You might think that you are doing everything that you can to attract the highest quality candidates, but with potentially hundreds of applicants for each job advertisement that you publish in what is undoubtedly a highly competitive industry, it can be easy to miss out on even great people.
There is, however, a potentially worse problem – that you may be causing untold damage to your brand and popular perceptions of your company through poor recruitment practices.
These problems can go far beyond a candidate simply feeling a little bitter due to a failure to reach interview, and a good employer will consider the effect that their recruitment campaigns have on even unsuccessful job seekers.
Why you need to appeal to Generation Y
The world of recruitment is constantly changing, and Generation Y and the even younger generations who are yet to reach the job market value different things to Generation X and older. If your company hasn’t updated your recruitment practices to suit, then you could be losing – both in a reputational sense, and by missing out on some serious talent forever.
Generation Y job seekers, for example, are much more inclined to ‘out’ companies for bad experiences via social media, and if this happens to your company, the news can spread quickly and it can be difficult to recover.
Even worse news than that for unscrupulous employers, although obviously very good news for conscientious job seekers, is the existence of websites like Glassdoor, which are dedicated portals for discovering what applying for a job at or working for a particular company is really like.
Such new technologies and tendencies make it so much easier for candidates to get behind the faceless and bland marketing blurb of your company careers page. Does that company has a positive and encouraging culture? Does it treat applicants and employees well? What is the interview process like, and what kind of interview questions are asked?
Candidates are now more informed than ever about what’s really going on – but the good news is that improved recruitment practices help you to reshape the story in your favour, through the attraction of much more positive reviews from candidates.
What do candidates complain about?
A recent survey of 5,300 job seekers by Monster.co.uk shed plenty of light on the ways in which businesses’ recruitment practices can inadvertently alienate thousands of customers. A whopping 84% of respondents said that the job application process often or sometimes negatively affected their view of a company.
Of those that had been affected by bad recruitment practices, 82% said that the lack of a response to their application had led them to feel this way, while 68% blamed the absence of constructive feedback. 37% mentioned poorly written job adverts, a lack of information about the company was attributed to the unhappiness of 34% of such job seekers and for 26% it was unfriendly or unhelpful staff that came in for criticism.
If you think that such dissatisfaction among those who fail to find a job with your firm is a price worth paying so that you can have a fast, efficient and convenient recruitment campaign, just consider the consequences.
Of the dissatisfied applicants in the poll, 63% said that it would decrease their likelihood of using the company’s products or services in the future, while 68% – more than two thirds – said that they would tell friends and family about their negative experiences. Meanwhile, 20% said that they would voice their discontent on social media.
How to make a better impression on job seekers
For employers worried about the above statistics, the good news is that the survey did also reveal that 62% of job seekers sometimes or often gained a more positive view of a brand from the recruitment process. 65% of those that were positively affected said that they would let their friends and family know about their experiences, and for 51% of respondents, the likelihood of using that firm’s products or services would increase.
Of these respondents to be positively affected, 68% claimed to be impressed by a timely response to their application. 56% cited constructive feedback being given in response to their application, the same percentage mentioning the ability to apply online. Well written job adverts won the explicit approval of 54% of these respondents.
What lessons can companies therefore learn that can be applied to their recruitment process? Certainly, one important lesson for them will be to pay close attention to the ‘CV black hole’. A company that engages with, responds to or at least acknowledges unsuccessful applicants, in recognition of the fact that these job seekers are also potential customers, can so much more easily maintain or even enhance their all-important brand image.
What it takes to provide a better candidate experience
Your company’s branding and the candidate experience – how the candidate experiences and perceives your company’s recruitment process – are undeniably connected. So how can you tell whether the candidate experience that you provide is good or bad, and if it is the latter, what can you do to fix it?
What it comes down to, really, is considering and understanding what candidates expect. Look at your recruitment practices from a human perspective. You need to be empathetic, considering how you would like to be treated if you were the one looking for a job.
A long-winded job application process, or even just a rude recruitment professional or line manager, could be enough to permanently deter the perfect candidate. Fair enough, so they may not be suitable anyway for the role that they have applied for – but there might be another role at a later point for which they are the ideal candidate. They won’t want to join your talent pool if you left a bad impression on them the first time round.
The importance of communication and feedback
There are therefore certain fundamentals that you should carefully consider, as part of regular reviews of your recruitment practices. Communication, for example, will need to be handled sensitively, so that the candidate does not feel ignored or fobbed off. Always give feedback if you can, too, telling the candidate why they failed to get the job, what their weaknesses are and how they can improve for next time.
This honesty and conscientiousness will keep them in your talent pool for those future occasions, and give them a much more positive general impression of your company. As you do give that feedback, ask the candidate for feedback on their own experience.
After all, improving your recruitment process from both your and the candidate’s perspective means acknowledging the two-way nature of that process. Be honest and open with your candidates and ask them how they felt about the process from start to finish. This way, you can learn even more about the candidate – including their ability to accept and address their weaknesses and learn from mistakes.
Analyse that feedback, too, potentially with a dedicated research and analysis tool, considering whether your candidates really are getting the best possible experience. If they are, it will have an immensely positive effect on your company’s reputation and branding and its ability to attract even more of the very best talent.