In most situations, the focus of a hiring process is finding the right person for the role. And rightly so, considering the impact this could have on your business, both positive and negative. However sometimes we overlook the candidate experience, particularly for unsuccessful candidates.

Using an external recruitment consultancy to assist with a hiring process can give you some comfort in this space because it’s clearly part of their role to effectively and appropriately communicate with all candidates for a role, including redirecting those candidates who were unsuccessful. If you are managing the process internally, sometimes things can fall through the cracks – particularly when you are down the pointy end and getting close to making an appointment.

Surprisingly, recent research conducted by job seeking site SEEK revealed that close to 45% of people who have applied for a role, never heard back from the company about their application. This sentiment is reflected in our own research of the candidate market, with 50% of our candidate community stating that “communication” is their number one frustration with any recruitment process.

For senior level roles, these candidates were likely passive – in that they were contacted about the opportunity and not actively in the marketplace. In addition, the process of formally applying for a role takes considerable time, whether that’s completing due diligence, familiarising themselves with the business/sector and then preparing an application. It is a commitment of time and there’s an expectation that they will be treated with a level of respect and that includes timely communication and honest, constructive feedback.

Why is this really important? Well, not only could this candidate be a future employee but they may also be a customer, or at the very least, pass on an opinion about your business to someone else. The experience they have with your brand during a recruitment process matters.

What sort of feedback should you provide?

You can never over communicate during a recruitment process – this includes timely and appropriate communication to candidates, including; an immediate acknowledgement of application, prompt responses to candidate queries, regular updates on the process and timely advice of an unsuccessful application.

Think how you can add value – even if the candidate is unsuccessful, have an appreciation of the time and effort they put into their application and think how you can add value to them in terms of any future job search i.e., how did they present themselves in their CV, and in-person during an interview etc.

Letting a candidate know that they were unsuccessful can be challenging and there’s likely a temptation to avoid a conversation and rely on email instead. The general rule to follow, is that if you have had a conversation and/or interview with a candidate, then the most appropriate form of communication is verbal – either on the phone or in person.

When you are providing feedback, remember to keep it genuine – don’t “invent” reasons why the person was unsuccessful in obtaining the role or why another candidate was more desirable. Remain empathetic – how would you like to be treated during the recruitment process? And most importantly, try to provide feedback that is constructive – if you were part of the hiring process then you know why the candidate wasn’t the right choice.

The impact on your employer brand may be difficult to quantify. But consider that in any recruitment process you’re usually hiring only one person and there are likely 50 to 100 other applicants who were unsuccessful – what experience are they taking away from the process?

Need help?

Decipher Group have their finger on the pulse of changing trends in the recruitment and people space. If you are looking for direction and assistance on unearthing and retaining the right talent for your business, get in touch with us.

The Decipher Team

To stay on top of current recruitment trends and technologies follow Decipher Group on LinkedIn.

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