Good experiences travel fast, but bad experiences travel even faster.

Listen to Carly’s story:

As I applied for countless jobs, I sat..hoping, praying that I would get a call back. After what felt like a decade of my life, I received a phone call from a recruiter. He talked to me about a potential job opportunity that fit me perfectly. We set up a job interview and I arrived that morning more ready than I’ve ever been — finally feeling like I was rounding a corner in my job search. I felt like I aced the interview — I shared about myself, my goals, my achievements, my work ethic, etc. The interviewer loved everything I had to say — he even told me so. As I walked out of his door, he said he would get back to me shortly. So, I went home. I sat..anxiously awaiting a call back. And…nothing. I never heard from the guy again. I called, emailed, and did everything I could to get back in touch with him, but…nada. It’s like the whole thing never happened.

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All it would’ve taken was a simple phone call or a personalized email from the recruiter for me to feel like I was thought of/valued in this situation. But, instead, I felt discouraged and disrespected — which led to my negative view of the recruiter and company as a whole.”

What was wrong with me? Was I so bad that they didn’t want to talk to me even one more time? Wait..what is wrong with them? Don’t I at least deserve some closure? 

So, what did I do after no response? What anyone would do — I told everyone I knew to steer clear of that recruiter, and definitely to never do business with that company. Why? Their hiring process revealed a lot to me about who they were as a company, what they valued, and how they conducted their business. And I definitely wasn’t going to encourage people I knew to be a part of it.

All it would’ve taken was a simple phone call or a personalized email from the recruiter for me to feel like I was thought of/valued in this situation. But, instead, I felt discouraged and disrespected — which led to my negative view of the recruiter and company as a whole.

RECRUITERS — LISTEN UP.

Creating a candidate-centric hiring process matters. Why? Because of stories like Carly’s. There are too many instances similar to hers that happen every single day. Not only is she demeaning your reputation as a recruiter and the reputation of the company you were representing, but you have essentially eliminated her from your talent pool for future job opportunities.

HERE’S HOW YOU’RE MISSING THE MARK BY NOT CREATING A CANDIDATE-CENTRIC
HIRING PROCESS (EVEN FOR THOSE THAT YOU REJECT):

  1. Brand reputation hangs in the balance  

Did you know that 73% of candidates surveyed would definitely tell their inner circle about a positive hiring experience and 62% would share a negative experience? Of those same candidates, 28% would share a positive experience on Social Media and 17% would share if it was negative. (Recruitment Buzz)

We’re living in the digital age. Which means, individuals can share anything and everything in a matter of seconds for the entire world to witness. Give them something good to talk about.

Virgin Media recently released some interesting data about the impact their hiring process had on their bottom line. ‘In 2014, Virgin Media took a “Rejected Candidate Survey” of the people it had turned down for jobs. A quick run of the numbers revealed that 18% of them were customers, and roughly 7,500—6% of the total number of applicants—switched to a Virgin competitor as a result of a poor recruitment experience. Virgin Media was nevertheless looking at roughly £4.4 million in lost revenue as a result—almost as much as the company spent that year on hiring.’

From the words of Fast Company, “A major part of every company’s employer brand is its hiring process. Focusing on improving how job candidates feel about your hiring practices can lead not only to better quality hires and cost-savings on recruiting, it can also drive sales—creating a virtuous circle.”

Brand reputation can essentially bring down a company and it all starts with the recruitment process.

The way you treat candidates, whether you hire them or not, matters.

  1. A positive attitude from future employees is imminent

If you interview a candidate, leave them waiting on your decision for 4 weeks, shoot them an email offer, and expect them to be the best hire you’ve ever made, then you’re dreaming. Will they be excited about the opportunity? Of course! Will the impersonal hiring process leave a sense of looming fear for the future of their time with the company? Probably.

So, what’s the answer? Communication. CareerArc’s survey found that 60 percent of candidate participants said that better communication throughout and after the applicant process would make the most positive impact.

Personalize the hiring process. Keep candidates in the loop as much as you can. Let them know what’s going on. Reach out to applicants with a follow-up email about the next steps and provide a timeframe for when they can expect to hear back. If you want to offer them a position, call them — this creates a sense of trust and respect. Give them an idea of what to expect on their first day of work. Prepare them. Do whatever you can to create a positive candidate experience. Future employees of a company remember how you recruit and hire them and they bring that with them on the first day. Whether you realize it or not, it makes an impact.

  1. Future hire opportunities are at your disposal

Job seekers’ biggest frustration: Employers don’t respond to them. According to a new CareerBuilder study among 3,991 employees, 60% said they’ve experienced this as a job candidate.

If you can empathize with Carly’s story, you’ll realize that candidates deserve to hear back — even if the news is negative. Even if it’s awkward and uncomfortable, it has a positive long-term effect. President of Talent Zoo, Amy Hoover, says, “any feedback after an interview can help the candidate better prepare for the next interview. It can even allow the candidate to learn more about himself and his strengths.” HR Expert, Steve Kane, adds, “Not providing feedback to job candidates is a reflection on their entire management process. Especially in these days when social media can play such an important role, being discourteous to job applicants makes virtually no sense.”

Add “human-ness” to rejection. Think about it. If you recruited and interviewed a great candidate, but they simply weren’t the fit for this particular job, wouldn’t you want to keep them in your pipeline to re-engage them for future opportunities? Umm…of course. Instead of simply not responding to them or just giving them a cold rejection email, respond to them proactively with advice and ways they can improve their value in the job hunt. Let them know how they missed the mark and provide them with resources to advance their knowledge. There’s nothing worse to candidates than not knowing why they didn’t get a job.

Communication is key to shaping the candidate experience.

Focus on making the rejection a bridge to building and maintaining a relationship. Candidates appreciate feedback, even if it’s negative. They’ll remember that you were honest with them and provided them with valuable next steps. And once a job rolls around that’s a perfect fit for this candidate, you’ll remember them, and they’ll remember you. Your job is to make sure their memories are positive.

From the words of Steve Kane, “Employers will always be looking for new talent, and if a job seeker has the choice to work for an employer who is known for showing respect for job candidates versus one that does not, candidates will likely choose the employer that operates respectfully.”

FINAL THOUGHTS

The next time you conduct an interview or respond to candidates, remember Carly. Remember her story. Remember the impact a recruiter and the hiring process had on her. Remember that brand reputation hangs in the balance, a positive attitude from future employees is imminent, and future hire opportunities are at your disposal. Don’t misuse or take for granted the impact you can have.
The way you treat candidates, matters. Remember that.