How to treat candidates well

How you treat a candidate during the recruitment process is usually a pretty good indicator of what sort of employer you are and how you look after your clients and customers.  And every sensible employer knows that attracting and recruiting talent is paramount to the ongoing success of an organisation.

Despite this common knowledge, some jobseekers are still being treated with a lack of care and respect, and complain that the recruitment process leaves them cold. So why are some employers failing to provide a better recruitment experience and what can you do to become shining lights in the recruitment practice?

The consequences of poor training

Unfortunately, some employers massively underestimate the cost of getting it wrong and don’t invest enough time or money in training their recruiters.

Company websites that are difficult to navigate can make finding an email address or person to send your CV to almost impossible. If a candidate is lucky enough to receive an interview, a hiring manager that has received little or no training on how to conduct a proper interview may not have even looked through the CV in detail beforehand….massive error.

Peter Burgess, managing director at Retail Human Resources recruitment firm, says that some employers don’t appreciate the cost of making a bad recruitment decision. “The cost is not just a wasted recruitment fee or the wasted cost of the advert. Nor is it the cost of the interviewers and back-up staff’s time or the wasted salary of the person recruited who eventually fails. The largest cost is the lost value of what that person should have created if they knew how to do the job properly,” he comments.

If, for example, a company is recruiting a new sales manager who would typically be expected to generate around £10,000 worth of sales a month but, due to a poor recruitment decision, only generates £5,000 of sales a month then the organisation will  be losing at least £5,000 a month in revenue.

It’s not all about the sales

Cathy Richardson, regional director for the Institute of Recruitment Professionals (IRP), says that, in addition to in-house recruitment being largely under resourced, there is too much focus on sales and performance.

Richardson notes: “Fundamentally, recruitment has become a sales job and, due to the dehumanisation and computerisation of the online process and candidate management systems, the very human needs of each and every job applicant don’t always factor in the process, until they reach interview stage.”

How to treat job applicants

It’s not all doom and gloom though. There are a few shining lights in recruitment practice. Hire car company Enterprise is a case in point. Enterprise recognises that having a more transparent and open recruitment process, which gives candidates access to a real person, really makes a difference.

Donna Miller, European HR director at Enterprise, says: “We post on our website that we will be in touch with a candidate within 48 hours of receiving their application. That’s not an ‘auto reply’, that is a real person contacting them on their individual application.

“If that response timeframe is not feasible in an organisation – what is? Is it 10 days or one month? Whatever the answer, it’s essential to communicate this to candidates upfront and manage their expectations from the very start of the recruitment process. This is your brand – it needs to be relayed to your ‘customer’ – which in this case is the applicant”.

Enterprise have also gone one step further and have a ‘meet the team’ page on their company website which gives contact information for their recruitment team as well as a photo and personal interview.

“From our point of view, we are in the customer service business and excellent customer service is one of our values. We aren’t looking to create a ‘generic’ candidate experience – we are looking to provide a world class, personalised experience to all our customers – both candidates and consumers alike,” Miller notes.

Fundamentally, it’s about treating jobseekers as people and making sure that they go away with a positive image of your organisation.

“Applicants are not just fodder to be stuffed through a process. They are human beings and in most cases their career is one of the most important things going on in their lives,” Burgess notes.

“They pay the potential employer a compliment every time they apply. The recruiters should, therefore, treat them with the respect and gratitude that this deserves.”

1 Comment

  1. Mersey August 3, 2012 at 3:53 pm

    Very hard to get a decent response from an actual human being now in these days of prevalent automated responses (or “robot rejection”, to coin a phrase). We are all being governed by soulless technology.

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