IIDM: How Your Hiring Practices Can Damage Your Leadership Brand - Michelle Gibbings

In this article from IIDM, Michelle contributes her perspective on how hiring practices can damage your leardership brand. 

Bad recruitment experiences leave a negative impression and can shift how someone sees the organisation and its culture.

There are many examples. Flying interstate for an interview only to be told that the meeting would be rescheduled, being interviewed for a completely different role to the one you applied for, or your potential new boss taking a phone call during the interview and not returning for more than an hour.

The potential for things to go wrong during a recruitment process is vast. The process may be too slow and opaque. The hiring manager may be unclear on the role’s requirements and treats the process as exploratory. People conducting the candidate screening may not know enough about the position, so they remove potentially excellent team members. Candidates can feel like they wasted their time because they discovered there was a preferred candidate or received poor advice on their suitability.

Crucial leadership component

Recruiting is a critical part of leadership and vital to attracting and retaining talent. However, it’s also a process many leaders don’t enjoy because it is time consuming and can feel tedious and bureaucratic.

Leaders, however, can’t afford to get it wrong. When you get it wrong, you hire the wrong person for the role, leave talent at the doorstep and impact how people perceive your organisation’s culture.  Research shows that how your organisation’s culture is perceived ultimately affects the attraction of talent.

Also, remember that a potential candidate is a current or potential future customer, and bad experiences travel far.

Align with your brand

While you don’t need to be across all elements of the process, you want to ensure that any aspect that’s outsourced or delegated represents your organisation’s culture and your leadership brand.

Firstly, be clear on where you want to get involved throughout the process. These are likely critical decision points in the process. Allocate appropriate time in your diary to fully engage and commit to the outcomes.

When outsourcing or delegating parts of the process, ensure you partner with people who align with your leadership brand and expectations. From the outset, be clear on your standards for managing and communicating with candidates.

For example, discuss the communication steps and specify how and when candidates will receive details. Agree on the standards for giving feedback and advising when a candidate has been unsuccessful. How this is handled elevates or detracts from your culture and leadership brand.

Determine where technology will help or hinder your desired outcomes. For example, Harvard Business Review recently reported on research which highlighted the negative impacts of using automated video interviews (AVI) during recruitment.

The researchers found that the AVI process negatively impacted candidates and was often biased. Using data from the Berkeley Haas Center for Equity, Gender, and Leadership, they reported that 44% of AI systems are embedded with gender bias, with about 26% displaying gender and race bias.

It’s helpful to get perspectives from a range of trusted advisors as part of the hiring process to ensure that bias isn’t factoring into the decision-making.

Balance external and internal talent

Remember to recruit from within your organisation. Too often, leaders think they need to go outside to source talent when often talent is very close at hand.

You want a diversity of ideas, and it is helpful to bring in new perspectives and experiences. However, when you always look outside, your behaviour tells your employees that career progression won’t happen for them at this organisation. By failing to look internally first, you could be letting good talent leave the organisation.

A candidate who isn’t suitable for a role now may be ideal in the future. As with all relationships, there’s a benefit in thinking long term rather than short term. Consider what skills and capabilities they would need to be ready in the future.

Lastly, recruiting is a crucial part of leadership, so approach it with a growth mindset and embrace the opportunity to learn. Throughout the process, you will learn more about others and, if you are open to it, more about yourself.


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