Hiring managers always tell me, “It’s so easy to find candidates with technology today. Why don’t you have more candidates for me?”
Unfortunately, it’s not socially acceptable to respond, “Because your company sucks and no one wants to work there.”
Thanks to LinkedIn and social media, finding candidates is certainly much easier than it used to be. Thankfully, the days of calling into a company and dialing through the list are long gone. (I would like to personally apologize to the phone operators at various financial institutions that I hounded daily—one was so fed up with our company calling she gave my colleague the company directory.)
But even advanced technologies that simplify the recruitment process don’t eliminate the problem of companies with unappealing employer brands.
One client of mine wanted to know why they couldn’t hire more employees in one of their smaller locations. They ensured they had perfect Glassdoor reviews, a compelling mission statement, an excellent pay rate, growth, benefits, and a solid culture. Everything was seemingly impeccable—until you looked at the local papers.
Two weeks before Christmas, they had laid off 50% of their workforce. It was the first thing that popped up on Google when I searched for the company. The client didn’t think that was the issue. Luckily, they couldn’t see my face when the results flashed across my computer screen.
Today’s candidates are doing more research on you than you are on them. They know to look at earning statements and lay-offs. They probably have a friend on Facebook who has worked for your company in the past. They’ve seen the angry tweets about work life balance and fuming rants on the web.
The very thing that got you excellent-looking candidates has turned the candidates off from you. I am sorry to tell you, but you have Sucky Company Syndrome (SCS).
How to tell if you have SCS:
- High retention rate
- Poor Glassdoor reviews
- Rants on the web
How do you find talent when you have SCS?
- Make yourself stand apart.
Don’t fall into the trap of thinking buzzwords like “fun culture” and a hip office are going to make candidates jump to you. Instead of touting flaky office perks like free coffee and snacks, highlight your company’s mission, team, or work ethic. What attracted you to the company in the first place?
- Be honest about your flaws
Better yet, embrace your flaws. Lay off 50% of the workforce before Christmas? Take a full-page ad out apologizing and sponsor a local event in the town you screwed over. When you have a bad reputation, address it up front. I recently saw in a job description stating that they were aware of their bad reputation but they are hiring because they want to change for the better. I applauded the honesty.
Today’s candidate will see right through the façade. If your company is not planning on changing, then it is time for you to get out of the SCS trap.
Jeanne McCloskey is currently the Director at Argosight, a boutique recruitment firm. She has over ten years of experience within the talent acquisition industry, including working for Monster as a Senior Manager of Delivery.