You know what sucks?
Getting told no.
You know what sucks even harder than that?
Not getting told anything.
And yet somehow, in this enlightened age of human-centred recruitment it’s still one of the most common frustrations we hear from job applicants.
We get asked a lot about how we can improve the candidate experience. While Weirdly quizzes help with the beginning of the recruitment process, we’ve got tonnes of ideas about how companies can create a better experience through the rest of the candidate’s journey. We’re going to break down the most important things, one at a time – a simple series of steps to create a less sucky candidate experience.
First on our hit list, saying no. Not just doing it; doing it the right way.
Why is it important? I mean, should we really be spending energy on unsuccessful candidates?
Consider this: The world is a small place. Most people want to work for a brand or company they like. That means a hell of a lot of your job applicants are also likely to be existing or potential customers.
What does that mean?
Well, simply put. Your applicant’s crappy recruitment experience doubles as a crappy customer service experience.
We know 88% of people who have a positive candidate experience are more likely to buy your products, even if they don’t get the job they were applying for. We also know 97% of those same applicants would refer a friend to apply for roles in your company based on their positive experience.
If those were statistics were tied to a marketing activity, you can bet your last dollar every company in town would be pulling out all stops to make sure they were doing it bigger and better than the shop down the road.
So we know candidate experience is important.
One of the most obvious ways to improve the recruitment experience for your own candidates is to make sure their final interaction feels like a positive one.
In that respect, how you say no to an applicant is just as important as how you say yes.
Answer this: How much of your time and budget do you allocate to saying yes to your final applicant? How many brainstorming sessions have you had with your team, dreaming up cool and creative ways to award jobs or announce short-short lists?
Now, how many brainstorming sessions and budget lines have you allocated to dreaming up great ways to say no?
Why is that?
It feels like somewhere along the way, we all forgot that each “no”, was a person that could either be a great employee in some other role in our business, or a valuable customer, or both. We’ve started treating those no’s like they’re disposable.
So how do you say no, and keep the love alive?
Just like with any relationship, exactly how you and your business responds to unsuccessful applicants depends on your own brand and circumstances. But here are some basic tips:
- Contact them FAST and give them the reasons why they didn’t make it. Be honest. Back these reasons up with examples and provide useful and sensitive feedback. Remember, the world is a small place. You’re helping to improve it everytime you help someone see where they might fit better and what things they can work on.
- Thank them/Respect/Acknowledge the time they have invested. Never under-estimate how much time, energy and sometimes even money people put into applying for your jobs. Think about the last time you made yourself vulnerable, allowed yourself to hope in a situation with no guarantees. It might have been bidding on your dream house, asking for a promotion or even applying for a job yourself. It’s hard to put yourself out there. Show you appreciate and respect the vulnerability and time they’ve invested and you’ll win loyalty – especially if you’re doing it while delivering bad news.
- Take the opportunity to do something different. Putting a bit of thought into making hearing “no” valuable and rewarding goes a long way. We’ve had clients who send out retail vouchers with their ‘thanks for applying’ messages. A couple who offer their entire shortlist valuable face-time with industry experts, and others who invite ALL unsuccessful candidates to join a community to work on missions that align with the company brand. However you choose to do it, this is an opportunity to live your company’s brand values and build a deeper connection with an already-engaged audience. In the purest terms it’s a marketing opportunity, as well as a chance to genuinely acknowledge the the investment these guys have put into their application.
- Highlight other opportunities in your organisation that might fit better. Especially for the applicants who get through to those final stages, you’ve got a list of really engaged people who have invested heavily in your brand. They want to work for you, they’ve got skills. So they’re not right for THIS job, are there other projects you could get them in on? Are there roles in other departments or locations where they would fit better?
The sad and awesome thing is, it’s so easy to stand out in this area.
The market has trained applicants to expect silence – if they don’t get any response, they assume they haven’t got the job or made it to the next stage. At the very best, all they can expect is a (usually templated) email.
The bar is low guys.
Imagine the impact you could have on your employer brand, loyalty and sales if you start spending more time and energy on saying no in a positive, brand-building way.
We’d love to hear how you say no – tweet us your ideas to @weirdlyhub and we’ll share them with our followers.
Interested to see if Weirdly could help streamline your recruitment? Click the button below for a free trial today.