Online media: Where candidates have a voice…

Over the last week, the news stations have been reporting on two separate incidents when candidates and customers have taken to social and online media to make themselves heard. The global coverage and influence these events have had highlight the ease at which candidates and customers can now share their views. Online media has long given the everyday individual a public voice but these examples emphasise how this trend has developed and the impact this can have on an organisations brand and relationship with their candidates and customers.

Episode One…

When Hassan Syed’s parents – who flew on flights organised by British Airways from Chicago to Paris – found that one of their bags had been lost in-transit, they contacted BA’s customer service. But with no response from British Airways after two days, Hassan Syed’s father asked him if he could assist. In a bid to get their attention Hassan bought a promoted tweet focused on the UK and US markets. It read:

A series of promoted tweets by Hassan Syed garnered 76.8 thousand impressions. The campaign was also picked up by popular blogs like Mashable (which at last count had over 19,600 shares.) Seven hours after the first tweet went live, British Airways responded with “Sorry for the delay in responding, our twitter feed is open 09:00-17:00 GMT. Please DM your baggage ref and we’ll look into this.”

Episode Two…

When university graduate Alan Bacon was offered an interview at Currys in Cardiff he spent a week preparing for all the usual interview questions. Little did he think that he should really be practicing his dance moves…? In an unusual choice of interview technique the Currys recruitment team asked candidates at a group interview to split into two groups and dance to ‘Around the World’ by Daft Punk.

“I think everyone thought initially it was a joke,” said Alan, “but they were serious. All professionalism went out of the window. I’d spent the past week researching the company and looking forward to being able to express myself and talk about what I love doing. But I just felt so embarrassed and uncomfortable…I told my dad it was like a scene out of The Office.  I would have walked out but I need a job.”

Alan Bacon chose to speak with BBC News about his experience. When Currys was questioned about their choice of interview technique they said the dance had been part of team building exercise at the company, although it was not part of its official recruitment process which would normally include a more formal interview.

“Regrettably, the store in questions did not follow our official recruitment processes on this specific occasion. We are currently investigating those members of the store who held the recruitment session. We are very sorry to those interviewees impacted on this occasion and would the invite them back to attend an official interview…”

But what does this all show?

Putting aside the questionable social media etiquette of British Airways – shouldn’t a global company have 24/7 social media coverage…? – and the implications of and thought process behind this unusual candidate experience at Currys – how does a candidate’s dance skills really show their ability to sell? And what impression does such a request give candidates of a company’s respect for their abilities? – these two situations reveal the increasing tendency of customers and candidates to turn to online media to publicise their views. Whilst it is not uncommon for customers to lodge complaints over shoddy service or products, such global public criticism is a first and reveals the increasing prominence of social media as a voice of the people and a tool to promote change. Alan Bacon’s choice of media to disclose his disappointment and indignance reflects this further and highlights the role that recruitment plays in not only talent management but also in marketing a company and their values.

In previous articles we’ve discussed this topic and explained how it impacts a variety of areas of business including:

In a world that communicates so easily and quickly through online media, it’s important that companies consider the image they are portraying through their candidate experience. Candidates and customers now have the confidence, know-how and tools to ensure that their opinions and experiences are shared with as many people as possible. Offering candidates the chance to provide feedback on processes will ensure that any problem areas are targeted and resolved before candidates chose to turn to the media to share any misgivings.

 

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