Written by Omowale Casselle
Usually, one of the key characteristics of champions is that they have an amazing ability to prevent themselves from making unforced errors. Opponents will often try to force you into situations that they can utilize to their advantage. But, if you can do those things that you do well on a consistent basis without making mistakes, you will often come out ahead. As we know, nothing is more important for the sustainable competitive advantage of employers than the ability to continually attract, recruit, and retain top employees.
As we move further and further into the emerging territory of socialization and online recruiting there is an increased opportunity to make unforced errors. The primary reason is that the rules aren’t well defined so both candidates and employers are as awkward as two teenagers on a first date. Each wants to impress the other, yet neither knows exactly what to do or how to do it. This uncertainty is combined with the fact that there are some people who would be totally happy to see you fail. The key is to stay focused on your employer value proposition and effectively communicate that with candidates.
If not, you’ll find yourself making unforced errors which will compound the already difficult challenges of recruiting in an emerging environment.
So, what are the unforced errors that you should be on the lookout for?
As long as people have been interacting in the online environment, there have been a small group of people who are interested in stirring the pot for no other reason than to make others angry. These people who have far too much time on their hands will attempt to take advantage of the increased access to employees to engage in anti-social behavior. Without discipline, your company can easily end up making an unforced error. This can happen by either engaging in unprofessional back/forth discussions or circular arguments.
To prevent this, you must remember the purpose of your online activity. Your #1 goal is to attract, recruit, and retain the top talent that will increase the competitive advantage of your organization. Anything that is counter to that purpose should be ignored. The immediacy of social media and social networking makes it more likely that instigators will try to bait you into arguments. But, you should take steps to ensure that ambassadors for your organization have the discipline to maintain their composure when engaged by instigators.
After going through perhaps a phone screen or an in-person interview, this person has not advanced to the next stage in the process. Unfortunately, they don’t agree with your rationale. So, their goal is to create a scorched earth policy within your current social recruiting efforts. This person will not make it clear that they are a candidate that wasn’t selected. Instead, they will try to use social discussions to highlight perceived flaws within your company that they feel will make your opportunity less attractive to prospective candidates.
It is important to diplomatically take these discussions offline. Not because you are trying to create the impression that your company is without flaws, but instead these people are presenting information about your company without the proper context (rejected candidate who has a score to settle). These discussions can be extremely confusing to prospective candidates and can do significant damage if your employees engage publicly.
As we’ve seen from the different anti-poaching agreements that have recently come to light, most employers recognize the need to win the war for talent. Competitors have an opportunity to create unforced errors by using their industry knowledge as well as their understanding of your competitive advantage.
Often, competitors will not have deep insights about what exactly it is like to work at your company. But, their knowledge is dangerous enough to create challenges with your social recruiting efforts. If you are in a discussion with someone who appears to have the level/quality of information as a competitor, it is important to reinforce your unique value proposition. Remember, your competitor is just as convinced that their value proposition is superior to theirs as you are. This is a great opportunity to communicate exactly what your advantages are for prospective candidates. Don’t be tricked into argue your value proposition on their terms.
As an increasing number of employer and candidate interactions happen within the online environment, it is extremely important not to make unforced errors. We see that there can be a variety of different scenarios that might lead you in this direction. What other unforced errors have you seen employers make and what advice do you have for preventing it?
IMAGE VIA chascow