How HR Hiring Process Affects Company Image

A big part of a company’s brand or image is not based solely on the product or service they offer but how they function as a company as well.

company_image_for_talent_acquisition3What a lot of companies seem to be missing is that any and every interaction with the public is an opportunity to build on the company’s image and brand, including the Human Resources Department.

The Human Resources (HR) Department’s recruitment and hiring process is an area that can have a significant positive or negative impact on a company’s brand and image.  It gives insight to the culture and attitude of the company.

On the positive side, an HR Department promotes a positive image when jobs are posted no longer than a month and all applicants receive status updates on their open applications.  In contrast, one indication that a HR department is promoting a negative image is when jobs are posted for several months and/or applicants do not receive any status updates.

Let’s take an example where a highly visible and strategic job is posted on the company’s website for Vice President, Enterprise Application Development; and it has been posted for over 8 months.  Within a 8 month period, the HR Department would have received hundreds of resumes (if not thousands of resumes, see posting on the mathematics of the job application process).

One would think with this large number of resumes collected over a 8 month period there would have been at least 5 qualified applicants (we’re talking when there are actually five applicants that can perform the job).  Additionally, in our example, no job applicants ever received any status updates.

The above example is a true story of a major Fortune 1000 company in New Jersey.  For HR to leave a job posted for over 8 months, one has to wonder if the job was really that important.  Yet the position is for a Vice President of Enterprise Application Development, where the job description stresses the strategic and leadership importance along with being a highly visible executive in the organization.

In this example you have a highly strategic job that goes vacant for 8 months and by the company’s HR Department’s reckoning, no qualified applicant has been found.  From the job applicants’ point of view you are wasting their time:   People spend time applying and the company has no intention of hiring anyone anytime soon and on top of it all, the company has the resources to acquire and utilize automated talent acquisition software but can’t configure it to send an applicant a response or status letter!

Now when people get together discussing their job searching experiences and one person brings up this company in question, about possibly purchasing something from the company and/or using their services, do you think they will receive a resounding endorsement from any of them?  I think not!

For every person that applies to a company job posting and receives no response and the job is posted for several months, the company in question is creating a negative image.

Every applicant that continues to see the same job posted on the company’s website for several months has to wonder if the company is run poorly.  Why are they wasting an applicant’s time?  Is the company so arrogant in thinking (and projecting to the public) the applicant needs them so badly we won’t concerns ourselves with what the they think?

For every thousand people who apply to a company with an HR policy that keeps jobs posted for several months and does not notify applicants of their status, that’s 1000 people who will talk negatively about that company.   Warren Buffet once said “It takes twenty years to build a reputation and 15 minutes to lose it”.  Word of mouth spreads fast and negative word of mouth spreads even faster.

The issue at question is not that the applicant did not receive an interview or job offer, as there are many talented people for the limited number of available positions.  The issue is how they were treated during the application process, in terms of perceived dysfunction and the arrogance on the part of the company that received their resume.

Human Resource hiring methods can negatively affect a company’s image or brand.  Depending on the type of company, it may even lose customers because of HR hiring practices.  The company’s marketing department goes to great lengths to create, maintain and grow the company’s image and brand.  Human Resource practices need to consider how their hiring policies support or detract from the company’s brand and image.

Those companies that have a job posted for maximum  of one month and inform applicants of the status of their application, are companies that project they treat a person with respect;  the company’s HR department spent the time and resources to think about the  job application process in terms of not just those people they want to talk with further but also those people they did not want to continue with the job application process.

Those company HR departments convey the feeling of appreciation in the time you spent applying, that they recognized your talent but unfortunately went with other applicants that fit their criteria more closely.  Considering the return on investment, it really doesn’t take much more of an effort to have a HR department’s policies and practices align with those of their public relations and marketing departments.  When a company doesn’t realize this and fails to put it into action, a negative impact on of the business is created, which adversely affects and undermines the company’s brand and image.