Job hunting can be a demoralizing experience, unless you miraculously get the first one you apply for, and bad candidate experience stories are heard every day. You tinker with your CV, rewrite your LinkedIn profile, fill in an application form and then, more often than not, never hear back. If you do make it to an interview, but don’t land the job, receiving useful feedback is a rare and beautiful thing.
Recruiters are very busy people. But not responding to an application, or responding in an abrupt off-hand manner, is plain rude. It’s also bad for the reputation of a company, especially in the social media age when negative sentiment can quickly snowball, and that’s bad for business. Which is one reason things are changing in the recruitment process.
Candidates are just as important to recruiters as employers
The appeal of a company, its products and services, depends largely on the experience you have interacting with it. Those ‘moments of truth’ when you’re visiting the website, on the phone or in a shop talking to its staff. Your decision to buy something and how you talk about the brand to friends, family and colleagues afterwards is largely influenced by that experience.
Marketeers have long understood this, which is one of the main reasons why consumer marketing exists. But businesses have been slower to realise the importance of the candidate experience in this context. Both in terms of creating happy employees – who will provide customers with a better experience, which will make for a better bottom line – and making sure those who aren’t successful are left with a good impression of the brand. And come back as consumers.
But the balance is shifting. Companies are now trying to understand the needs of their staff, to lift employee engagement and encourage them to go above and beyond the day-to-day expectations of their role. This includes paying more attention to the candidate experience.
a positive candidate experience Is easier said than done
This is pretty common knowledge among recruiters, but still remains a challenge to get right. In some industries, more than others.
Take a large retail company which is likely to receive hundreds of thousands of applications each year and only hire a handful. This is a wonderful opportunity to create a meaningful ‘moment of truth’ that develops an army of advocates for the brand. It’s also a wonderful opportunity to alienate large numbers of the brand’s market.
How many times have you heard: “I applied for a job I felt really well suited to, but didn’t hear anything – not even a ‘thanks but no thanks’”? Or worse: “I had an interview but they didn’t call me with any feedback, I just got an automated rejection email a few weeks later.”
Smart companies, particularly those operating in a consumer facing market, are making sure this doesn’t happen. They’re enhancing their hiring practices to provide candidates with a positive ‘moment of truth’ and help develop those all-important brand advocates. Richard Branson has shown the commercial benefit of such a strategy, driving revenues at Virgin Mobile by marketing to unsuccessful applicants. More will follow in his footsteps.
What can you expect in the near future?
It’ll be interesting to see how things develop and who pushes the envelope. We’ve got a few ideas. Next time you miss out on a job, you may get a nice little surprise to soften the blow:
- 10% discount on your next purchase with the brand
- A report outlining your assessment scores and personality profile
- Constructive and meaningful feedback on your interview performance
- An invitation to join an exclusive talent community for early access to new roles
- Free three month subscription to The Career Conversation to help you navigate your career change