing it with HR, they seem oblivious to the inconvenience as well as the challenge for many who do not own a scanner. And when was the last time you used a fax machine?
I had a candidate recently tell me that she had gotten hired by a hospital and while she was in new employee orientation, she got a call from HR telling her that they were sorry, but the position had been filled. She said she laughed out loud at the absurdity. Unfortunately, these stories are very common in today’s market. First, the department that is tasked with talent acquisition is also responsible for scheduling interviews, new employee orientation, updates to policies and HR procedures, human capital comparison, annual salary reviews, and the list goes on. Suffice it to say, they don’t have any skin in the game to fill the critical needs of any organization. And in fact, every time someone gets hired, it adds to the other responsibilities on their plate; it an interesting dichotomy.
What does this have anything to do with customer service? Everything! If a candidate is treated as a customer and provided a great experience through the hiring process, you begin the employee/employer relationship with someone who is impressed with your company and therefore the first impression is a great one. If your process does not start with excellent customer service, there is frustration, irritation, and a big fat question mark as to whether they are making the right decision to take the job. This can tank a new employee’s attitude from day one.
Basically, there are three choices:
1) You can attempt to emphasize customer service in your HR department, which of course will require a lot of time to ensure compliance
2) You can take over the responsibility of talent acquisition and recruiting for your own department’s open positions and not get your regular job done
3) You can choose to work with a recruiting firm that specializes in customer service which will take a ton of work off your plate.
As the market tightens for qualified ‘A’ candidates and you want to compete for that top talent, I recommend that you make one the above choices. Technology is great, but when you are seeking the ‘fit factor’ for a new staff member, a computer cannot identify the soft skills you are looking for or the personality that you want.