Last year I wrote about the ghosting experience my wife had received from SMS Global in Melbourne, subsequent to her three interviews for the GM- HR role that the company had advertised.
Local Talent Acquisition professional, Stan Rolfe, wrote about his job-seeking experiences in July 2019 (his post was the most-viewed of 2019 on the ATC blog) site and he followed this up last month with a post about the job-seeking experiences of another TA professional, Pavi Iyer.
Both posts detail the completely underwhelming candidate experience that appears to be the norm when companies undertake a recruitment process.
Former Sydney communications agency owner, Louise Di Francesco wrote about her job-seeking experience in The Age last November. The article’s headline Looking for work over 50 is a deeply disturbing experience tells you all you need to know about the theme of the article. Before comments were closed 366 comments had been posted. Many of the commenters shared their own, similar, experience of an impersonal and demoralizing search for an appropriate job.
As Rolfe wrote in his original blog:
“Of a dozen applications I have made, two have provided what I consider to be a good experience.”
My wife, having completed two contract HR roles in 2019, was back on the market for another role at the beginning of this year. She made 38 applications and received no response at all; no acknowledgement of her application or no rejection notification, from 23 of these applications (60 per cent).
Frankly I find it inexplicable that, at the very least, candidates are advised their application is being taken no further. Technology makes rejecting candidates by email a quick and easy process. Yet it appears that a majority of companies can’t be bothered to do this; the most basic step in any recruitment process.
Although Di Francesco and Rolfe are focusing on different aspects of the job-seeking experience, poor customer experience is the core theme. If you want any further evidence then a quick scan of a few Reddit recruitment or recruiter-themed threads should convince you that there are plenty of unhappy job-seekers out there.
In my formative days as a recruiter in Sydney I attended an event that featured Andrew Banks as the guest speaker. One of the key things I took away from that session was that I was “in the rejection business”.
In other words, almost all candidates will be unsuccessful for the role that they apply for or interview for. We only experience the pleasure of advising one candidate per role, of their success. Communication to everybody else is to advise that, unfortunately, they have been unsuccessful. Nobody likes to hear they have been rejected and it’s even more difficult to deliver that news, yet it is a critical part of a recruiter’s job.
Whether we think it is unfair, or not, the general job-seeker experience is poor, whether it’s with a recruitment agency or with a direct-employer. In many cases it’s very poor.
An easy starting point is setting expectations with candidates up-front.
As Stan Rolfe says; “The common experience for the majority is that NO ONE is setting expectations around the application process.”
Setting expectations is very easy when candidates apply to a job. All that is required is an automatic email acknowledging the application and outlining the recruitment process, or, at the very least, what’s going to happen next.
I hate any job ad that states “Only successful candidates will be contacted”, or similar, however it is inarguable that it’s a sentence specifically addressing candidate expectations.
Recruiters constantly complain about the ‘black hole’ of client or hiring manager communication yet many of these same recruiters are responsible for their own black hole of candidate communication.
It’s hamster-in-a-wheel stuff where industry-wide improvement, despite greatly enhanced technology and a talent shortage, appears as elusive as it’s ever been.
I’ll leave the final word to Stan Rolfe:
“The black hole is real. The black hole sucks and all that money you’ve spent on EVP, branding, technology is going to waste thanks to a rather rubbish candidate experience.
In today’s competitive Talent landscape, can we afford to continue down the same path?”
Note: If you are interested to improve the candidate experience in your organisation you can read about the Talent Board and the Candidate Experience Awards (CandEs) Benchmark Research Program here or visit the Recruiter Insider website for information on their services.