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What Job Seekers Really Want – Respect

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Almost every job seeker survey shows that the most common problem they face is getting no feedback on their applications. We have called this the “black hole” because that is probably the best descriptor of how resumes get sucked into some interplanetary void. Someone coined the term “candidate experience” (probably Gerry Crispin) as a talking point and we can’t seem to get enough buzz about how bad it is and how much better it should be. The outward facing career site efforts of most companies are designed to show compassion, but the CareerXroads survey in 2012 showed that nearly two-thirds of them provided no dialog with candidates. A JobVite survey of job seekers showed that 61% say that finding a job has gotten much harder in the past year. It could be expected that job seekers ignoring advice about not shot gunning their resume indiscriminately would be disappointed, but when a focused job search is like tossing resumes into the wind something is wrong.

Much of the evidence of the cost to business of a bad candidate experience is anecdotal. Ask any recruiter or recruiting manager about the tools they need to improve connectivity with candidates and it will almost always be translated into better tools or more headcount. A high touch response mechanism not only requires adequate resources it requires commitment. CFO’s need evidence of the ROI on the investment of bucks, so a common scenario is to cry for more, get nothing, and the commitment ends there. Dave Tuttle, VP Product Development at AppVault shared a presentation with ERE members showing that after a bad experience 42% of job seekers would never again seek employment at that company, 22% would tell others not to work there, and 9% would tell others not to buy that company’s products. It would seem that the recruitment brand is knitted to the company brand in such a way that it cannot be discounted.

An overlooked aspect is the candidates’ contribution to this morass. Every good recruiter should watch the comments online like Frustrated Job Seeker’s Rants on Indeed. In a mix of constructive and clueless posts is a hint of substance that demonstrates why there may be a problem in getting an “honest” response to an application. There is already a cautious paranoia about being sued for some perceived discriminatory action, so threats of “I’m reporting you!” and “This should be illegal!” only confirms suspicions that everyone is litigious and it is better not to dare engaging anyone. On the other hand companies are operating with blinders if they do not recognize the frustration that stems from a lack of communication. It is not only disrespectful to job seekers it is bad business.

Cries of foul over black-holism are well founded and the act of acknowledging a candidate’s humanity is not asking too much. The minimum standard is to inform them of the mechanics of the process when they enter the system, confirm their status at critical points along the way, and insure that every application is brought to closure. The tricky part is that with most recruiting campaigns there can be hundreds of people randomly applying regardless of qualifications. In the final stages there may be as many as five interviews resulting in one hire. All five candidates need to have an expectation about the process for closure and the four non-hires cannot be left hanging. If we allow this 80% of our interviews to become frustrated ranters then we have done a poor job of communicating.

To both sides of the table: Show a little respect if you expect to receive respect.

Image credit: alphaspirit / 123RF Stock Photo



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