Totally lacking in professionalism...HR in my opinion has just dropped...HR has either been outsourced or become simply an administrative function for most companies...HR only cares about compliance these days, not about the job candidates...HR in many cases does not represent the company very well. And you should have heard the bad things this group said about HR.

I met with several professional acquaintances the other day. One of them is a technology executive, a former VP of software engineering, who was laid off when his company made a big pivot.

In the time since his last employment ended, he has worked with a dozen or so recruiters and gone on lots of interviews. He has continued to work his contacts, and keep his confidence up though, and it appeared recently as if he was finally heading to the finish line with a company that seemed like a good fit. The thing that made him feel as if this might be the one was how much time and money the company was putting into the interview process.

He met with the HR Director. He met with department heads. He met with those who would be his direct reports if he got the job. He met with the CEO. He had group interviews. He had one-on-ones. He had an 8-hour session with a shrink. And he took a 4-hour online test.

He met with the HR Director. He met with department heads. He met with those who would be his direct reports if he got the job. He met with the CEO. He had group interviews. He had one-on-ones. He had an 8-hour session with a shrink. And he took a 4-hour online test.

Now we can discuss the efficacy of this process another time, but suffice to say for this post, he was going through an excruciatingly long interview process, and assumed he surely must be part of a very small pool of candidates.

He doesn't know that. What he does know, is that he received an email, an email!, saying that while they appreciated his time and effort, and feel he is a really good candidate with a lot to offer (someone else), they have "decided to go in another direction."

We have had the discussion about what a potential employer "owes" a job candidate several times in this space. You can read one of those previous posts here.

And some Staffing Talk readers have raised the issue of liability concerns and other things that might prevent a company from providing detailed information about why a candidate didn't make it to the finish line.

But I hope we can all agree that given the amount of time this candidate invested in the interview process, estimated to be around 15 hours or so over quite a protracted period of time, he at least deserved a phone call. A phone call?! Right?

HR can be a differentiator, a way to gain competitive advantage. Conversely, HR can also do damage to the brand.

So it was as soon as he finished his story that the others in this group, who include a former CFO-turned-consultant, two former CEOs looking for family-owned businesses to buy, and a couple of entrepreneurs, began to chime in with the aforementioned comments about HR that began this post.

I will add a couple of comments from a brand and marketing perspective. HR is a brand touchpoint via the things bulleted below:

  • recruiter contacts
  • website
  • recruiting ads
  • interview experience
  • interview follow-up and response
  • offer
  • compensation and benefit package
  • training
  • exit/separation

Of course, there could be more, but you get the idea.  Companies that practice great HR are constantly thinking about these touchpoints, and are deliberate about creating and cultivating the same kind of employment/employee brand cache they enjoy with consumers and customers.

HR can be a differentiator, a way to gain competitive advantage. Conversely, HR can also do damage to the brand, and needlessly make enemies out of people who needn't be.

Are you managing your HR touchpoints with strategic care? Do you audit these areas?

And what do you think of my friend's experience? Was it reasonable to expect at least a phone call? Should the company offer any details as to why he wasn't hired? I'm looking forward to a good discussion on this one.

Tags: HR, Job candidates, Job Interviews, Human Resources, Interviews, Industry, Brand touchpoints, Brand, HR as brand touchpoint, Human resources management