Another unhappy new hire.

I'd taken over the HR team and new hire job sat was killing me.

Working for a successful company with good products and strong sales things should have been easier.

Maybe they were too easy

Like any large enterprise there were lots of moving parts. We weren't recruitring for the sales jobs, the deisgn roles, the so-called exciting ones. We were heads down tech support and bottom line financial services. These were specific demanding roles which came with lots of pressure of their own.

In our effort to fill open positions – cycle time anyone? – the recruiting team had drifted off-message. In fact, bit by bit, the proposition we were offering was changed to tempt candidates. We were telling them all the cool things about the company culture and history and spending less time talking about the actual work to be done in the roles we were filling.

The real work.

We were selling the sizzle, not the steak

Job sat in new hires was down and had been dropping for three months. Fortunately the right data sampling and analysis kept us ahead of the wave before it turned into a tsunami.

Interviewing a random sampling of new hires we found the same themes:

  • The culture here is not what I was told
  • My boss doesn't buy into the freedom and creativity I heard about
  • We've got the same problems other places do – we just get to wear shorts here
  • This isn't what I signed up for

If it were easy, anybody could do it

All of us have been under pressure to fill roles. Hell, that's part of the fun in being in HR: its not easy. Strong HR people thrive on challenge.

But let's get real for a minute: a “challenge” is tackling a difficult business situation caused by the greater micro or macro environment. A “challenge” is not making your own work more difficult by being inept.

Recruiting is that strange dance far more art than science. We search for the right fit on so many attributes and still don't know quite how things will turn out. But one thing we do know is this: candidates can separate fact from fiction fairly quick.

And with the advent of so many SoMe platforms available today, selling sizzle can really hurt us.

So be careful what you say – candidates might be paying attention

In the end we had to redefine our recruiting model. Why were we targeting people who responded to the wrong pitch anyway?

We solved our problem by going back to what the customer asked for, reframing the offering and then looking for candidates who fit that. And yes, though gradual, we turned the tide and increased satisfaction among new hires – and hiring managers, and all employees who saw the new hire tunrover go down.

Find out what your positions are really all about: knowing this will let you get the recruiting, hiring and satisfaction models right.

And pass the steak.



2 thoughts on “Sizzle

  1. Agreed – the short term positive gain in your recruiting metrics is not worth the pain for you, the hiring manager, and most importantly the new hire in the long run.

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