Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Psst! Secret shopper!

So have you heard about the secret shopper idea? And wouldn’t you love to be one – paid to shop!

I’d love to be able to give secret shopper advice to some retailers. A friend of mine, Nick, has his favourite shopping complaint: entering into entire transactions in a shop and never once receiving eye contact from the sales assistant. My particular pet hate is having a sales assistant hover over my every move, offering unwanted advice/suggestions/sizes/colours. Please! Some peace!

I guess retailers want to figure out what’s pleasing and what’s alienating customers. Great idea!

Now, why don’t we do the same with candidates? We’re ‘selling’ them a job, right? What influences their decisions to ‘buy’ or walk out of the ‘shop’?

Here are a couple of classic examples where the employer has completely turned the potential candidate off – and that’s BEFORE they even learned about the job!

One very well-regarded organisation in the financial sector struggles to attract women candidates. Why? Its corporate livery is seen as masculine: black, defined, emphatic. Women aren’t encouraged to apply because it’s seen as a ‘man’s employer’.

Another household name in the professional services sector had no trouble attracting women as candidates but they were knocking back their offers of employment. Why? Because during the entire recruitment process (interview, panel, drinks with potential team, partners’ cocktail function) the women candidates never laid eyes on a senior woman. The impression was ‘I’ll never prosper here, because no one who looks like me has’.

And in a shocking example of shabby treatment, one of the largest employers in Australia makes some candidates wait in what can only be described as a glass-walled holding pen, where the candidate faces the full range of EAP brochures (‘Feeling Suicidal?’) and a vase of dusty plastic flowers whilst being peered at by all passers-by.

Maybe it’s time we started helping our clients understand what their real recruitment experience is like. Oh wait, that’s right, we do!

Seriously, have you stepped through your own recruitment process? Have you been able to figure out why that great candidate said ‘No thanks’? Have you twigged to something that you had to fix so that great candidates would stay in your recruitment process?

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