Amongst recruiters, it’s widely accepted that the Candidate is king. With employment at a record high, finding top talent isn’t easy. So, you need to think strategically to appeal to applicants, developing your Employer brand as well as your interview process. Candidate experience really matters because it’s seen as a reflection on the type of company you are. In fact, 78 per cent of people surveyed by CareerBuilder agreed that this is an indicator of how much a company values its Employees.
If you don’t get this right, in the worst-case scenario, you could find that your top choice doesn’t want the job anymore. In fact, I’d go further than this to suggest that the Candidate is king even if they haven’t got the job on this occasion. When you plan your recruitment process, it should include steps to continue to provide the best service or experience you can even when you’ve decided against hiring an applicant.
Why is this important? Because at the most basic level, you never know if you might want to employ someone else in the future. As a recruiter, I’ve seen the effect a bad interview has on applicants and spoken to people who are reluctant to apply again for a company they’ve received a rejection from the in the past. There’s no such thing as an endless talent pool, so if you’re successful advertising the role and have a couple of people on your list who might be a good fit, make the most of this by keeping them on your side for the future.
Bear in mind the fact that your potential Employees are also your customers. When Virgin Media researched this they found that a poor Candidate experience was costing £4.4 million through cancelled subscriptions. It’s a small world out there, especially if you’re an SME or local business. Applicants who feel they’ve been let down by the interview process will give feedback to their circle of friends, family and colleagues, which will affect peoples’ perception of your company – something which is hard to fix and could even have a knock-on effect on recruitment in the future.
We’ve all been there, so you’ll know that receiving a rejection is a sensitive time. Don’t ghost unsuccessful Candidates, instead communicate with them all the way through, including right at the very end of the line. Be patient, taking time to personally contact those who have invested in the process, giving appropriate feedback. If you’ve found someone who’s impressed, but just needs a bit more experience, they could be a formidable ally in a few years’ time. Ask if you can keep in touch and demonstrate that you really mean it.
Don’t delay when it comes to letting people know your decision. And when you’re unsure what to say, use your person specification to point to the areas they excelled in, as well as those they can improve on. If you have someone who you’re dreading calling to reject, make sure they understand that it wasn’t quite the right role or timing, but you think they have plenty of promise. There are many ways you can follow through on this, such as inviting someone to connect on LinkedIn or sending an e-mail to suggest they come to a networking event.
In the competitive world of job hunting, a little consideration goes a long way. Of course, interviewing takes time, from sifting through piles of applications to blocking out your calendar in order to meet those who appear promising in person. Recognising this and committing to the process, such as allocating hours to give unsuccessful Candidates closure in a sensitive, unhurried, manner will make all the difference to how you’re viewed after you’ve made your decision. It’s something that we try to do ourselves at Allen Associates, including passing on feedback to people who have highly successful careers ahead of them.
Over the last 20 years, we have grown as a business to become one of the leading independent Recruitment agencies in Oxfordshire, and in 2018 we opened our first London office, to service Clients and Candidates in the capital.
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