June 5, 2012 Philip J.W. Smith & Co.

The Cost of an Angry, Alienated Job Applicant

Every industry has it’s good and it’s bad. In the recruiting sector, dealing with a mass influx of job applicants is generally something that recruiters are not very good at.

As a retained executive recruiter that goes to market on behalf of other companies and organizations, it is always my goal to provide a level of service and a personal touch that far exceeds a potential candidate’s expectations because I understand that a candidate’s experience not only reflects my own brand and company, but also that of my client’s.

Yet, for larger companies with HR and recruiting departments who often have dozens of job orders on-the-go at any given time, it can be difficult to respond to every single applicant. The danger, however, of not taking the time to appropriately respond to potential candidates can have an adverse impact on your company as a whole.

In a post entitled, The High Cost of Treating Job-Seekers Like Cattle, written by Lauren Weber and posted to The Wall Street Journal, the ramifications an angry, alienated job applicant can have on a company is explored.

Don’t believe me?

All you need to do is start reading any of the one hundred and twenty three comments offered in response to that article for proof. Consider the following (and practically unbelievable) comment:

I once interviewed with a company, was offered a job, resigned my existing job, and the day before I was to report for work got a phone call telling me they decided not to fill the position. I was hung out and they were not even polite about it. Shortly thereafter I was hired at a firm and placed in charge of acquisitions for the same area these folks were the incumbent vendor for. I replaced them. The total contract value was over $20M in one year. I never bought any of their equipment and threw them out whenever I found them. I guess they really did save some money by not hiring me.

In response to this harsh reality, Weber offers the following advice to HR managers, company recruiters, and executive leadership:

1. Understand and appropriately respond to an applicant’s and/or candidate’s value to your company or organization.

2. Test your company’s or organization’s application and screening process by submitting your own resume to a job opening or  hiring a mystery shopper to do so on your behalf.

3. Employers should ask candidates for their feedback on their application and screening processes and actually listen to their responses.

4. Clearly communicate. Communicate the role for which you are hiring. Communicate your processes. Communicate what the candidate should expect. Communicate about your company’s or organization’s values. And communicate through every method possible.

5. Answer truthfully when a candidate asks questions, and be as transparent and reliable as possible when it comes to offering information to applicants searching for jobs within your company or organization.

6. Deliver what you promise. Enough said.

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