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Are you searching for a job? If “Yes,” do you ever feel like you just threw your resume in the ocean, into a sea of other candidates, only to wait forever for a response from the recruiter or the hiring manager? Did you feel like you had a great interview, but there was no follow-up — and no response to your follow-up?
Trust me. You’re not alone. Like many others, I have a ton of friends looking for jobs, and the stories are consistent: companies are missing the boat on recruiting and how that impacts the brand experience. They just don’t get it. Let me explain.
I’ll briefly summarize the experiences a few friends had, though my own job search earlier this year proved to play out the same. They’ve sent resumes for posted positions with no acknowledgement of receipt of their resumes; they’ve interviewed with companies with no follow-up from the corporate recruiters or the hiring managers; they’ve sent thank you notes and inquiries about status with no response; and they’ve been pursued/recruited with no subsequent follow-up communication to close the loop and set an interview time (or just to say “No thanks”). There are probably other scenarios, but that pretty much sums it up.
Companies should be ashamed! Yes, I know, they are inundated with resumes. But seriously, come on! Give someone the task to follow up with these candidates. You are hurting your brand if you don’t follow up. Especially during this time when so many people are looking for new opportunities, you are being touched by so many potential customers. O, did I say that? I meant, employees. No, actually, I also mean customers.
Herb Kelleher, in his response to being asked his “secret to success,” has said: “You have to treat your employees like customers.” And I’ll add, “… your recruits, as well.” Why? For a variety of reasons, including the following, which I’ve written about previously:
- Would you hire your customers? Even if you’re not specifically recruiting among a pool of known customers, know that any recruit is likely/potentially a customer of yours.
- Employees want to work for companies with which they are aligned (purpose, values, etc.). This means that they are likely also customers of those companies.
- Candidates are customers or potential customers.
Yup. I said it three different ways, but that’s the bottom line.
The way you handle yourself during the recruiting process leaves a lasting impression about the company on a candidate. Will the candidate want to work for your company, even if you make them an offer? (Not likely that unresponsiveness will cause that, but some of the other wacky recruiting tactics that I’ve heard about might.) Will he or she recommend employment at your company to others based on the recruiting process? Will they share their experiences with friends and family, i.e., other future/potential recruits and customers? Will the individual rethink that purchase from your company, given a comparable option?
When your HR folks are recruiting, they are a touchpoint in the employee lifecycle, but indirectly they become a touchpoint in the customer lifecycle, as well. They are representing and selling the brand, the brand promise, and the vision of the company, but if actions don’t match words, if you’re not living the brand, you’re living a lie. And that lie is easily perpetuated at this particular touchpoint.
Your recruiting team or hiring manager must:
- Be responsive with candidates
- Close the loop on any open inquiries
- Politely say “No” if someone is not a fit
- Be courteous
- Know that auto-responders are not helpful if they provide no real information
- Remove job postings from every source if the position is filled
- Communicate, communicate, communicate
If you have a portal through which candidates submit applications:
- Simplify the process
- Don’t make candidates attach a resume and then also fill in the blanks
- Make the status updates meaningful, i.e., actually provide status updates
One final thought: Do you survey your candidates after the recruiting process? If not, why not? Would you be embarrassed by candidates’ feedback about this process? Is this a broken process in your organization that clearly needs to be repaired?
Don’t just map your customer journey; map your employee journey, as well. If you find that the journey starts out pretty rough, take a look at those interactions and fix the root cause before the word gets out that it’s badly broken.
I’ll leave you with this, a quote from Jonathan Ive in which the word “customer” could easily be swapped out and replaced with “employee.”
“If you’re not trying to do something better, then you’re not focused on the customer, and you’ll miss the possibility of making your business great.”