Contemporary recruiting and hiring practices have evolved significantly from a technological perspective but, from a “people” perspective, these practices can often be perceived as cold, impersonal, and mechanized. Strategic communication can play a pivotal role in helping to create favorable first impressions, and a positive and meaningful hiring experience.
First and foremost, recruitment and hiring communications must be clear and unambiguous. Job postings, application procedures, position descriptions, work responsibilities, offer letters, employment contracts, and all other employment-related documents should be free of jargon, acronyms, and misleading or confusing language. This will help to attract more candidates and reduce the risk of potential lawsuits.
The organization’s mission, vision, values, and key PR message points should also be clearly communicated to every candidate. For example, if an organization’s values include respect, efficiency, and relationships, these can be demonstrated by:
- Promptly acknowledging receipt of the employment application, and thanking the applicant for their interest in the company.
- Keeping the candidate abreast of the status of their application.
- Providing applicants with information about the organization’s mission, vision, values, brand, and internal culture.
- Providing a method for two-way communication, should applicants have questions or concerns.
- Soliciting feedback from all applicants regarding their perceptions of the company’s recruiting and hiring practices.
Extra efforts such as these may require additional resources, but the investment here can reap significant pay-offs in terms of public perception, brand loyalty, and audience trust. Remember, job candidates who feel mistreated or disesteemed could negatively influence the organization’s reputation. Even if not selected for a position, every applicant should feel acknowledged, appreciated, and respected. This is especially important because the organization may want to consider these applicants for future positions.
Once hired, new employees need and expect all of the information necessary to perform their duties. The onboarding process is a critical period where the organization’s brand message, culture, and values are assimilated. If not properly presented and reinforced, new employees can quickly come to feel like “bad hires,” which can lead to turnover, negative attitudes, and poor performance. Here is another informative publication that discusses the onboarding process in more detail.
While employee recruitment and hiring may be viewed as solely a function of Human Resources, this is not necessarily the case. Forward-thinking leaders understand the complex fund of knowledge and skills that strategic communicators bring to the table, not the least of which is aligning all areas of the organization with the brand and key messages. Working alongside HR and hiring managers, strategic communicators can help to ensure that new hires understand not only their roles and responsibilities, but how their efforts and commitment support the existence of the organization, and the stakeholders it serves.
*The views and opinions expressed are of the author and do not represent the Brian Lamb School of Communication.