The famous writer from the period of realism, Gustave Flaubert, once said, "There is no truth. There is only perception". With this statement, he encapsulates the idea that truth is subjective and relies on individual interpretation. This quote suggests that reality can vary from person to person based on their unique perspectives, experiences, and beliefs.
My former business mentor reformulated Flaubert’s thought into "there is only one truth, and it is called perception", emphasizing his own willingness to accept that each individual has his own truth, which may differ from his own.
This modified Flaubert principle helped me in both my professional and personal life to additionally develop my competencies of understanding, empathy, and conflict prevention.
Applied psychology long ago explained the influence of perception on people's behavior, and marketing experts have been using this bond for decades with the aim of making us go to a store or a web shop and buy certain products or services.
You think that you drank a soul-healing beverage, or ate a healthy breakfast? In fact, you have eaten 5-7 teaspoons of sugar, provided that these two were not in the package, because if they were, then that is twice as much sugar.
You think you've been "sleeping boldly" despite your menstrual pain? OK, you believed them, but how does one even sleep boldly?!
These are extreme examples of the influence on perception, and we will not have a discussion about ethics this time, because there is a positive influence only when the intention is sincere.
What is happening in terms of the impact on perception in the area of recruitment and selection?
Social networks are full of courses and/or consultations on how to prepare for a job interview. More and more people from marketing are writing about what a resume should look like and what it should contain. Experts in personal branding, and they already know all the secrets about how your profile should look on professional social networks.
In other words, all efforts are focused on the candidate's presentation and creating a positive perception of the recruiter, i.e. potential employer. Why is that so? I guess under the assumption that candidates care more about finding a job than employers care about finding employees, I don’t know.
If we now focus our attention on how employers create a positive perception of candidates, yes things have changed here. Some changes are really positive but are they enough?
Here are some examples:
- Employer branding - digital communication channels have enabled the outside world, especially potential employees, to see how things look on the inside, how things are done and what the corporate culture is like. But what to do when from the outside things look like culture, and when you are let in, you observe it is a caricature?
- Job ads - they used to be as boring as the obituaries on the back pages of newspapers. Since we have benefits and salary ranges listed in the adverts, reading job ads is still as boring as reading obituaries, only these modern obituaries have the addition "at the request of the deceased, a band will play at the funeral…."
- Interviewing – the major change has happened here. Communication between recruiters and candidates has become more immediate, cordial, almost cheerful. However, there are clear indications that there are many shortcomings here, starting with who all the participants in the interviewing process are and what their role is in the interview, how many rounds the process has, etc. The biggest problem I recognize in this step is that the candidate is not the center of attention, but the needs of the position and the employer. An unusual phenomenon, bearing in mind that recruiters are mostly psychologists.
- Communication about the process outcomes - you know it all, I don't have to write anything.
Everything that the people involved in the selection process, not only recruiters, do, i.e. behaviors they manifest, affects the perception of the candidate. Perception drives the attitudes, and attitudes influence the candidate's behavior.
The skills of positive influence have long been mastered by professional salespeople guided by strong ethical principles in business.
If you deal with recruitment and selection in the role of a recruiter or hiring manager, the next time you read the article "recruitment is everything but sales", pinch yourself hard to come back to reality as soon as possible.
There is a labor shortage, but if you start thinking and asking yourself, "What if people don't actually want to work for us?", there is an opportunity to improve the whole process and approach and get the best talents.
Help is out there, and it's up to you when you seek it. HELP →
People development consultant