Wednesday, June 25, 2008

ERM-BC-COOP: All about image

A recruiter called yesterday.

Actually two from the same office.

When all was said and done, I was left with second thoughts about working for, or recommending, the organization.

    I often get calls which I pass along to planners looking for work, and I often tell recruiters to post their opportunities - for free - on Continuity Central, DRII, and DRJ web sites.

There were a several problems, all impacting the organization's image.

I wonder if the image problem I encountered also is encountered by potential customers of the organization.

The recruiters, based on their language and accents, called me from somewhere in the Far East. Their employer managed to display a local-to-me phone number, not terribly difficult technology.

The first problem was that the agency was using simplex voice-over-IP (VoIP).

Simplex, for those who never dealt with two-way radio, means "I talk-you listen - you talk-I listen."

Think about the movies where one character is talking to another over a two-way and says "Over" each time the person completes a thought. Over.

Anyway, beside the simplex issue (modern landline phones are, by the way, duplex, which means we can - and too often do - interrupt each other in mid-sentence), the quality of the calls was terrible. Between voice quality and latency (IT for "delay"), the "conversation" was frustrating at best.

The second problem was that the first caller didn't know what she was calling about.

Or maybe she just didn't understand American English when I asked "is this a project or a staff job."

The second caller explained that it was both. How so? Well, the offer is to be a staff employee of the caller's organization for the duration of a project with a client of the organization. Bottom line: it's a project.

The second caller started off badly when he told me that a woman from his office called me several days ago.

Now I know about the international date line, but this man clearly didn't have his facts straight.

I told the second caller that the connection was bad - true - and asked that he send the job description via email.

That would be done, he promised, and I disconnected.

I'm still waiting for the email.

To be absolutely fair, I was talking to the recruiters on a Sony-Ericsson cell phone with AT&T (nee' Cingular) service (which still is better than my Nokia unit and Verizon service - the problem is more the instrument than the carrier). Landline normally is better than either mobile unit/service - unless there is a thunderstorm outside the window.

Word to the wise: Always have at least one Plain Old Telephone Service (POTS) phone available for use during power outages. Fancy phones that require AC to work are useless, but simple phones, which take power from the phone lines, usually work. Still, in an electrical storm, stay away from anything with a cord.

What's the ERM-BC-COOP connection?

Image is very much a risk.

If the company projects the same image to prospective customers as it presented to a prospective employee, its bottom line must be threatened. I want to talk with someone who understands what I say and can communicate with me (comprehension and technology).

I don't think I'm a chauvinist; I work with people every day with accents similar to my callers'. I'm accustomed to talking to people with non-US accents (and, in truth, some US accents are as difficult to understand as any from the Far East). I am "image conscious": my own image, that of my employer, and, frankly, that of the client.

I wouldn't go to a ERM-BC-COOP job interview in a torn tee-shirt and dirty jeans; it's image.

Image is communication and, as with all communication, the audience's comprehension and perception must be a concern.

This company's recruiters failed the test with this practitioner.

John Glenn, MBCI, SRP
Enterprise Risk Management/Business Continuity
Planner @

No comments: