Not to air my personal laundry, but my lovely wife who recently went through a trying career experience has some important messages for HR. I had to hear these messages almost every night for six months, so now you’re going to hear them. Enjoy!
Let me set the stage. Her employer of 27 years was purchased and her job was relocated to another part of the country. Suddenly her very predictable, comfortable world was turned upside down. Her employer treated her very well on exit, but suddenly she had to figure out what to do with the rest of her life. Sound familiar? She devoted her entire working life to this one company. I realize I’m biased, but she offered an impressive set of skills to future employers. Promoted frequently, she was a solid professional. Finding a new job would be easy…so she thought.
Message #1: Are companies really looking for good people? My wife applied for over sixty positions during her six month job search, most of which were lower level. She just wanted to get a foot in the door. She didn’t receive so much as a thank you email or even an acknowledgement from ANY of the positions for which she applied. Not one, ever. And she was applying to name brand companies…who frankly should know better. Ask yourself if your application process works the same way and if it does is that the message you want to send good people?
Message #2: Dial back your Applicant Tracking System a little, you’re missing good people! She clearly understood why a company would have an ATS, however her experience was that there were so many nit-picky questions and it was obvious to her when she would fall out. When was the last time you reviewed your ATS screening process? Have you dialed it too tight to weed out the occasional bad apple?
Message #3: Don’t be too busy to network like I was. I throw this last message in because rarely does a week go by that I don’t hear from an HR professional who suddenly finds themselves in the same position as my wife. While she was working, my wife didn’t make time to network. When she lost her job she just couldn’t get her head around what networking meant. Is that an event I go to? Is it Linkedin? I don’t have a lot of contacts since I didn’t work to develop them during my career. I don’t feel comfortable asking help from people I haven’t talked to in awhile. Sound familiar? Here’s one easy way you can build your network – visit the MyCAI Forum everyday and answer someone’s question. That’s it, five minutes max! You’ll help someone and become known as an HR problem solver, and suddenly everyone will want to know you. And then when you need help…
So how did my wife’s story end? Well she was pretty depressed with the job search. One night we went to a party at a friends house (she didn’t want to go). A friend asked her what she’d been up to. He needed someone with her skill set to do commercial business development for his small business. She’d never been in BD before, but had a lot of knowledge of and contacts in his industry. She started six months ago. His little company had it’s best year ever and is now the fifth largest provider in the country. He attributes a good part of the growth to her. Not bad! And again, sixty other local companies didn’t even acknowledge her application. Their loss. Think about it!
Have any other helpful messages you’d like to send to HR? Let us know in the comments!