I had the unfortunate task of renewing my driver’s license recently. Since I’d renewed on-line the last time, I actually had to go into a DPS office to have a new picture taken – even more unfortunate.
I probably don’t have to explain how painful this process is to you. I’m guessing most DPS offices are similar to those in Texas, although Houston may be even more interesting given we’re the 4th largest city in the U.S. But just for fun and to illustrate a point, this was my experience.
Enter the DPS office to a mass of people and one “official” looking person. The official is directing people as to which line they need to stand in. Mind you, there are only two possible lines: one for those who need to take a test to get a license and one for those who don’t. Hmmm.
I quickly determine I don’t need to wait in a line to determine which line I need to go wait in – – and make an executive decision to stand in the line for those who don’t need to take a test.
10:30am – Still in the line for those who don’t need to take a test.
10:45am – Make it to the desk to check my vision. Note: everyone uses the same machine and the pad where you are supposed to put your forehead is beyond gnarly. I attempt to read the line without touching this science experiment. I am given a form to fill out and told to get in ANOTHER line once I’m done. Quickly fill out the form, which I could have done standing in the other line, and get in the new line.
10:55am – Receive my number (179) and am told to sit in the waiting area until my number is called. I hear a man scream “142” and guess I have an hour to wait; after all, the only remaining thing to do is pay and take a horrible picture.
12:25pm – SERIOUSLY. My number has just been called, I go and wait in yet ANOTHER LINE, pay $25 and take an attractive picture with my eyes half open.
What does all of this have to do with a hiring process you ask? Well, I had some time to think and observe at the DPS office, and I believe the process is all too similar to what we put our candidates through, specifically our experienced hires.
See, the line for those who needed to take the test is somewhat similar to college recruiting. This line had eager teenagers and those new to the state. It was much shorter than the other line and there were 4 attendants helping vs. 1 attendant in my line, which I equate to the “experienced hire” line. I noticed the other attendants were smiling and helpful; my attendant needed her lunch break – bad. You get where this is going, right?
There are a lot of experienced hires in line right now and others who are lifting their heads, so often I hear their tales of whoa regarding their candidate experience. It is rather baffling to think about how much planning, time and resources most organizations put into their college recruiting efforts to woo graduating students; yet how little goes into their experienced hiring efforts. After all, shouldn’t 15+ years of work experience get you a certain level of treatment? It would be different if everyone ended up in the same line, but we do pay more attention to recent grads and seem to be fine with our experienced workforce filling out an on-line application and then rarely hearing back.
Even though I’m now in the search business, I don’t relish hearing top candidates tell me how they walked away from companies simply due to their poor experiences with internal recruiting teams/processes. It is amazing how many HR teams still don’t get how vital first impressions can be – and that their front-line recruiter and/or process IS the first impression.
I’m not sure what the ultimate solution is other than to refine our overall hiring practice so that everyone feels like they are in the right line. Hit me with your thoughts!
Kathy Rapp is the CEO of hrQ where she helps companies find groovy HR Talent for permanent or project roles across the country. Prior to joining hrQ Kathy booked more than 15 years of diverse HR leadership experience working in F500s and start-up organizations. A connoisseur of the intersection between pop culture and business, Kathy believes many talent insights can be gleamed from the succession planning lessons experienced by Van Halen and AC/DC.