Tag: candidates


Yes, I am talking about the coveted Golden Ticket from the Wonka Bar!  If you’ve seen the movie Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, then you know that ticket gave a select few children the opportunity to visit the infamous Willy Wonka Chocolate Factory.  They were very special guests of Mr. Wonka and received a tour of the eccentric Chocolate Factory.  Mr. Wonka had an ulterior motive for inviting the guests.  He was planning on selecting one of the children to be his successor to lead the business and run the chocolate factory into the future!  During the visit, Mr. Wonka treated the children as honored guests.  They were privy to see the inter-workings of the candy maker’s magnificent operations, taste test the goodies, ask questions about the business, and even see what the company was planning for the future.  These children were candidates going through an evaluation process.  As the story goes, Mr. Wonka had predetermined criteria which he is using to evaluate the candidates which included ethics, respect, selflessness and passion.

While Mr. Wonka’s interview process was unique and unprecedented, each of you have your own Chocolate Factory and Golden Tickets when you invite candidates to come in for an interview.  Determining who should get the ticket is just the very first step in the recruiting process.  The most important part of the process is when the candidate arrives at your office and how you treat them while they are at your company.

Similar to the Wonka experience, a solid recruiting process is based on some of the same principles:

  • When your guests (candidates) arrive, be ready for them and greet them as special, invited guests.
  • Determine what selection criteria are important to you and assure your interview is based on those criteria.
  • During the interview process if you discover someone is not a fit, treat them respectfully.
  • Share who you are what the company is about including products and guiding principles.
  • When you do decide on a candidate, have and share enthusiasm with the candidate.

Some other recruiting quick tips that don’t require significant investment other than thoughtfulness:

  • Tell the candidate when you are scheduling an interview how long you expect them to be at your office so they can make appropriate arrangements.
  • Thank them for taking time out of their day to come see you.
  • Coordinate interviews to assure candidates don’t see other candidates.
  • Communicate the next steps in the recruiting process and when they can expect to hear from you.  AND call them when you say you will…even if you haven’t made a final decision, you need to be courteous and let them know that.  It can be a simple call or email.

While the above items may not be a major revelation, they are often mistakenly overlooked.  Your company’s ability to execute these will distinguish you from your competition.  It doesn’t take an inordinate amount of time, work or money to execute these things well.  Identify someone in your organization to own, coordinate and focus on the candidate experience.  Additionally, assure everyone in the interview process understands the “special guest” approach.  Candidates will want to work for you because you are a great company, not just because you have a job opening.

Your golden tickets are special and so are the people who receive them.  This holds true for every position you are hiring.  EVERY candidate is important and EVERY candidate has contacts.

What does HR mean to an outsider? A simple analogy.

HRInsights is fortunate to have two impressive interns working withe us this summer, Kyla Kelly and Lizzy Rewalt. In this post Lizzy, soon to be a junior at the University of Michigan, shares her impressions as a young person interviewing for the first time…Good perspective for business owners and HR…

As an undergrad, and newly immersed into the business dating world (or, as some would call it, ‘job searching’), I have quite a bit to say about HR practices across different companies.

The varying processes created by each company for hiring, and the standards associated with each directly impact my desire to work for them.  When a company fails to realize the importance of the candidates they are looking to hire, they are indirectly telling the candidate:

  1. “We, the HR department, will not be interested in developing a relationship with you, or helping you grow professionally”
  2. “Our lower standards for hiring directly correlate with the low quality of our current employees/your potential future co-workers”
  3. “The inefficient operation of our HR department is suggestive of inefficiencies elsewhere in the company”

On the contrary, a company that pays significant attention to the hiring process will attract conscientious candidates who are eager to demonstrate and deliver on their value.  A cycle of excellence and mutual respect will begin, leading to more positive growth for the company.

The best interviews I’ve had were the most engaging and challenging.  Interviewers who are prepared, (or just talented at impromptu BS-ing) will not only reap the most benefit from the interview to gauge if a candidate is a right fit, but they also set a high standard for future candidates that will flock to their company.

I’ve seen this theory congruently proven throughout my undergraduate experience.  My business fraternity’s (Alpha Kappa Psi, Phi Chapter at the University of Michigan) ‘hiring’ process is intricate.  Recruitment is the single-most important aspect of our organization because our people create our success, (a theory that should be similarly upheld in the business world).  The more we expect from our candidates, the more the fraternity grows.  Our members dedicate days of their time to recruiting: seeking out prospective candidates, preparing events, maintaining contact with candidates, interacting with them, reviewing their qualifications, and voting on the final selection.  In return for our dedication to this process, we have seen more involvement and loyalty from our selected recruits.  Recruitment periods that weren’t taken as seriously by the current membership resulted in a fade-away and disappearance of the selected candidates over time.

Whether you can measure it quantitatively or not, conducting your HR department properly and efficiently will only result in a greater ROI for your business.

Care about your business.  Care about your HR.

(Startupnation thinks so too: http://www.startupnation.com/articles/1399/1/human-resources-small-business.asp)

4 Considerations When Creating Your Employment Application

Recently, I wrote a blog about employers asking for Social Security numbers on employment applications. Well, I just heard about a couple more and I just can’t help but call them on the carpet: Jim Beam Global Spirits and Wine and Home Depot. I went on-line and actually experienced it for myself. Beam Global Spirits won’t let you complete the on-line application unless you provide it and Home Depot has it as part of their “account” sign-up process on their careers website.

I have been in business and HR for a long time and I can’t think of one reason why I would need a candidate’s social security number to complete an application.

Does this strike a chord with any of my HR colleagues? Do any business executives have any other perspective to share?

Other than sharing the embarrassment for their mishap, there are a few key messages that are important for employers:

1. Test your own application process (and forms) as a candidate. Would you put your social security number in the box?

2. Minimize real and perceived discrimination. Don’t put your company at risk by asking for unnecessary personal information from candidates. Candidates can accuse you of using this information inappropriately during the evaluation and selection process. Defending that can be time consuming and expensive.

3. When you need that information, ask the candidate for it and clearly explain why you need it and how it will be used. This minimizes any assumptions and accusations.

4. How would you like it? It doesn’t take any special degree, certification or specific experience to know when something is just not right. If you put yourself in the candidate’s or employee’s shoes, most often you will see what is right and what is wrong. It is worth taking a step out from behind the executive desk!

I would welcome a response from the Chief HR Officers at Beam (Mindy Mackenzie) and Home Depot (Tim Crow) to understand what possible reason they have for asking candidates for this information during the application process. And if they do respond, don’t even think about using the excuse that the information will be used later in the process. They will have to do better than that!