Monthly Archives: February 2016

The Candidate Experience



Recruiting is no easy task and when there’s heavy competition for top talent, companies need to realize just how much the candidate experience matters.  From the time they apply for a job, to the interview process, to the period between offer and first day, candidates are not always treated as well as they should be, which can be a big mistake.

Of course, the job search can be a tumultuous time for a candidate too, and getting prepared for a new position can be even more stressful. Making the hiring experience easy and reassuring for the candidate can go a long way, and getting it done can be simple.

A few things to remember in treating your candidates right:

  1. Get back to them

Even an automated email that says, “Hey, we got your resume and are considering it,” is better than the black hole of waiting for a response.

      2. Tell them what to expect

On interview day, let the candidate know important details like the dress code, parking instructions, expected length of interview, and who they’ll meet. Getting on the same page helps to manage expectations on both ends.

     3. Be clear on all the steps

Make sure to explain the entirety of the candidate process up front, so candidates will be ready for multiple interviews, panel interviews, expected hire date, the offer process, etc.

     4. Don’t haul people back for 3 or 4 interviews

Asking them to take off work that many times is inconvenient and risky to their current job. Don’t blow their cover.  

     5. Explain the Offer Process

The offer process should be clearly articulated before an offer is ever presented. Letting the candidate know the process early on will make everything clearer when an offer is made.

     6. Manage the Pre-onboarding experience  

After the offer is accepted but before their first day, make sure to send them some form of correspondence to keep them in the loop. Something like,“We’re excited to have you…..on your first day you can expect your schedule to look like…” will work just fine.

Remember: Good folks are hard to find.  Don’t screw it up by not being polite!



Photo Credit: www.

Saturday Morning at the Dog Park



I spend a fair amount of time each week at Muttland Meadows dog park in Grafton with Jake and Rosie. I’m amazed at how different the experience can be, depending on the mix of dogs and owners there at the time. Fortunately, both dogs and owners are creatures of habit, so it’s easy to predict.

My favorite time at Muttland Meadows is Saturday morning at about 7:15. That’s when the cool dogs are there. They’re not just cool because they’re good-looking, although some of them are beautiful.   They have great personalities, they get along well with others and they listen relatively well despite the distractions. There’s Finnegan and Flannery, the lovely collies, friendly and dignified. Sam, the Welsh springer spaniel is there with his owner Robert who generally has a small treat for the rest of the gang. Captain, who can be a little naughty, but is good-natured enough to get away with it, and of course Duncan, the cap-stealing Airedale who is a piece of work, but always there….as predictable as the sunrise. And of course, Rosie and Jake, the coolest dogs on the planet—happy to see everyone, but polite enough to give everyone a little space.

Shouldn’t your workplace be like Saturday morning at Muttland? Cool people with their own personalities and purpose who are respectful, listen well and add to the overall vibe. Keep it that way by hiring carefully. It’s not enough to have a set of skills and a list of applicable experiences. Consider whether your candidates will not only fit in your culture, but add to it. Figuring that out takes time and a number of data points. Contact me for help with a careful hiring process. End up with the cool dogs.

Designer Employees


One of the easiest ways to validate your fashion choices is to choose a designer label. It’s not a particularly well-made or attractive purse, but hey, it has those big letter “C’s”, so it must be stylish, right?  St. John’s knit suits, 7For All Mankind jeans, Louis Vuitton bags—own them and you’re styling.  Right?

Employers do the same thing. Hire that woman from GE. Snag the guy from Coke. Make the offer to the consultant from McKinsey. Employ them and you’ve unquestionably upgraded your staff. Right?

The truth is that hiring a designer employee can be a mistake as often as it is a success for a number of reasons:

• Skip the process. If you jump at the candidate with the good credentials without going through a careful hiring process– or any process at all — you’re likely to be surprised with what you get.

• Different environment. What made them successful at the designer company won’t work here at XYZ. I worked at a company that decided to bring in a team of Six Sigma Black Belts from GE. Unfortunately, without the infrastructure and a culture that understood the general charter, they failed miserably and the positions were eliminated within a year.

• Good companies have bad people too. I worked at a bank that was intent on hiring people from a competitor that had just been acquired by an even bigger bank. The executives asked my recruiting team to put together a list of any candidates that came from the competing bank. NOT hiring those candidates required an explanation to senior management. Unfortunately, many of those candidates were either victims of early downsizing or were seeing early indications that their new employer, the acquiring bank, wasn’t terribly impressed.  My employer became the easy option to the unemployment line for many, many under-performers from our old competitor.

This isn’t a wholesale indictment on designer jeans or designer employees. Some work out just fine, but that’s usually for a reason beyond just the logo. Other times, it makes you look like you have (or are) a big fat ass.