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Companies to scrub up for interviews

It's not only the applicant on trial in an interview, writes by Roger Trapp
Job applicants have long recognised that proper presentation and a professional image are essential qualities for success. But, says the Institute of Personnel and Development (IPD), organisations would do well to follow suit.

It appears that many recruiters take an approach to hiring graduates and other staff that is the equivalent of a job candidate turning up in a grubby T-shirt, threadbare jeans and scuffed training shoes. Such an attitude might well result in an organisation losing out on the chance of employing the people it needs.

"The recruitment process is often the first experience a potential employee has of an organisation," says the institute's recently published Guide on Recruitment. "It is therefore important that the process is as professional as possible and promotes a positive image of the organisation."

The institute has examined research and consulted practitioners while producing a guide that aims to encourage best practice among recruiters by explaining why practising equal opportunities, acknowledging applications, paying expenses and offering feedback is good for business.

Angela Baron, IPD's policy adviser and author of the guide, said: "A professional recruitment policy creates a good impression among customers, clients and applicants.

Practices which create a negative or misleading impression of the organisation may discourage good candidates from applying or result in a quick exit for disillusioned new employees. Worse still, flawed procedures and practices may lead to poorer candidates and the selection of less able people."

The guide summarises the role of recruitment within organisations, best practice in the use of such procedures as job specifications, application forms, advertising and references, as well as equal opportunities. It also provides a list of relevant legislation.

Baron added that recruitment policies which increase organisations' chances of "finding talented individuals, able to make a positive contribution and with a good understanding of its values and aims" are crucial to future success.