Friday, February 6, 2009

Connect the Dots

Here is a story, based on a real life account, that demonstrates the importance of the Human Resources function ensuring adequate communication between all people involved in the hiring process.

Mr X is a talented overseas Vietnamese with over 10 years IT marketing experience gained in Europe where he grew up and in the USA. He had decided to return to Vietnam for family reasons and is looking for a suitable position that will allow him to continue his career.

Company ABC is a large US multinational in the IT field. ABC has been in Vietnam for over 10 years. Recently the company promoted it's first Vietnamese into the role of country manager.

Through his job seeking activities, Mr X found out the ABC had a vacancy as head of business development. A role he would be well qualified to fill. About two weeks after submitting his details he was excited to be called in for an interview.

Mr X was interviewed by a young and inexperienced HR administrator. The interview went well however the administrator could not tell him about the details of the job, the strategy of the company, and Mr X did not meet any of the people he might be working with if he was successful.

A week later Mr X was thrilled to get a call from ABC company asking him to come for a 'technical interview'. He met the technical director, Mr Dung, of ABC company and they had a long and rambling interview of over one hour.

About 10 days after that Mr X was called by ABC company. His technical interview had gone well and he was told that Mr Dung was impressed by Mr X skills and knowledge, something that that Mr X was happy to know as he knows from experience that in the IT field different companies have different requirement levels in this area. The next step would be a meeting with the Regional Manager Mr Tan in Singapore.

It took a further 3 weeks to arrange an interview time with Mr Tan who was busy managing activities in 11 countries across the region. Mr X and Mr Tan had a good interview, again over one hour in length. At the interview Mr Tan explained that the role in Vietnam was more about attitude and personality and less about technical skill.

Back in Vietnam the HR manager of ABC had heard about Mr X and decided she should meet with him. So Mr X went along after returning from Singapore for another one hour interview. Three days later Mr X was excited to get the call from ABC that his next and final interview would be with the Country Manager.

It took another 10 days for the appointment with the Country Manager to happen. The meeting went well, however it was the first time he had been interviewed by ABC company in Vietnamese (all the other interviews were in English). Mr X was also surprised that the interview was so short, only 15 minutes. He took that as a good sign.

Let's re-cap here. Mr X has been in the ABC recruitment process for over 65 days. He has had 5 interviews. He has been flown to Singapore and back at ABC expense and met their most senior manager in Vietnam.

Imagine Mr X surprise when the HR administrator calls him to say that ABC were not interested in continuing his recruitment because his Vietnamese language skills were too weak and that he did not have a strong enough technical background for the job.

Wow. Mr X is now gaining a certificate of Vietnamese language from a university. He is also updating his facebook page and his 300 friends now know about his treatment with ABC company. He has re-started his job seeking activities and has committed to not getting too excited about any one opportunity.

ABC goes on recruiting in this unstructured way. They waste people's time (mostly their own) and build up then crush hopes. ABC has not yet woken up to the fact that now we are in a connected society. In the past these sorts of things would be known by only the job applicant and their family and friends. These days good job seekers will search the web for information about prospective employers.

In the Executive Search industry companies such as ABC are referred to as 'banana clients'. Consultants are reluctant to send their best candidates to such clients for fear of the treatment Mr X went through.

For large companies internal communications is one of the biggest obstacles to business. HR has a pivotal role in connecting the dots, streamlining the recruitment process and protecting and building the employer brand of their company. Good companies partner with their professional services firms to ensure good quality 'candidate care' and to build a strong reputation in the market.


David Everitt-Carlson said...

Banana? My drawing looks more like a human appendage!

I spent three months with this sort of deal, got the job, and the title "Managing Director" and after a week on the job, still didn't have a signed contract. I was supposed to make a new business presentation to Samsung worth around a half a million dollars on the following Monday. I told them that they couldn't expect me to get Samsung to sign a contract if I didn't have one. I never met with Samsung and never heard from the company again.