What is Your Company Doing to Change Job Seeker Perception?
How often does your company do an internal audit of how you are corresponding with job seekers? The answer to this question, for most companies, is not very often—and it could be one of the main reasons your company is having difficulty attracting top-tier talent for your organization.
A recent study released by research firm “Future Workplace” echoed this sentiment, as many job seekers reported having a poor overall experience during their job search. No, it wasn’t the overwhelming number of job alerts they receive from job boards that they complained about though, it was the experience with the actual employer after they had applied for the job that had job seekers discouraged.
According to their study, which surveyed 1,200 respondents (826 job seekers and 374 employers), 60 percent of job seekers reported a bad candidate experience while applying for jobs. This wasn’t the only relevant data point from the article, here are a few others that really stood out and should be of major concern to companies.
- Of the 60 percent of job seekers who reported a bad experience, “72% report having shared that experience online on an employer review site, such as Glassdoor, on a social networking site, or directly with a colleague or friend.”
- In regard to communication post-application, “65% of job seekers say they never or rarely receive notice from employers.”
- “80% of job seekers say they would be discouraged to consider other relevant job openings at a company that failed to notify them of their application status. Yet, they would be 3.5 times more likely to re-apply to a company if they were notified.”
- “Fewer than half of employers re-engage declined candidates yet nearly all (99%) believe re-engaging will help them build their talent community and protect their employer brand.”
- “While the typical job seeker spends about 3 to 4 hours preparing and submitting one job application, the typical employer spends less than 15 minutes reviewing that application. About 70% of employers believe job seekers spend only 1 hour or less in researching, preparing for, and submitting their job application.”
The full article had plenty of more eye-popping statistics about the candidate experience from their research, but these were some of the most important in my eyes. Let’s dive a little deeper at the potential impact of this on your company.
Are reviews killing your company image?
According to the data above, 72 percent of those who reported a bad experience are discussing it online, on social networks or with friends. With our society advancing into a non-stop sharing platform thanks to social media and easy utilization of the internet—you need to spend more time reading what people think of your brand.
Many of you reading this probably have not looked for a job recently, but reading company reviews have become a vital part of the research and review process for candidates now. From personal experience, I would not apply to a company that has a negative review on a website like Glassdoor, without doing more investigating into the culture. Simply, if other people are posting about their bad experiences, why would I as a job seeker want to go there?
While it is difficult to control the overall experience and what people are posting, companies need to make sure they are putting their best foot forward from first interaction.
This is actually something that one of our project coordinators here at NexGoal was telling me earlier today is a common complaint from job seekers he works with, It is also one of the reasons they turn to him as a recruiter to help facilitate their search. Put simply, many were turned off by the first point of contact at organizations and were no longer interested in the position. If they are reporting it to him, how many more job seekers out there are telling the same to their friends and social media about that same negative experience?
Communication is key…and you are likely dropping the ball!
How many times have you stressed to your employees that communication is key? It is probably written on a white board somewhere in your office, in a handbook or on a piece of artwork hanging on wall. Yet despite this fact, many of us do not practice what we preach—and the data shows it.
In the day and age of auto-responder emails, if your company does not (at a bare minimum) have an automated message going out when someone submits an application—you are doing it all wrong. From there, someone in your human resources department should be coordinating with marketing to send up a follow-up email once you have selected a candidate.
Listen, we are not telling you to send out a detailed reason for not selecting them. But how difficult is it really to send them something along the lines of, “Thank you for your interest in (insert position name here). After careful consideration, we have selected a candidate we think best fits our needs. Though we did not select you for this position, we urge you to check back for other open positions in our company because we think you could be a fit in the future!”
Most candidates are going to be frustrated they were not selected, but this simple communication shows the door could be open one day, which goes a long way. Do you have to take them for a job in the future? That is completely up to you, but what this does is leave the candidate with a sense of closure on the position they applied for—and a positive story to tell their friends when they are all done, which could be the difference between a positive and negative social review.
Re-engagement is a necessity
Now that you have sent them the positive “they were not selected” message, what do you do with these candidates and their contact information? Well, according to the data above—not enough.
As someone who has spent many years in the email marketing industry, re-engagement campaigns are so vital to your organization. If you are not attempting to grow your database, you will continue to decline from those who unsubscribe—because unsubscriptions are inevitable.
In the job industry, the same theory applies. Those who applied to your job previously will eventually get jobs, thus reducing the size of your future candidate pool. However, you never know when they are willing to switch jobs or become unemployed—so stop dismissing them just because you did not hire them the first time around!
Save all of their contact information with your notes in an excel document, and put them on a monthly or quarterly email distribution list with your latest jobs. Or send them out an email asking if they would like to be notified about future job openings. Once again, just a little communication could go a long way.
Your candidates are doing research…and it is time to acknowledge that
Many of us come from the days of mass applications on every job board just trying to get hired. Unfortunately, what this did was create a mentality of thinking job seekers do not actually care where they get hired and are not putting in the effort to get hired.
However as time has gone on, job seekers became frustrated with being just a “number” that was being pre-screened by software and not a person—so they started doing more research. Job seekers began identifying the companies they wanted to work for through this process, and learned more about a company to prepare for their first meeting, so take notice!
Give job seekers more than the 15 minutes you have been giving them in the past. Click the link on their resume that goes to their LinkedIn account, read the cover letter they sent in and do a little research of your own. Just because their resume does not say “10 years of sales experience” does not mean they may not meet your 10-12 years of relevant experience requirement on the job description. You may be passing on your next great hire if you do not dig a little deeper.
Bonus Tip: Market your company to the candidate
Back in the day (I’ve always wanted to say that), most employers were able to get by with the standard job description—because job seekers were easily flocking to them. Then this crazy thing happened, job seekers got smart and realized they wanted to find a place that was a good fit for them before applying for the job.
For those doing the hiring, this means they were no longer getting top candidates to apply because that person could not find out why they should come work for their company in the job description. Every company wants to tell you what they want in an employee, but what they fail to realize is they need to sell to that potential employee as well.
Go and pull up a current job posting for your company and read it over. Would you be motivated to spend an hour or so applying for a job after reading it? More than likely your answer is no—so add a “Company Culture” section or a “Why You Should Work Here” section. You may think it is cheesy, but a potential candidate will appreciate it, and it just could land you that top-tier talent you have been missing out on all these months since your job posting went live.