How To Treat Applicants Who Apply For A Job

How To Treat Applicants

Career Kuel Thought Leader: Gayle Petrillo

Over the last several years I’ve given advice to prospective employees.

The Etiquette Of Hiring:

We discuss the etiquette of how to apply, interview, and follow up for a position. What I haven’t talked about, at least recently, is the etiquette of filling a position from the employer side.

“An astounding 75% of candidates say they’ve never heard back from an employer after applying for a job.””

I recently read a very interesting article on this topic by Jon Picoult, founder of Watermark Consulting and the author of From Impressed to Obsessed 12 Principles for Turning Customers and Employees into Life-Long Fans

How an employer responds to applicants who apply for a position within their company can impact how that candidate, and those they share experiences with (especially on social media), experience that company. This may negatively affect current and prospective customers. At times they are the same individuals, aren’t they?

As a hiring manager, do you respond to your applicants, regardless of how far in the interview process they proceeded? 

Responding To Applicants:

Jon quotes from The Human Capital Institute which reports that “60% of job seekers drop out of a company’s application process because it’s too complex or time consuming. An astounding 75% of candidates say they’ve never heard back from an employer after applying for a job.”

By not replying to applicants, you are sending them the message that they are not important. That can easily backfire. Here’s how.

Let’s suppose your first choice candidate doesn’t pass a required drug screen or other preliminary step in the hiring process. Perhaps, for some reason, the start date arrives and your candidate of choice doesn’t show or isn’t able to come to work for personal or family issues (sickness, travel, etc.).

If the employer has not shown some sense of kindness or caring or etiquette protocol to the second or even third place candidate, it is likely they were left with a bad taste in their mouth about your organization leaving you without much choice other than to start the entire interview process all over again. 

“In addition, the recruitment process is an expensive proposition.”

Recruitment Process Is An Expensive Proposition:

This can be challenging both from a time and dollar perspective. It takes at least four weeks to secure a candidate for an average opening. This means your open slot will remain open for at least that length of time, requiring someone else to learn and/or perform those responsibilities. 

In addition, the recruitment process is an expensive proposition. 

A recent survey by the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM) found that the average cost per hire is just over $4,000. This number is the average across all the companies SHRM surveyed. 

Employees Versus Customers:

Let’s compare how prospective employees are managed versus how organizations treat their customers. Imagine how a customer who doesn’t receive a formal response to an inquiry or complaint feels and then reacts. Some companies use job portals that only an experienced techie can navigate. 

Are your job postings and comparable resumes fraught with acronyms and nomenclature foreign to a host of potential applicants? This equates to selling goods and/or services with marketing ploys that are non-decipherable or using a website that is so difficult to maneuver that buyers abandon their cart mid-purchase. 

Follow up with applicants who apply to a position which is a bit of a stretch for them, or on the other hand, they are over qualified for. If they haven’t been treated well, and you reach out at a later date regarding a position better suited for that applicant, it’s likely you, the employer, will not receive a reply. 

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About the Author:

Gayle Petrillo is President of First Impressions, Image Consulting. Gayle is an image consultant working with both businesses and individuals. Her services include: customer service training; team building skills; secret shopper services; gossip avoidance techniques; closet analysis; wardrobe transformations, personal shopping; employment coaching; and presentation skills.