The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic disrupted the world of work in more ways than one. Along with this global public health crisis came lockdowns, company shutdowns, manpower downsizing, and salary cuts. Indeed, recent years have been a very volatile time for job seekers.
The crisis and the economic downturn that ensued gave rise to various scams that further rattled the already depressed job market. Many job seekers fell victim to scammers who stole their personal information and committed identity theft. Many were also made to believe that a reputable company was employing them – only to find out later that the job they signed up for was practically non-existent.
Distrusting the Application Process
A CNN report this year revealed that job scams in 2021 rose by more than 100 percent compared to 2020. In the first quarter of 2022 alone, more than 16,000 job scam complaints had already been reported to authorities.
These numbers created a chilling effect on many job seekers. The optimism they feel whenever a prospective employee contacts them has turned into cautious suspicion, if not downright distrust. Of course, this has a ripple effect on companies.
As hiring managers, you have surely encountered candidates who have become highly jaded, constantly second-guessing, and even become demanding during the application process. Unfortunately, this has resulted in more rigidity in candidate relationship management.
Research shows that nearly 75 percent of those who lose money in these job scams are already in a deep financial crisis. As if to add salt to injury, the many remote jobs being advertised have made it all the more complicated to tell whether a particular job advertisement is legitimate or fraudulent.
As a result, many job seekers now demand to have everything officially documented on paper. Unfortunately, they will just not take your word for it as their hiring manager. This very pessimistic candidate experience outlook has made it all the more challenging to attract and retain top talent and create an application process that is more insightful and not just transactional.
Furthermore, what employer brand will you create if the application process is entirely transactional? How do you turn a guarded and pessimistic job seeker into a vital asset for your organization?
Transactional Relationships are Counterproductive
As hiring managers, you have probably observed that relationships at work that have remained at the transactional level are counterproductive to your organization.
Some studies highlight the difference between a transactional and a transformational relationship. As a hiring manager, would you know if your workforce culture is transformational or just transactional?
Transactional workforce relationships are bound by the trade of time and are primarily for profit. Therefore, it is impersonal and somewhat detached. On the other hand, a transformational workforce relationship entails a more profound connection among employees in your company as they play the role of collaborators and partners who invest actively in the performance and success of one another as part of the big picture being steered by your organization.
In the long term, transactional workforce relationships are counterproductive. This kind of relationship makes it difficult for your future and existing employees to think out of the box, go the extra mile, or allow teamwork and a collaborative spirit to become truly salient features of your company’s work culture.
Nevertheless, a transformational workforce relationship enables your employees to imbibe and grow into the company’s vision. In addition, this allows your company to have a collaborative work culture that will be able to highlight development opportunities among your employees and within your organization as a whole.
Hence, a transformational relationship is necessary to nurture in any organization.
Building Effective Relationships with Job Candidates
As a hiring manager, the seeds you will sow all begin in the workplace. How you treat a particular job candidate, whether transactional or transformational, will serve as a firestarter on how this candidate will treat you and your company when hired.
So, what do candidates want from their employers?
Job candidates want you to regularly COMMUNICATE with them.
Consistent open communication with job candidates is one of the surest ways to attract top talent. As hiring managers, you must constantly and actively communicate with your job candidates throughout the application process.
Make it a habit to share important company updates and developments with job candidates. Then, get feedback from them to check if these developments are aligned with their professional plans. This helps foster a healthy leader-employee relationship from the get-go.
Infrastructure-wise, ensure that your company has invested in all the appropriate tools to establish healthy communication among job candidates. This is especially true today when remote work has already become mainstream. Job candidates expect you to reach them in any way possible.
Job candidates want you to LISTEN to them with an OPEN MIND.
Perhaps the other half of effectively communicating with job candidates is to listen to what they have to say. Keeping an open mind means refusing to be judgmental.
There is no need for you to compromise company beliefs and principles. Still, you also need the humility to recognize your biases and your tendency to quickly jump to conclusions when interviewing job candidates. As a hiring manager, listening to what job candidates have to say allows you to assess if the job candidate can indeed blend well with the company culture.
Spend enough time with your job candidates.
Personal connections in the workplace foster camaraderie and lessens friction. However, know that this starts to be cultivated in the job application process. Many hiring managers, especially when they are busy processing a huge number of job candidates, tend to make interviews impersonal and routinary. Guess what? Job candidates know this and can easily tell if you are genuinely interested in them or just moving things along.
Start with establishing eye contact whenever your job candidate starts talking. Quit looking elsewhere and give your full attention to the job candidate. Alternate between listening and talking. Then, make your evaluation of the job candidate accordingly.
Job candidates want you to COMMIT TO WHAT YOU HAVE COMMITTED to them.
Job candidates value words of honor. If one of your company’s core values is fairness and meritocracy, count on the fact that job candidates will expect this to be palpable in the daily grind of the company.
This is why hiring managers should always strive to be transparent and communicative to job candidates, especially during interviews. Overpromising and not delivering on your commitments destroy trust and dampen the morale of new employees.
It is utterly hard to work with employees who are distrustful of your leadership. However, if your employees trust you, they will give 100 percent to everything they do. This is why it is vital to establish a sense of trust beginning from the job application process and before job candidates even become newly hired employees.
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