Hiring, The Nice Way

Job applications are responded to within a day. Candidates to be interviewed receive helpful emails with directions and nearby coffees shops and landmarks. The interviewer has snacks ready and knows the candidate’s history. A rejection may come but is prompt and with a full explanation.

If this isn’t the kind of hiring process most people would recognise, it’s because companies across the globe are struggling with a flood of applications while hoping to save on rehiring costs with careful scrutinising of candidates. But it turns out that job applicants are not just getting angry with the system—they’re getting even.

According to a new Korn Ferry survey, three-quarters of job candidates around the world say they likely would stop buying products or services from a company where they had a bad interview experience. Worse, nearly half would urge friends and family to stop being a customer as well, says Sarah Lim, a managing director at Korn Ferry who heads the firm’s European Retail practice.

Experts say the problem isn’t so much turning down candidates, it’s the typical “ghosting” that has been endemic to the process. So the best firms are revamping the whole approach, with speedy replies, better talent matching and more thoughtful interviews. One U.S. company created an online system that tells candidates how long it will take to move to the next phase and what that next stage entails. The company is also looking at artificial intelligence, robotics, virtual reality and other technologies to help create “an exceptional, more diverse workforce” according to its vice president of talent acquisition and employee experience.

Changes like these may not eliminate the sting of being rejected for a job, but experts say they may keep candidates from becoming angry critics.

Three ways to enhance the candidate experience

Choose the right digital tools: There are a number of new, technology-based tools available to TA professionals to streamline and improve the recruitment process and consequently, the candidate experience. These include: applicant tracking systems (ATS); video interviewing; online assessment tools; job posting aggregator; analytic tools and dashboards; electronic reference checking; and more. But according to the Korn Ferry Talent Forecast research, less than 50% of HR professionals globally are taking advantage of such recruitment technologies.

Communicate, be welcoming and informative: Examine all candidate interactions to ensure that candidates are treated consistently in all touch points. Promptly advise candidates of the progress of their application, notify when they are no longer considered and always provide feedback. Make sure the tone of your communications is positive, and encouraging, not patronising or overly formal

Attract the right candidate: Take the time to analyse what you’re looking for, then create a profile of the ideal candidate for the job. Provide good insight into the role and organisation culture so you attract only candidates that are more likely to succeed in the position. You will save time and will let down fewer candidates if you show them what it’s actually like to do that job in your organisation.

Survey infographic