Vacancy ads are unnecessarily long

Dear Editor,

It is amazing to see the unnecessarily long and obviously expensive vacancy advertisements appearing in the local media, as if the length of the ad will result in better recruitment! This misguided practice is even more apparent within the public service and, therefore, more offensive to all Guyanese taxpayers. I am concerned as a taxpayer, as an experienced Human Resource Management practitioner and personally as an occasional applicant. Such malpractices are even more jarring given the cost-free facilities available in this age of efficient and effective communication via information technology.

First of all, it is not necessary to publicly advertise all vacancies if there is a sufficiency of known relevant competencies among the current employees within the organization to allow for competitive selection; in such cases an ‘open’ advertisement within the organization should be enough; this will also have positive ripple effects within the organization by creating internal openings for current employees at the lower and even lateral levels. Some people might argue about the benefits of bringing new blood into the organization, but this must be counter-balanced with the need for promotional opportunities and mobility.

Once the decision is made to advertise publicly in the media, then the cost, content and focus of the advertisement become relevant. In this regard the judgment and creativity of the HRM staff of the organization become relevant and decisions implicit in the following questions must be made:

*Is it necessary to bureaucratically, slavishly, lazily or indiscriminately replicate in the ad paragraphs from the formal job descriptions? Is it not better to smartly summarize the key or significant or unique parts of the JD (Job Description) and then give potential applicants the option, if they so require, to electronically contact the organization for a copy of the JD or any other required information. In this regard it must be realized that the JD is typically written for many other objectives in mind such as job classification & evaluation, orientation & training, etc.

*Should applications be formally acknowledged? I strongly believe and advocate that all applications must be individually acknowledged. The vacancy ad is an ‘invitation’ to apply; common courtesy demands that responses to such ‘invitations’ be courteously acknowledged. The haughty, injudicious injunction appended in some ads that “applications will not be acknowledged” is at best rude and at worst discouraging to potentially good applications.

Worse still is the obvious discourteous practice by some major employers whose HRM staff should at least be mindful of the possible turn-off from their future advertisements if current ones advise applicants that their applications will not be acknowledged or that they were unsuccessful. I am personally aware of this grossly humiliating, rude, disrespectful malpractice and rather ruefully recall the good old days before the advent of IT when common courtesy (unfortunately not so common anymore) dictated that all applications be acknowledged and those unsuccessful be told so…and that was when costly envelopes and postage stamps were necessary.

I appeal to my HRM colleagues to take advantage of the easy, cost-free facilities now available in this age of IT to improve the PR profile of their organizations by being more circumspect about their actions or lack thereof.

Yours faithfully,

Nowrang Persaud

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