Remember the last time you decided to treat yourself to something special at the local department store but came home empty-handed? You waited patiently for a salesperson to assist you, but no one asked if you needed help. So you left the store and called a friend to vent. It’s likely you’ll think twice before you go back. No one likes to be ignored. Not retail customers, not applicants. Customer Care. Candidate Care. See the connection?
You could miss out on an outstanding candidate or you might have to endure the wrath of online forum posts from angry job seekers. In short, your business and its reputation will suffer if you ignore best practices in candidate care.
Your organization’s employees are internal customers; candidates are your external customers. Implementing best practices for increasing candidate experience shows that you value external customers the same as internal customers. You shape the candidate’s experience, which in turn, shapes how they see you as a potential employer.
Candidate care begins from the moment an applicant begins drafting a cover letter or creates an account through your ATS. Make it easy to apply for jobs with your company. Facilitate a simpler application that says to potential employees, “We value your time. How you look on paper is important for screening, but we’re interested in possibly meeting you.” There are key essentials to candidate care!
Depending on the ATS that supports your recruitment function, 30 to 45 minutes to complete a job application is a bit much. Track how many people create accounts, but never complete the application. It’s a tell-tale sign that your initial steps are a turn-off and your candidates can’t justify the ROI if they have some inkling of how nonresponsive your recruiters are.
Generate a personally addressed email to improve the candidate experience. When possible, say how long it will be before the applicant hears from you again. Some messages promise a recruiter will call within 48 hours; some messages say, “We only contact candidates we’re interested in interviewing.” The latter essentially says, “Don’t call us. If you don’t hear from us, move on.” That’s demoralizing, exceptionally poor candidate care and it fuels those postings on online job seekers’ forums about application experiences with your company.
If the candidate doesn’t hear from you at all – no acknowledgement, no response, nothing – that’s not just poor candidate care. It’s the equivalent of saying the candidate wasted his time expressing interest in your company. It’s a lack of professional courtesy, which might affect whether a candidate will apply in the future. Job seekers will take to the Internet to describe just how bad an employer you must be if you don’t have the decency to even send a form letter.
Pay attention to those forums; all of the posts aren’t from disgruntled former employees with an ax to grind. Some are legitimate complaints about poor candidate experiences. And that proverbial black hole. Don’t be afraid to let forum comments shape your recruitment processes – you may be able to restore your reputation if you modify your recruiting steps by simply adding the courtesy of a response to all applicants.
When you get a call from an interested candidate, instead of an eyeroll, turn around your perception. What it says is that the candidate is motivated, unafraid to demonstrate initiative and willing to take chances. Candidates would rather not have to track you down with repeated calls because job search wisdom says candidates can’t afford to show desperation. Think about it from another perspective: If you want something, do you give up after the first try? Probably not. You won’t throw in the towel after the first attempt and most candidates won’t just go away. At least, they won’t go away quietly.
Professional courtesy is the sincerest form of candidate care. Ignore candidates and you’ll have to justify why you didn’t feel it was necessary to simply say, “We found someone else for the job, but we’d like it if you’d keep us in mind when we have other opportunities become available.”
How does your firm approach candidate care? Please share your thoughts below!
Andrew Greenberg’s roots in recruiting date back to 1996. He has experience both on the agency-side and corporate-side of the staffing business, with a focus in the financial services space at companies like Bloomberg and UBS. He also has core experience with information technology staffing, and has worked for major software companies such as SAP Business Objects and IBM/Informix Software. To get in touch with Andrew, you can reach him by email or by phone at (800) 797-6160.