Customer Service 101

Whenever our company is dealing with job applicants, I’ve always instructed my department to be customer service friendly towards them.  For example, the day an application/resume is received, the applicant gets entered into our Applicant Tracking System.  As a result, they are sent a postcard thanking them for applying, acknowledging receipt of their information and letting them know the timeframe in which they may receive a call (if they’ll be called for an interview).

Over the years, I can’t tell you how many applicants have thanked me for the above-mentioned process.  Their compliment is often followed by complaints about other companies who don’t acknowledge resumes, don’t return phone inquiries or e-mails, don’t update candidates, etc.  And while you might think that most companies do, you’d might actually be surprised at how many don’t.

My feeling has always been that I want to treat job applicants as I would want to be treated.  Thus, since I would want to know what the heck is going on, I’m going to do the same for them.  So if you call me, I will call you back.  If you e-mail me, I will e-mail you back.  It’s easier said than done time-wise, but I still do it.  And going back to my first paragraph, you’d be surprised at how the simple idea of sending those postcards has cut down on incoming phone and e-mail inquiries.  Not to mention that all companies sell some kind of product.  So needless to say, I want our applicants to have a good customer service experience with HR, because who knows…they might be buying something from us too.  Or they might be a potential advertiser.  As they always say, what goes around, comes around.

Lame-O-Rama

I realize that in this day and age, companies have to think of creative ways to recruit and attract talent to their organizations.  That is, of course, while remaining legally compliant and not getting too unorthodox.  But I have to tell you; the story that my friend told me about his interview at the Horseshoe Casino Cleveland really takes the cake.  Talk about bizarre…

He applied there to be a table dealer.  Even though the position requires extensive training, which is unpaid, he has been out of work following a layoff and figured that he had nothing to lose.  Anyway, he received a call from the casino and was asked to report downtown last week for a “group interview.”

Now, any time I hear the words “group interview,” it makes me think of the movie “Boiler Room” and the famous Ben Affleck recruitment scene.  LOL.  Anyway, here’s what his interview at the casino consisted of.  There were 24 applicants together in one room.  All of them were applying for the dealer positions.  Three panelists, presumably HR people, came into the room.  They broke the group up into pairs of two.  When it was each group’s turn, the two people had to take turns introducing each other.  So my friend introduced a woman he was paired with and vice versa.  Then each of the 24 people were asked one question – What would be their favorite destination vacation and why?  After that, the three panelists left the room for approximately 25 minutes.  When they returned, they called 10 of the 24 applicants outside and told them they had been cut.  Unfortunately, my friend was one of them.  I say “unfortunately” because I would have loved to see the remainder of their selection process.  Perhaps it would have involved naming their favorite pizza or which brand of toothpaste they liked to use.

I mean, seriously, I can maybe understand their rationale in trying to recruit outgoing personalities, but I have a hard time seeing how they come to that conclusion based on their initial screening process.  Throw in the fact that they probably lose out on some of the best applicants anyway due to their multi-week-no-pay training system and I’d say that this is not the best all-around recruitment approach.  It’s too bad; I’d love to stop down and tell them about my trip to St. Thomas a few years ago.

Web of Compliance

Has your company hit the big leagues yet?  Have you purchased a Cyber Liability insurance policy?

Ten years ago, I doubt that many companies were worried about hackers breaking into their systems and stealing their information.  But nowadays, it seems like an everyday occurrence.  Add to this mix the complex issue of trying to be PCI compliant (if you accept credit cards) and you have quite a mess on your hands.

A few years ago I remember an HR colleague of mine investigating an issue in this arena.  His IT Manager was using their company’s system to hack into other companies.  He had even set up a fake computer company and successfully received grant monies from Microsoft.  The only problem was that he couldn’t figure out how to cash the check.

Bottom line – make sure your company is protected and talk to your insurance broker about this.  It can happen to you!

Calling All Recruiters

I’m looking to interview a few seasoned recruiters for a piece I’m working on.  If this interests you, please use the “Contact Us” page for my e-mail and Twitter information.  Thanks!

You Know the Ones

Have you ever met the person working in HR who shouldn’t be?  LOL, yes, those people do exist.  And in my mind, they’re pretty easy to spot.  Come on; you know the ones…  They’re the ones who aren’t at the table, the ones who try to shove policy down your throat, the ones who get results by scaring management and the ones who have no idea how to consult.  Most importantly, they’re the ones who don’t listen.

You see; I’ve made a career out of building relationships.  And as a part of that, you realize that most HR Professionals find themselves maneuvering between three roles:

  1. To be the conscious of the organization
  2. To be the voice of the employees
  3. To be the policy enforcer when required

It’s not always easy.  I mean; sometimes you’re the hero and sometimes you’re the thorn.  And you’re not always going to get along with Operations or Accounting – that’s a given.  But I assure you of one thing; it all goes back to building and having relationships.  Because, if they won’t talk to you, you won’t know what’s going on, you won’t be at the table…and therefore, you won’t be able to deal with or diffuse it.  And then the problems begin.

Is Your Boss a Psychopath?

I’m sorry for my extended absence from this blog.  I plan to be much more active on here moving forward.

CNN ran a great quiz this week that I thought was worth mentioning on here.  It’s the “Is Your Boss a Psychopath” quiz.  LOL.  And what better way to get back into posting!  They ask you ten questions about your boss, to which you can answer: Always, Sometimes or Never.  I won’t spoil it here, but the questions are great!

It’s funny; they always say that employees leave their jobs because of their bosses.  And while that’s true in many cases, I certainly had some fun running my past and current bosses through the quiz.  And some of the results were very interesting!  You can take the quiz here and enjoy!

Viva Las Vegas

I was back in the office yesterday after attending the SHRM Annual Conference.  If you didn’t make the trip to Las Vegas this year, you missed a great experience.  The sessions were excellent, the vendors were great and the networking was incredible.  And I think that makes three great host cities in a row (New Orleans, San Diego and Las Vegas).

As far as firsts, SHRM included a social media lounge this year for conference attendees to stop by, network and most importantly…tweet.  With that being said, I hope to be more active on here in upcoming weeks!  Have a great holiday everyone.

Liar Liar – Pants on Fire

When recruiting, it never ceases to amaze me how job applicants will lie right to my face.  Here’s a recent example…  After we make a conditional offer of employment, we have applicants take a pre-employment drug screen and we conduct a pre-employment criminal background check and a pre-employment motor vehicle record (MVR) check – with the latter being required if they’ll be driving for company business.

So we interviewed a guy and made him an offer.  He would need to be driving for work, so we advised him that the MVR was one of the checks that would be required.  He laughed it off and made a joke about how he had a clean driving record and was not worried whatsoever about any background check that was required.  However, the MVR came back as a mess and he was not insurable under our fleet insurance policy.  So we couldn’t hire him

As a side-note, it’s always entertaining when they want to call and want to debate their MVR with you.  I just direct them to the “Summary of Rights” form that they were sent.  But it’s a shame that people can’t be honest when they are faced with the fact that you’re going to check their background.  I mean, you’re sitting there, knowing that I’m going to be looking at your driving record, you have multiple occurrences and points on your it…and yet you sit there, smile and joke that there’s nothing to worry about.  It’s pretty pathetic and a waste of everyone’ time if you ask me.

The Circle of Life

Is it me…or when the Federal or a State Government extends unemployment benefits…does it just cause people to want to stay at home longer?  Allow me to explain…

I realize, in this economy, that a lot of people have lost their jobs through no fault of their own.  And I have no problem with them receiving unemployment benefits while they look for a job.  And, for example, in Ohio (where I live), you are supposed to be forced (ongoing) to look for a job and submit spreadsheets to the State in order to qualify for unemployment benefits.

But in the same breath…I could tell you 1M stories about people I know who never submitted the necessary reports to the State of Ohio and never looked for a job, but still received their unemployment benefits.  And I could tell you 1M stories about people who heard that the Government was extending unemployment benefits and said, “Well, I guess I’ll just sit at home for a longer period of time now.”  Bottom line – that is just not right.

Unemployment, just like worker’s compensation, should be for the ones that really need it.  Not for the people who want to “sit at home.”  And it seems like various branches of the Government are set on continuing to extend it – thinking they are helping the people who have been laid off – and to some extent, they are.  But they’re also encouraging this same group to not look for work, especially if their state of residence is set up like Ohio – with no accountability.  More and more of my HR colleagues seem to think it’s the latter these days.  So in an economy where you’re supposed to be able to recruit top-notch talent – you find more and more people putting their job searches on hold.  And then…because employment isn’t up, unemployment is extended.  Ah, the circle of life…

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