When brands treat job candidates poorly, it costs them money

Job candidates don't get the love they deserve, and it's hurting your brand's reputation says Omer Tadjer, the CEO and co-founder of Comeet.

Getty Images
Getty Images

There’s an influential target audience you’re probably ignoring. And it’s costing your company potential customers.

CMOs focus on customers. Comms and HR staffers have their eyes on the employee experience. But who’s managing the brand experience for job candidates?

For most companies, the answer is no one.

Hiring managers claim the candidate experience is very important. Yet less than half of job seekers feel they receive the same level of respect as employees. And if you think this only affects your recruiting efforts, think again.

Dissatisfied job seekers can do more than just ruin your Glassdoor reputation. Their negative experiences can turn brand advocates (and potential employees) into brand liabilities.

Conversely, positive hiring experiences—even for those who don’t get the job—can bring people closer to your brand and its leadership, uncover new customers, and of course feed the pipeline of potential employees.

The hiring experience definitely impacts your corporate brand. According to a 2018 Human Capital Institute study, 60% of job seekers report a negative experience and 72 % share those negative experiences online.

Of course, they share it on job-related sites like Indeed and Glassdoor. But they are also vocal on your brands’ social media channels, their own social media channels, and in conversations with peers and friends.

Perhaps even more troubling: 9% of people who report having a bad hiring experience will tell others not to purchase from the company. And considering the average corporate job opening attracts 250 resumes, that’s a lot of dissatisfied people ready to disparage both you as an employer and a brand.

Virgin Media knows this. They attributed a £4.4 million loss in revenue to negative candidate experience. In 2014, the media giant received 150,000 applications for open positions and reported that they lost 7,500 customers because of the hiring process.

It doesn’t all have to be bad news, though. While a negative job experience can hurt the corporate brand, a positive experience can foster loyalty.

According to a survey by Career Builder, 23% of people with a good job application experience are more likely to purchase from that company. Additionally, 56 % will probably re-apply for future jobs and 37 % would suggest others apply there.

So if you cannot isolate your employer brand from your corporate brand, how do you prevent a bad candidate experience? Give the candidate experience the attention it deserves.

Careers web pages ask people to retype resumes and cover letters and then attach the original version. At best, there’s an opaque discussion about compensation. And often, brands go silent after holding interviews.

The process is focused on the employer and that needs to change. Of course, the hiring team still needs its processes, efficiencies and automations. But it should also take the candidate’s perspective into account.

First, make it easy to find and apply to open jobs

The job description and placement are crucial. If your competitor’s job descriptions read "We’ll consider you if…" yours should send the message "You should consider us because…"

Nail the message and make sure you share it where your ideal candidates live. Yes, populate job boards but also use social media, industry-specific communities, and networking events.

Apply user experience best practices

Make it about them, not you and ask yourself who is our ideal candidate? What drives their decisions? How do they communicate?

Then work with hiring managers to build a process around these insights. Show candidates you value them through simple—but often overlooked—gestures like offering multiple modes of contact or sharing the names and positions of people who will be present at their interview.

No one likes applying for jobs. In fact, 60% of job seekers have quit an application due to its complexity or length. Remember that each application and each individual interview is a touchpoint within a wider engagement. Don’t ask for too much upfront. Leave the lengthy skills tests for the smaller pool of candidates.

Communicate consistently and openly

Regular communications, sharing clear expectations, and receiving feedback regarding a rejection are the top three components that create positive feelings about the process. When you discuss compensation upfront, you show you value candidate’s circumstances and that you’re committed to transparency.

Clear communication is essential and it’s a huge opportunity. Some 81% of applicants say receiving continuous updates would greatly improve their overall experience.

This is where you invoke the golden rule. You wouldn’t want to be addressed as "Dear applicant." And you wouldn’t want to spend hours preparing for an interview, only to wonder if you made a connection before spending weeks doubting and second-guessing yourself because you haven’t heard a single word. So don’t do that to job candidates.

Set yourself apart by exploring chat or text functions, in addition to email and phone calls, throughout the recruiting process. Or, embrace a workflow that notifies candidates every time their resume moves from one level in the process to the next. Mystery usually translates to frustration.

Track how you’re doing from the candidate’s perspective

You need to know what candidates think about the process. So, ask them how they heard of the opening, how they rate your team’s communication if they would tell friends to apply at your company. Then combine this insight with analytics from your applicant tracking system. You’ll be able to spot trends and take action to improve.

Don’t let your employer brand become a liability to your overall marketing, sales and branding efforts. Boost the candidate experience so your company becomes a place people want to work at and a brand customers want to buy from.

Omer Tadjer is the CEO and co-founder of Comeet, a software company changing the way companies hire new employees.

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