Job Shadowing as Part of the Interview Process

Recently, some business contacts and I were discussing some of the issues that HR and companies face in terms of turn-over. Of course, we dissected the many reasons why employees decided to voluntarily leave: pay; lack of advancement; culture issues; and so on. One of the other issues that I had mentioned was the fact that employees feel like they weren’t given a realistic preview of the job before accepting the role. This had us all thinking about our interview processes. Many interview processes have extended from a simple face to face into a longer interview cycle. These cycles can include phone screen, face to face meetings with several members of the team/organization, and presentations. Even after all of those different scenarios, employees still feel that this is the case. So what could we do better?

I thought about all of the interviews I’ve been a participant of over the years and considered the details. Many of the interviews were informative, both over the phone and face to face. The recruiters and hiring managers took the time to interview my skill-set and was also open to answering questions I had about the company, the day-to-day, and the expectations. And although that might seem sufficient, I realized it really wasn’t.

It wasn’t until I experience an interview that involved a 2 hour to half day job shadowing session that I really felt like I got a good sense of the job. In this session, I took time to sit down with multiple people in the organization: people I’d work directly with on a team; people that I would support; and department managers. In each of these instances, the person I was shadowing would take time to show me what their role entailed in a hands-on way. I was visually able to see their to-do lists, the systems they used, their processes, and so on. Additionally, I was able to take notes, ask them questions, and get a better understanding of how it all worked. This also allowed the person who was “interviewing me” to see how much I truly understood about the job and really actually see if the experience I claimed to have was legitimate.

In addition to getting a realistic view of the role, the company, and the people I would potentially be working with; this also gave the company an opportunity to get a deeper understanding of how I would fit in. They tested my knowledge, they saw how I was responding, and they saw how I interacted with different members of the organization. This was a fantastic way to not only see if the role/candidate was a match but if the candidate/company also had a cultural and value match. It helped me feel extremely confident when it came to deciding whether or not it I would be happy in this role and company. It ensured that surprises were limited and I knew what I was getting myself into. And vice versa.

Although recruiting and interview processes are extensive as it is, I would love it if more companies took the time to include this in their interview loop. I would be curious to know if this could help limit the turnover of employees, whether voluntarily or not. I know it made a huge impact and difference in my candidate experience.

Photo Source

You’re so Vague- You Probably Think This Post is About You

Let’s face it, interviewing is tough. And it’s not just tough on the candidate’s end, it can also be tough on the interviewer. It can be long, tedious, and exhausting. Even after you put in all this time and effort, something ends up shifting, causing you have to go through the steps all over again. Unfortunately, some of these situations are out of our control. We can’t change policies or laws overnight nor can we change economic and financial shifts that can influence the outcome or length of these hiring practices. However, interviewers could definitely make the interviewing process less painful simply by being open and honest. This can help candidates get a better understanding and hopefully limit some frustrations they experience.

First off, let’s stop being vague: No one likes playing guessing games, especially when it involves their career and financial security. Before going through the recruiting and interview process- get the facts. Simplified and generalized job descriptions aren’t good enough. Sure, it’s opening up your candidate pool because a large number of candidates could say, “Oh, sure, I could do that/I’ve done that.” But we’re trying to focus on the specifics. Recruiters complain about being overwhelmed with unqualified resumes, but part of the issue is because their job descriptions are too ambiguous that these candidates might actually believe they are qualified. Let’s present the position properly straight off the bat.

If you’re going to ask tough questions, be ready to answer them, too: Candidates are interviewing your company just as much as you’re interviewing them. Before interviewing candidates, make sure you have all the details and know what questions are safe to answer and which information you are allowed to provide. Choosing an employer is tough and candidates are weary of getting themselves in a bad situation. If you plan on asking candidates detailed or hard questions, do not shut them out when it’s their turn to ask you things about the job and company. It wouldn’t be fair to ask them to make a decision of whether or not to take a position with you if they don’t have a realistic idea of what they’re getting themselves into.

Make sure you’re on the same page for timelines: Nothing is more frustrating than going into a job interview (especially when you are hurting for work) and finding out that either the interview process is extremely extensive, the position isn’t open, or that there isn’t a huge rush for the job to be filled. Explain to the candidate from the beginning all these details. Let them know how long the interview loop is, the typical timeline, what each interview entails, and a timeframe they should expect to hear from you at the end. This is even truer for positions that aren’t officially open. I’ve been in those shoes before- I’ve interviewed for a company who said the position isn’t open yet but it will be fairly soon. I had my heart set on it so I rejected other offers to ensure I was ready to start ASAP… 6 months later, the position still wasn’t open, I still had no idea when it would be even after asking several times, and my savings account was almost depleted.

The candidate experience is important and it isn’t fair to hook and hold candidates without their knowledge. Be open- tell them all the details you can about the position so the candidate knows if it’s something they want to continue interviewing for. Be honest about interview timelines or hiring timeline expectations.  I understand that we are trying so hard not to let quality talent turn away from us, but you should let your candidates make informed decisions. I’m sure they will appreciate the fact that you aren’t wasting their time or giving them the run around. It could even help build a better relationship and retain potential talent even if the job isn’t available right then.

More Links:

Your Hiring Process Repels Candidates.

Photo Source

Are You Giving Realistic Job Previews?

Recently, I had a nice discussion with Dr. Marla Gottschalk in regard to a study she did a few years back about Gen Y in the workplace. As we talked about some of the statistics she found during this study, I was quite interested when she mentioned the reasoning behind why a certain percentage of Gen Yers are unhappy and unsatisfied with their jobs. It turns out that a good portion of this is due to the fact that they were not presented a realistic job preview before they decided to accept a role with a company. As I researched this workplace issue more, I found that no matter what generation you’re a part of, there still seems to be this common issue. Are employers working too hard at presenting their company in the best light that they’re not giving realistic job expectations and previews?

One of the things I often like to research and write about is creating and promoting your employer brand, which is extremely important to do when it comes to attracting quality talent. However, it can come to the point where trying to make your company appear to be the “employer of choice” could actually hinder your ability to attract and retain quality talent. It has come to my attention that many companies are competing to be the best company to work for and often will try to paint an ideal picture of their company and the job. Of course, showing only the best side of your company will easily attract a ton of candidates but many of these candidates aren’t necessarily the right fit for your company, causing your recruiters to be overwhelmed. Additionally, some of the candidates that have applied could be a great asset to your company but can easily be discouraged when they learn that the job and company is what they initially were led to believe. In this situation, employees may have lower engagement and turnover numbers can increase. So, what can you do to ensure you find a happy medium?

  • Give a realistic overview of your culture:  this can help candidates see if your culture will match up with their personal values.
  • Give a realistic overview of the job details: many job descriptions have almost become like a marketing strategy. They are well written and enticing, however, people can get caught up in this rather than the actual job itself. Be sure to lay out a thorough job description.
  • Break down and give details about the day-to-day: take the time to break down the day to day duties. This can help candidates determine if they have the experience to perform these duties successfully and it can also help them determine if this is a job that they’d enjoy doing.
  • Give realistic timelines: many jobs talk about advancement opportunities (especially for top performers), and many candidates who accept a role may have a skewed idea on how quickly they can move up. Be sure to give realistic timelines on this.
  • Talk about the negatives: negative things about a job are realistic factors. I appreciated it when a recruiter once told me that there would be weeks where I could work 10-20 hours of overtime. It helped me know if this type of job would work with my lifestyle and other responsibilities. This also allowed me to not be surprised when my boss required me to be there on extremely demanding weeks.
  • Welcome your candidates to talk to multiple people in the department/job/company: it’s always a great idea to allow candidates to get multiple opinions on this. I once went to a job interview where I casually sat down with multiple people in the office. Having the time to talk to them in a casual way allowed me to see the truth behind the company, job, and so on and allowed me to appropriately decide if the job was right for me.

If you are an employer, it would be wise to consider the importance of realistic job previews. By giving the details (including the good and the bad), unqualified candidates can stop overflowing your inbox and ATS with their resumes. Additionally, candidates who accept the role can feel happier with the decision because they were well informed of what the job required and what the expectations were, which can ultimately reduce grievances and turnover.

 

Links:

Realistic Job Preview

Gen_Y_Survey

Photo Source