Despite high unemployment rates, more than half (56%) of employers who recruited new employees in 2012 reported that a candidate rejected their job offer.  Why? Oftentimes a bad job search experience with the company. Many employers don’t realize the impact that this has on a candidate. Just as candidates are eager to make a good impression to a potential employer, an equal eagerness should be displayed by the potential employer towards each candidate.
How Companies Do it Right
There are companies that have more qualified candidates than they have open positions. Why? Their “reputation”. It’s not just what candidates hear on the street (i.e. culture, benefits, compensation, etc.) but it is also the way in which the company manages their talent acquisition process – they understand the importance of establishing relationships with their candidates and treat each one as a valued individual.
When does the Candidate Experience Begin?
Most employers think that the candidate experience begins the moment the job seeker receives the first phone call. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case. The actual process begins when a candidate applies to a job posting. Surveys show that almost half (44%) of candidates who hear nothing back from an employer after applying for a position begin to develop a negative opinion of that employer. In a separate study, nearly one-third of job seekers (32%) reported that they were less likely to purchase a product from a company who didn’t respond to their job application.  At any point during the hiring process, a potential employer’s actions, or lack of action, can affect a candidate’s decision as to whether or not they wish to proceed with their consideration.
Here are a few key items to remember during your interview process:
- Acknowledge the receipt of a candidate’s application. We know that many job seekers are simply not a fit; but so many applicant tracking systems and job boards make it easy to respond back with an acknowledgement of receipt. Something like: “Thank you for applying to our Director of Accounting position, we will review your information and will contact you if your experience and qualifications are a fit for the position.” Give the candidate the acknowledgement that their information has been received.
- Treat each candidate as you would want to be treated if you were the one interviewing.
- Make sure the information provided is accurate and consistent (if more the one interviewer).
- Be prepared to answer questions and be honest if you are not qualified to answer specific questions.
- Explain to the candidate your role in the interview process.
- Make sure you allow the candidate to share his/her experience and ask questions (s/he should do most of the talking).
- Provide clear and concise expectations regarding decision making timeframes – and stick to them even if it is to communicate a delay in the process.
Employers Should Not
- Arrive to the interview late or fail to keep the interview (their time is just as important as yours).
- Go to the interview without the candidates resume or history of his/her experience.
- Meet with a candidate to discuss the role when you’re not clear on the role or why you are meeting with the candidate.
- Pretend to know answers to questions when you do not; this can lead to confusion and misrepresentation of the position.
- Make promises, especially if you are not a decision maker.
- Do the majority of the talking – dominate the conversation.
- Ask very few questions or spend time on computer or cell phone – appear to be disinterested.
- Give the candidate a time frame for feedback and fail to follow through.
Being mindful of the candidate experience will go a long way with establishing your “standard” within the market and can make or break your flow of candidates.
 CareerBuilder Survey, 2012
 CareerBuilder Survey, 2012