Not much is know from an industry-wide perspective about the recruitment experience with businesses in luxury, fashion or sports. Certain employers and certain industries (tech for example) have been much quicker to grasp the subject and the wider topic of employer branding.
It seemed important to us to learn more about what matters to candidates. So a couple of months ago we invited 170,000 people* across the apparel & fashion, sportswear, luxury and consumer goods sectors to participate in a survey.
Our full learnings will be published in more detail somewhere down the line.
Until then one of the most revealing statistics was the high proportion of candidates who felt the process they went through was un-structured. This was indicated by the some or all of the following:
- They were not informed what the interview / meeting stages would be
- The interviewer (as far as they could see) had made no notes specific to them – either on their CV or separately
- The interviewer did not work from any kind of questions sheet or q-cards
- Many of the respondents also reported that the interviewer seemed not to have read their CV (or had only skim read it)**
- Worse, they received poor or very limited feedback
Its important to acknowledge at this point, that this survey only reveals the candidates view irrespective of the actual quality of the process. Accordingly, unless these candidates had an opportunity to discuss with others in the same process, their view is purely conjecture. (which may be less than 100% accurate)
Does this matter then?
Yes, firstly the survey revealed a high level of frustration from candidates who reached the first interview stage. (so discounts the distortion of high volumes of candidates who got rejected prior to this point).
Secondly it’ll increase your chances of recruiting the best people, as well as improve the impact on unsuccessful candidates. Not just with regard to attracting them in the future, but what impact they could have on your recruitment/employer brand.
In times past there was no Glassdoor and there was certainly no way of polling a wide group of candidates to participate in a survey such as we did.
So these days the impressions of people who have a fleeting exposure to your business are important. Candidates have easy and anonymous platforms for reporting their previously confidential interaction with your business.
It’s entirely possible that established and successful businesses could experience a ‘dumification’*** process because their now-public reputation prevents them from recruiting the best talent.
5 Ways to Improve Your Recruitment Experience
- Issue a summary of target or key dates in the process to each candidate invited for interview
- Ahead of the first interview email them a one page interview brief – who they are meeting, a mini-bio of them and the structure of the meeting (like the good discipline of sending an agenda for any other meeting)
- Ahead of the interview take time to read their CV and make some notes or comments on it – if nothing else this will imply a level of interest to the candidate and encourage them to give their best effort
- At the end of the interview agree a deadline that they will know more.. and stick to it
- Immediately after the interview,discuss and agree the key feedback points specific to that candidate – this will allow you to offer better quality feedback to un-successful candidates (a principal frustration point)
*The number of respondents is still to be finalised, but will be in the region of 1,500
**Respondents reported that that they were asked a question that suggested that their CV had not been read by the interviewer. This interviewer may, of course, being asking them this question to validate if they give an answer that matches their CV content
***dumification – meaning that over time the skill level and intellectual fire power of the organisation is reduced because leavers cannot be replaced with people of the same calibre