Leave a good impression on candidates, even if you don’t choose them

Nolan Gray Corporate Recruiting

It’s a sad fact that all recruiters know. The majority of people who apply for a position aren’t going to get it. That often leaves companies in a tricky situation. Is it possible to leave the rejected candidates with a good impression of your company, even if you turn them down? The answer is yes.

Luckily, job seekers generally understand their situation. They know their odds. From start to finish, they want a seamless experience with an applicant tracking system, and they want insight into the process. If you can give them that, they’ll leave with a favorable impression of your company, even if you eventually turn them away. They won’t turn their back on your brand just because they aren’t the right person for this particular job opening.

It’s not hard to give job seekers a positive experience. Unfortunately, many companies get this very wrong.

Avoiding the bad
Negative experiences leave a bad taste in our mouths. Most job seekers have gone through an application or interview process only to realize there’s no way they would ever want to work for that organization. It could be because the application was confusing and included incorrect information, or even that the handoff from the recruiter to the hiring manager was improperly communicated. Job seekers remember these things. Sometimes, these incidents become notorious.

For instance, a reader wrote to Alison Green’s Ask a Manager blog to get some insight into what seemed to be a strange interview process. The position for a program coordinator was long and grueling and culminated in a requirement that 20 finalists cook dinner for and entertain the staff at the chief executive’s house.

Green advised the job seeker to run away, fast. The story was so strange that Gawker even picked it up, prompting the company to issue a response. This is not a situation any brand wants to put itself in.

Admittedly, most experiences aren’t this strange, but companies mess up frequently in the recruiting process.

Common application grievances
CareerBuilder reported results from a survey from The Candidate Experience Awards, which gauged the perspectives of jobseekers on the application and recruiting process.

The complaints are mostly familiar. Almost 30 percent were dissatisifed with the information companies had on their websites, while 25 percent were unhappy with the application itself. Ten percent of applicants reported that it took them more than an hour to complete an application. Close to 60 percent were unhappy with the way they were rejected. In other words, they simply never heard from the company again.

Most of these issues are easy to fix. Update recruiting software to make the application process easier, put more effort into branding so you can attract awesome applicants, and follow up with everyone – not just the chosen candidate. To get millennials and digitally-savvy candidates on board, put more emphasis on mobile recruiting.

Even if candidates are totally unqualified for their position, they want to be treated like they matter. That means keeping their perspectives in mind throughout the recruiting process. Having a negative experience can have serious consequences. After all the attention it received, people were probably wary about applying at the organization above. An applicant with a bad experience may also choose not to shop at a given company again, let alone apply there.

But there’s one other way to leave a lasting impression and continue to improve your recruiting and application process. Simply ask candidates about their experience. Ask them if they would recommend your company based on their experience. If they say no, you’ve got some work to do.

Jobscience | Beyond the Applicant Tracking System

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