Increasing competition for the best talent hasn’t improved the way firms and recruiters often mishandle job postings and initial interviews.
In recent weeks, I have talked with more than a dozen individuals – some who currently are working but seeking new opportunities, new college graduates and unemployed professionals. All refer to the frustration of the “black hole” of online job applications. Job seekers must play the required game of applying online, but they only get responses about 50% of the time. In this day and age, there is no excuse for failing to provide automatic responses to online applications. A simple form response alleviates the #1 concern: “Did they get my resume?”
One frustrated applicant told me, “I realize they get a lot of applicants, but it doesn’t seem that it should be too difficult to generate a short, automated message via the online HR management systems on which we spend quite a bit of time when applying.” And when the position has been filled, employers and recruiters should close the loop, which also can be done via an automated response that thanks everyone who applied. This rarely happens.
And the rudeness extends beyond online applications. One applicant who went through two rounds of in-person interviews learned she didn’t get the job when she read in PR Week that someone else was hired. No heads up call from the company or the recruiter. “When I was told that I was one of two finalists for the job, imagine my surprise and disappointment,” the jilted applicant said. “I called the recruiter but it’s been three days and I still haven’t heard back.”
Another senior PR pro said he can’t enumerate how many initial interviews he’s had with no follow up whatsoever. “One phone call and then never to be heard from again is the norm,” he said. “And I always follow up a minimum of two times by phone, email or both. It’s shocking to me how unprofessional and short-sighted this is. These have included situations in which I have been a specific referral from former colleagues–and presumably potential candidates for future openings. As you would expect, my feedback in such instances was unfavorable.” He suggests the following common courtesy rule for employers and recruiters:
“A quick, negative response is FAR more desirable — and reflects better on the hiring organization — than no follow-up at all.”
Keep in mind that blasé attitudes toward the critically important role of hiring talent eventually will hurt your brands in the minds of prospective employees, clients and customers.