A couple of weeks ago the CIPR launched its new Client Advisor Service.

Your opinion may vary, of course, but I think that this is a marvellous idea. Yes we’ll charge, but then organisations pay recruitment agencies to find them applicants, so why not?

One part of the service is to help organisations recruit the right agencies for their needs. Public relations covers a wide range of disciplines, and finding the one that has the expertise you require isn’t always obvious.

In one of my previous roles I was asked to help with the appointment of an agency to implement a new digital marketing strategy. One of the advantages of being a CIPR member (and, at the time, a local Committee member) was that I knew several agencies who would be happy to bid for a £25k project and deliver good work. We invited them to pitch and I sat in on them. So it does work.

The other side of the service lies in helping organisations to recruit professional PR people by helping to write job descriptions, determine what skills to look out for, and to sit in on interviews if necessary.

People v Process

I wish we’d done that bit sooner.

I seem to be coming up against a certain process when it comes to recruitment – you might have come across it too. Heck, you might even be a guilty party

Let’s say that applications close on the 6th, and interviews take place on the 16th (this information included in the advert). The 16th comes and goes, and you haven’t heard anything. Is that because you haven’t been short-listed, they’ve changed the date or your email has gone astray? You don’t know, until you get an email on the 23rd telling you that you’ve been unsuccessful.

If someone has been rejected at the application stage, why not put them out of their misery and tell them?

The answer, I suspect, is because the HR team is concerned about sticking rigidly to a predefined, “we’ve always done it this way” process. The person applying is just part of the process, nothing more. My mental state is quite flaky at the moment; keeping me dangling isn’t helping, whereas a straight rejection allows me to move on. It does make you (me) wonder if the HR team is the best place for a mental health policy…

In these modern times we also have application via website – a variable prospect, as anyone who has ever applied via them will know.

Last week I applied for a job that required applicants to upload their CV, then complete 11 screens of information, six of which involved copying and pasting in information from the CV that I’d just uploaded. So which is it: by CV or by application? This job was also advertised through three recruiters; did they have to complete the form as well, or could I just have submitted my CV through one of them? Given that I wasn’t called up for interview, I wish I’d saved time and gone with the recruiter.

And then there is the ultimate kick in the teeth: the rejection email.

Today I got a rejection from the one I applied for last week. The name was real (I gather) but the email address was a generic one from a wholly different organisation. And it was sent on a Sunday morning. As we used to say when I was younger, “Jimmy Hill chin.” Why not send them out between 9am and 5pm, Monday to Friday, and at least give the impression that you care?

Between the convoluted application processes, the generic emails and the suspect timing of messages, one begins to wonder if anyone involved in recruitment understands the value of reputation.

Now: I’m not saying that the CIPR’s new service can help bring a more human / humane aspect to the application process, but as a Chartered Practitioner I am eligible to be one of the people put forward to help – in which case you can bet your life I’ll be looking at it closely.