To the recruiter it may concern,
There are candidates interested in working for your company, and you have not responded to their job application. These candidates are putting themselves out there. In reaching out to you, they have bet their time and potential. They are considering placing their professional futures into your hands. You do not owe them a job – they have to earn that – but you owe them a message about where they stand with your organization.
This isn’t just about doing the right thing.
Responding to candidates in a timely manner is about your bottom line.
“Companies that prioritize the candidate experience are 2x as likely to improve their cost per hire compared to those who don’t,” reports Aberdeen Research Analyst Zach Lahey.
Yet, today, years after candidate experience has nearly been talked to death, 65% of jobseekers still report never or rarely receiving notification from employers, and 60% of jobseekers report having a poor candidate experience.
Apart from costing you more, not responding to candidates in a timely fashion will (1) cause you to miss out on candidates who were interested in your brand when they applied, but are no longer interested because you didn’t respond in a timely manner, and (2) damage the reputation of not only your employer brand but also your company’s overall brand.
You Snooze You Lose
The best candidates inherently demand that your hiring process take less time. That’s because these candidates accept other offers; that’s the job of a desirable active jobseeker. So for the recruiter, it’s simple: as your response time lengthens, your candidate pool shrinks.
Similarly, other passive and semi-passive candidates will move on. Maybe they became interested in your company after you reached out and they had a bad Tuesday at work, and by the time you responded three weeks later, the outlook on their day to day has entirely changed.
It only gets worse from there. If you have candidates in your system who aren’t currently interested in working with your company, your system doesn’t use the word “candidate” accurately. A database of people who may or may not be interested in working for your company creates extra work for everyone else in your department. Colleagues will reach out to people who aren’t interested in your company. That’s lost hours of worker productivity.
Don’t Damage Your Reputation
Not responding to candidates greatly damages your brand. Whether a candidate gets the job or not, they should walk away speaking positively about your brand. In the age of social media, public positivity should be a priority of the recruitment department. This will increase the likelihood of a candidate re-applying, referring a friend, and even becoming a great customer.
“A candidate is 4x more likely to consider a future opportunity with your company if you offer them constructive feedback,” reports Paul Petrone.
For a moment, think beyond your department. Recruitment is public facing. You and your colleagues interact with people who not only could be employees, but also customers or advocates. The reality is 77% think less of companies that do not respond to job applications, and 58% would hesitate buying a product from a company that did not respond to their job application, according to a 2,000-person survey.
It’s Not That Hard
There’s good news. With minimal effort, increased candidate response rates can have short- and long-term gains for your company. The bar isn’t that high. It’s easy to setup an auto-reply email to confirm the application form was received. It’s also easy to automate emails that update the candidate on the key status changes that usually occur in the hiring process.
Additionally when it comes to giving feedback, the bar is not that high. The minimum is a simple write-up; in fact, Paul Petrone reports 65% of candidates prefer their post-interview feedback via email.
At the end of the day though, recruitment’s job is to make candidates want to work at the company. Recruitment is based on relationship building – and successful companies make this a priority.
As Lahey also reported for Aberdeen, “Businesses have increased their focus on building relationships with candidates by more than 5x between 2013 and 2014.”
So if you’re dreading a tough phone call, don’t. That’s only part of the job. See it as an opportunity to turn someone into a brand advocate – or even a future candidate in your talent pipeline.
It takes some discipline, but by dedicating just a little time up front, you can make sure each candidate receives the right message in a timely manner.
Thank you for taking a moment to read my feedback to recruiters.
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