Making human connections leads to better recruiting.

How to Handle the Candidate Journey with Respect

Wednesday, August 16th, 2017


We often hear that companies struggle to land qualified candidates, however, there’s not a talent wasteland out in the market right now; some companies need to look inward when trying to understand why they’re struggling to land top talent—and how they’re turning away candidates.

We know, from consistently working with candidates, that some potential employers absolutely butcher the recruiting process. Every candidate has a journey, and a hiring company is most certainly a part of that journey, no matter how small the interaction may be. At best, mishandling a candidate can lead to missing out on a future employee. At worst, a PR mess can ensue.

If You Post It, The Candidates Will Come

First off, most companies have a solid system of working with trusted recruiters and posting openings online, whether they’re using Indeed, Monster, or their own website. But sending openings out into the ether and receiving qualified candidates from recruiting partners is the easy part. Handling applicants accordingly is where the real work comes in.

Think about it from the candidate’s experience: they’re scouring these sites, having initial interviews with recruiters, looking for the right fit. They’re vetting companies. They’re filling out online forms. Obviously, there’s a lot of time and energy involved. This doesn’t mean you have to offer them a job if it’s not the right fit; but you do need to treat them with respect.

What Happens After They’ve Come Through the Door?

So imagine if a candidate has filled out several forms and submitted a résumé, only to be asked to do it again when arriving for a face-to-face interview? And while this seems unbelievable, we’ve heard stories of interviewers reading résumés at the start of an interview, while the candidate is sitting, and waiting. These are perfect examples of how to alienate a potential employee, especially after they’ve taken the time to follow a company’s path to potential employment.

Follow-up is another area that many companies struggle with, even though so many technological tools exist to help with this process. There’s a wide spectrum of ways to handle this poorly, from saying “We’ll be in touch if you make the cut” to leaving candidates in the dark completely. Even auto-responses can be tailored to have compassion, and to provide closure.

The Price of a Serious Slip-Up Is Often Bad PR

We’ve only touched on a couple of ways to mishandle the candidate experience. And while the Internet has made it easier to post jobs and hunt for talent, there’s another side to that coin. The rise of social media platforms and company rating sites means that poor experiences can often translate to bad publicity. If word gets out that your company’s interview process is a waste of time, then your talent pool will definitely shrink.

HR and personnel departments have to juggle many tasks. However, it’s important to remember that there’s always a human on the other end of the hiring process, someone—especially if they’ve taken the time to apply for a position—who has hopes and dreams of working with you. Whether they become an employee or not, treating them with respect will reflect well on your company, and keep them coming back again and again.


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