A candidate’s opinion of your organization will be shaped almost entirely by the recruitment process. Consider their first touch point with your company as a first date. While it's crucial for the candidate to sweep the recruiter off their feet, recruiters often forget how important it is for them to create a positive impression in favor of the organization. This courtship is a two-way street, as unemployment rates across North America are steadily dropping, leaving a smaller pool of qualified and competent available job seekers.
After a bad candidate experience, 72% of job seekers report sharing their encounters online. This alone can severely diminish an organization’s brand equity and prevent future applicants from considering them as employers. In fact, 55% of job seekers report avoiding certain companies after reading negative reviews.
Every interaction with a candidate sends a clear message about the organization. Let’s examine some common recruitment mistakes, and the message they send to good candidates that might scare them away.
1. Drawing out the recruitment process
The interview process can be lengthily based on an organization’s hiring policies. The overall process can take an average of 23.7 days. While a great candidate might be considering your organization, they are likely considering other companies as well. By drawing out your process, you are communicating to a good candidate that not only are you still not sure about them, but they might not be your top pick. As a result, good candidates may withdraw themselves from the pool. Having multiple screening methods beyond the interview (IQ tests, presentations, panel interviews, etc.) can also slow down the process and create more hurdles that scare candidates away.
Eliminate any unnecessary steps or meetings, and make an offer as quickly as possible. Remember, if you string candidates along and treat them poorly, they will likely share this experience on sites like Glassdoor, so communicate transparently and frequently.
2. Showing up late/unprepared to interviews
Of course, uncontrollable circumstances can sometimes occur. However, if a candidate is taking time away from their job for an interview, the minimum requirement should always be that an organization is timely, prepared, and have read the candidate’s resume. Otherwise, the candidate might leave feeling as though the company does not value their time, and likely does not value the time of its employees. Be prompt with each interview, and don’t think that letting a candidate sit in the lobby while you answer emails won’t impact their overall impression!
[Related: How to Conduct Better Interviews]
3. Asking for finished work
Asking a candidate to produce similar work to that required of the job can be necessary when searching for a specific skill set. However, asking a candidate to produce real work that will be used in the business is unethical and should not be a best practice within your organization. This tells candidates that you’re comfortable taking advantage of the people you work with and you might not always be ethical in your business.
When asking candidates to submit an exercise to demonstrate their skill set, consider how long it will take them to complete this work. If it takes longer than a few hours, this request will likely be seen as unreasonable and will result in many qualified candidates removing themselves from the recruitment process.
[Related: How to Recruit the Informed Candidate]
4. Calling them without setting up a time to chat
In a traditional recruitment process, a recruiter would identify a list of resumes, and begin calling potential candidates. While calling a candidate is certainly quicker than writing up an email, it can become extremely invasive for individuals who are currently employed. Seventy percent of organizations utilize an open floor concept, which means most people can’t pick up their phones in private while they are at work. As a recruiter, you’ll know whether or not a candidate is currently employed, and calling them without setting up time over email might convey the impression that your organization is unprofessional and not considerate of their personal circumstances. When it comes to candidate preference, 79% of those surveyed prefer being contacted through email first.
5. Forgetting to sell the company and opportunity
Finally, remember that as a recruiter, you are trying to sell a candidate on your organization. It’s important to be transparent about the realities of the job. It’s also crucial to share positive information about the culture, highlight their growth potential, and always ensure the candidate is completely informed of all aspects of the role they are interviewing for. Like in any sales cycle, you must close your candidate!
Losing good candidates to a bad recruitment process will not only damage your talent pipeline, but will influence how consumers interact with your brand and products in the long run. The best candidates understand that interviewing is a two way street, so information must always be shared both ways, and candidates must always be treated with respect and value!
Stacy Pollack is a Learning Specialist with an MA in Educational Technology. She is passionate about building leadership programs that engage and contribute to the success of her organization. She loves to share her perspective on job hunting, career building, and networking for success. Connect with her on LinkedIn or Twitter.