Illinois added more than 8,000 jobs in May, so it’s clear that companies are hiring. Considering the Illinois unemployment rate in May was 8.9%, competition for open positions remains stiff and employers are often flooded with applications. Even with an overabundance of candidates, there are basics employers should do to develop and maintain a positive image in the marketplace.
Let’s take a quick look at Mary who is unemployed. She tailored her resume to fit a position description and applied for the job. She then asked a friend who worked at the company if he would forward her resume to Human Resources. Mary was called for a phone screen. During the interview, she learned about skills the company was seeking that weren’t included in the posting. However, Mary was still a good match so she was moving to the next step. When she didn’t hear anything for a couple of weeks, she contacted HR but her calls weren’t returned. Eventually her friend told her that the position had been filled. Mary later found out that others had the same experience. Ultimately Mary, who was a long-time customer, moved her business to a competitor.
What lessons can be learned from this story?
First, treat applicants like customers because many of them are. When customer service is bad, people talk. The application process is no different. One way you can differentiate yourself from competitors is to keep applicants informed. Set up an automated e-mail response to indicate an application has been received. Those who have gone through an interview (phone or face to face) should be told the status of their candidacy – good or bad. Lack of information is unacceptable to customers and should be viewed as unacceptable to job applicants as well.
Second, provide detailed information about the requirements of the position and the qualifications you are seeking. This will not only help you find the best people, it will help candidates present themselves to you in a targeted manner. Be realistic – prioritize the “must haves” and separate them from the criteria you would like to see. Recognize the difference between skills people need walking through the door and those they can learn.
Third, be open to hiring the unemployed. There are many talented people who are jobless through no fault of their own. The Wall Street Journal reported that in Illinois over 33% of the unemployed have not been working for more than a year. Help put good people back to work and help your company at the same time by taking advantage of tax breaks for hiring unemployed (i.e., Hire Act of 2010). (Another tip: keep a watch on the status of the Job Creation Tax Credit of 2011 for an extension of some of these benefits.)
There’s no doubt that unemployment is a serious situation. It’s also true that everyone needs a good laugh now and then. The short film attached to this article provides a humorous look at the controversy surrounding some people’s reluctance to hire those who are out of work.
Here’s a quick rundown of the terms used in the movie:
CRUD (Chronic Repetitive Unemployment Disorder) – someone who is unemployed
CRED (Continuous Reliable Employment Disposition) – someone who is working
BOB – Bottom Of the Barrel
CROC – Cream Of the Crop