Wednesday, February 11, 2015

So Many Stories

Rachel Burnham writes: Bruising, humiliating, exhausting, baffling and soul-destroying are just some of the phrases I’ve heard used to describe people’s recent experiences of applying for jobs.   I’ve heard so many stories, so many personal experiences of recruitment and selection over the last few months particularly.  And few of them good.  Many of them poor, some of them painful.  And I am sure you’ve heard similar.

There are the sheer numbers of applications that people make and the amount of work that goes into each one – so often to get no response at all, even after being invited in for an interview. Or the slow response – in some cases the     so     very     slow     response.  The organisations that only seem to want to employ someone who has done that exact same job previously.  The questions at interview that are so precise and require you to ‘Tell me about a time when you had to address a member of staff’s repeated lateness on Tuesdays.’  (And they really only seem to be interested in examples that relate to Tuesdays!)  The organisations that start recruiting, then change their mind and then change it back again.  The intrusive questions about personal relationships.   The discriminatory questions about plans for children.  The selection tasks unrelated to the job and with the capacity to discriminate.  And on.  And on.

I’ve been hearing tales of young people being overlooked.  Of older people being overlooked.  And the not so very old too – ie the person speaking is the same age as me! (Whatever happened to ‘you’re as old as you feel’).  People whose experience is a little different – self-employed or gained in a different country or just a little out of the ordinary.   People with a period of sickness; people with a disability who’ve worked & studied all their lives.   Could be anyone of us.

And most of these tales come from people working in HR or L&D.  So they know how the system works.  They kinda understand where the recruiter is coming from.  They may have been faced with similar situations of lots of applications themselves & the challenges this brings.  And still it confuses and still it hurts and still it frustrates. 

It is always right to treat people with courtesy.  It surely is possible to recruit and select and even turn people down, yet leave them feeling valued & appreciated.

So why aren’t we listening?

Why aren’t we doing differently?

Rachel Burnham


Burnham L & D Consultancy helps L&D professionals become even more effective.  I am particularly interested in blended learning, the uses of social media for learning, evaluation and anything that improves the impact of learning on performance.

Follow me on Twitter @BurnhamLandD

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