HOW TO HANDLE CANDIDATE REJECTIONS
If I applied for a job with your company, how would I rate my experience? Would I feel acknowledged, or feel that my resume or CV or online application ended up in a deep, dark hole?
Candidates often initially experience rejection during your online application process. They are looking for a fast and easy application, but often experience technical issues, long applications, or questions that are uncomfortable to answer. If your process takes longer than 20 minutes, candidates often log off out of frustration. Candidates who are currently employed often don’t have an updated resume or CV. If your company will not accept their LinkedIn profile in lieu of a resume, they may decide to opt out.
Technology can streamline your process, but your interaction with candidates should be a combination of high tech and high touch. You can utilize email templates to communicate with candidates, but the email should be personalized with their name.
When you are rejecting a candidate for a specific job, the templated email should specify the reason why they were not hired. It should also be sent from a real person, so the candidate could reach out to them if they have additional questions. Technology and templates will never replace a personal touch, which is just as important as your company brand.
Before social media, when a candidate was not happy with a company, they would complain to their family and friends. Now, within seconds they can reach thousands of potential hires. Negative candidate reviews on social media can discourage future top talent, from applying to your company.
When addressing the topic of candidate rejection, I’m not only referring to candidates who interviewed for a job and didn’t get hired. I’m referring to the hundreds or thousands of candidates who apply for a job with your company and get absolutely no response whatsoever. This is the #1 complaint I hear during my weekly job seeker webinars. More importantly, these unhappy candidates are venting their dissatisfaction on social media.
I was on a panel that was addressing rejection and the overall candidates experience. I was addressing the candidate experience with the Staffing and Recruiting Industry. Other panel members represented Fortune 100 and 500 companies.
Our major concerns were the individuals who send in their resume or CV or apply online and never get any response. All the panelists knew their automated systems were screening out most of the candidates who applied. The candidate however thought they were screened out by a person and didn’t understand why they didn’t even receive any type of acknowledgement.
It’s no secret that these candidates would never refer one of their friends, because of their negative experience. The major corporations were also facing the fact that many job seekers stopped buying their products or services, when they felt rejected during any phase of the application or interview process.
Most Staffing and Recruiting Firms specialize in a niche, industry or geographic area. They receive many unsolicited resumes from candidates they won’t place in a job. However, 100% of the candidates who submit resumes expect the recruiting firm to place them. When they do not receive any type of response, they are quick to complain on social media and would never provide referrals.
Often, the people who desperately need a job, are the individuals who experience the highest level of rejection. They are often unemployed, have an unstable work history or don’t have the required skills or experience. Or on the other side of the equation, are the candidates who have extensive experience and are rejected because they are overqualified or individuals who are pursuing an entirely new field. In any case, the people who need our help the most are often ignored.
To prove this point, we surveyed 100 candidates who had applied for a job and never heard back from us. They took time to fill out our online paperwork and submitted a resume with no response. Our survey proved they felt ignored, rejected, frustrated and accused us of wasting their time. It didn’t make any difference if they were not qualified, we had not treated them with respect, didn’t provide them with feedback or any advice on what they could do to find a job.
To resolve this issue, we created a free Career Portal to help the candidates we didn’t place or hire, find a job. We designed a 15-step process that showed them how to improve the results from their job search. We provide candidates weekly training calls where we also answer their questions to help advance their search.
There was such a high demand for this resource, that we private labeled it so other companies could offer it to the candidates, they don’t hire. Now we help 100% of the candidates we attract. We called our resource “Happy Candidates” because quite frankly, that’s exactly what we wanted to achieve.
To improve the experience of candidates who are rejected, provide them with resources that can help them. If you give them something to do, they will stop calling for updates or status reports, because they are following your advice.
The war for top talent is going to continue to escalate in this competitive job market. Whether you win or lose will greatly be impacted by the way you handle candidates who are rejected.
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