How businesses treat their candidates during the recruitment process directly impacts the perception of their brand in the market. The public image of a business doesn’t just stop with the marketing department, it is affected by the way in which businesses treat people – that means potential candidates as well as their customers.
We have seen first hand how employers have missed out on their ideal new hire purely because they mistreat them during the recruitment process – shooting themselves in the foot!
During the recruitment process, businesses need to ensure candidates walk away with a positive experience of the company, whether they are successful or not. We have repeatedly talked about how candidates have more choices in today’s market, and an employer’s reputation plays a major role in this decision making.
Businesses damage their reputation as employers when hiring managers are unprepared for interviews, provide flimsy feedback or take months to arrange follow up interviews, (and then expect candidates to still be waiting around).
We have seen businesses changing job specifications and roles halfway through the interview process, failing to communicate, and leaving both candidates and recruiters confused. We have seen many reject candidates for fickle reasons, holding out for someone better when it doesn’t exist and wasting candidates, recruiters, and their own time. For candidates, lack of communication on how they have performed and what they can expect following an interview can be extremely frustrating. Some businesses need to remember they are dealing with people and not just a statistic.
For a business, the best form of advertising is word of mouth. It essentially costs the business nothing and for consumers, the opinion of a reliable source factors highly during decision making processes. Research has shown that word of mouth can have an important influence on the perception a job seeker has towards an employer, but problems arise when people have a negative experience to share. If a candidate has a poor experience trying to keep in contact with you, interview with you, or get decent feedback they will talk to their friends, family or possibly existing colleagues (which could also be potential future candidates for you!). This negative advertising of your business can make it even harder to attract and hire talent.
Growth does put significant stress on a business at the very point that they are busy and understaffed so it is understandable that sometimes they simply don’t get time to react to candidates quick enough. Although it isn’t intentional, it does cause them to miss out on potential talent and grow their businesses.
Regardless of the reason, we have seen how a bad candidate experience can lead to a damaged reputation in the market, where candidates are apprehensive to interview with them, believing the business isn’t committed to hiring, rather they are “window shopping” to see what is available in the market.
A perfect example of the possible business ramifications was in a fellow recruiter Greg Savage’s blog, who shared a letter from a senior candidate:
“Just recently I went for an interview with one of the larger insurance companies… Interview went extremely well (well I thought)… Long story short they never got back to me or returned any calls/emails..
Poor form. So I cancelled all of my 8 policies I had with them…”
In the words of Greg – “If this does not help you understand that poor candidate experience destroys your brand, personal and corporate, then I really don’t know what will.”
So what should employers do?
It is difficult enough in today’s market to attract top level talent and businesses need to be doing all they can to continually attract people to them. The link between HR, recruitment and marketing is more important now than ever. Very often hiring managers, especially technical ones, aren’t trained to promote the business and they need to work together to cohesively raise and maintain the brand of a company in order to attract the best people.
Think about the recruitment process from the candidate’s point of view. Candidates in this industry often have multiple offers to choose from and an interview is an opportunity for hiring managers to ‘market’ their business as an attractive place for them to work. By being engaging in the recruitment process, promptly organising interviews and providing detailed and constructive feedback, businesses are in a better position to hire the best people. We are lucky to work with some clients who react the same day and will immediately arrange telephone interviews with candidates they are genuinely interested in.
They understand the difficulty in today’s market and heed advice on their recruitment processes. It is refreshing to work with directors of businesses and hiring managers who give prompt, detailed and constructive feedback, are consistent throughout the process and are considerate of everybody’s time. As a result they have great reputation as employers, and have no difficulty finding candidates who are delighted to interview and work with them.
Businesses must ensure they have a smooth recruitment process in place before they invite candidates and recruiters to take part in it. Be honest. Provide meaningful feedback and do not ignore candidates even if the job has been put on hold, filled, or they just weren’t right for it. Only then, can the brand of the business attract great people.