American companies spend a significant amount of resources on employment selection and hiring. Only in 2017 businesses filled over 66 million vacancies and spent an average of $4,129 per job to find satisfactory candidates (Cappelli, 2019). Therefore, the process of employment selection has turned into a two-way street. On the one hand, the companies sift through numerous resumes in the hope to pick a talented employee ahead of the competition. On the other hand, the potential employees evaluate how the future employers treat them during the hiring process. A negative experience can lead to the loss of a particular candidate, and can also cause problems in future hiring attempts. As a result, the employer has to put a considerable effort into creating a positive candidate experience, since failure to do that could result in damage to the employer’s brand.
Due to the widespread access to the Internet, the candidates possess a viable opportunity of sharing their negative experiences publicly. Moreover, sharing a bad candidate experience has become a prevalent course of action. For instance, in 2016 almost 60% of job applicants reported a negative experience, and 72% of them indicated sharing it online (CareerArc, 2016, as cited in Miles & McCamey, 2018). It seems difficult to blame them for exposing the employer’s faults and warning other candidates to be wary in dealings with a company that cannot organize the hiring process properly.
The negative consequences for the employer brand are not ending with losing a single employee. According to Miles and McCamey (2018), a negative experience may result in desired talent choosing the direct competitor, which is worse than simply losing them. In addition, a disappointed candidate can disengage as a customer or a stakeholder (Miles & McCamey, 2018). One might say, that the number of vacancies is limited, and a company cannot be blamed for negative comments from some of the rejected candidates. However, every single recruitment effort adds a small margin to an overall experience. Therefore, both positive and negative cases of interaction between the candidates and the employer can affect the available talent pool in the future.
In essence, a company should strive to create a positive experience even for the candidates that are going to be rejected. Spread of the negative experience can be harmful for the future hiring effort. Likewise, the satisfied candidates might share good feelings with others, which would improve the company’s reputation. Onishuk (n.d.) provided a list of the most common reasons for discontent expressed by the candidates. 75 percent of respondents complained about never hearing back from the employer after sending the application, while 60 percent visited interviews and never received feedback Onishuk (n.d.). Therefore, suggestions for the candidate experience issue in employment selection should lie within an ethical field. The candidates must be provided with clear information from the employer on all stages of recruitment — from reading the job description to receiving the notification of the interview results.
Writing Clear Job Descriptions
The employment selection and hiring process starts from posting the vacancy, so the creation of a positive candidate experience starts from writing a job description. Therefore, the company should analyze in the first place what specialists are they looking for, and what skills they must possess. Depending on the required skills, the employer should write a clear job description, so the candidate could easily understand the requirements and responsibilities. Onishuk (n.d.) recommends using simple language for writing the descriptions while avoiding jargon or stereotypical words such as “passionate” or “team player”. Overall, the candidate should be able to clearly recognize their future responsibilities and must-have skills.
Streamlining Process of Application
Writing a clear job description will not do good service if the candidates will have difficulties in sending a job application. To prevent that problem, the employer should make a career page with vacancies easy to find on their website and provide a clear explanation of what documents the candidate needs to submit. The best solution would be to place an application form on a single page, so the candidate could carefully fill all fields, prepare the necessary files, and upload them. Adhering to these recommendations would show, that the company respects the applicants and values their time.
Communicating and Following-up
The employer should maintain a timely and polite connection with the candidate throughout the whole recruitment process. Onishuk (n.d.) suggests starting communication by sending a confirmation email after the candidate submits their application. Even a generic message of gratitude adds to the sense of personalization. An applicant should feel, that the company treats them like human beings rather than a cog in a machine.
For that reason, the HR manager should also address the candidates by their names instead of internal reference numbers. After the application check, the employer should return to the candidate with either rejection or an invitation to the interview. Demonstrating appreciation for the candidate’s time would be useful for the company’s image. Overall, the company should politely respond to all reasonable calls and emails from the candidates to maximize the positive experience.
Conducting an Ethical Interview
By this stage, the first wave of the applicants would likely be rejected in a polite way. The remaining part would be approached with an invitation to the interview. These candidates must be approached with full attention since they managed to pass an application check; the neglection during the personal interview could destroy an already created positive experience. The company should provide candidates with clear information regarding the format, place, time, and duration of the interview. The interview should be arranged as a conversation, not an interrogation; the candidate must be given an opportunity to ask questions about the company. The interviewer’s attention must be focused on the candidate; multi-tasking and distractions would be harmful to the experience. In the end, the candidate should feel comfortable and grateful for the welcoming reception.
Giving and Receiving Feedback
After conducting the interview, the company should provide feedback regarding the interview results in the shortest time possible. In addition, the company should prepare for giving detailed feedback to the candidates, rejected after the interview, if they ask for it. This kind of feedback can help the candidate understand the weak points of their application and succeed in the next attempts. In addition, the employer can go even further and ask the candidates for their impressions from the interview. This tactic would allow improving experience for the future candidates.
Employment selection in the modern era requires additional attention and empathy from business owners. A history of negative interactions with job applicants could cause more significant problems than leaving one candidate disgruntled. Therefore, the companies should adhere to recommendations for the creation of a positive candidate experience. Implementation of these practices in the hiring process could potentially help avoid negative feedback from the rejected candidates and enlarge the talent pool for future recruitment efforts.
Cappelli, P. (2019). Your approach to hiring is all wrong. Harvard Business Review. Web.
Miles, S. J., & McCamey, R. (2018). The candidate experience: Is it damaging your employer’s brand? Business Horizons, 61(5), 755-764. Web.
Onishuk, E. (n.d.). How to create a great candidate experience. Workable. Web.