Next week I throw myself back into recruiting (this time, corporate – something new!). I’ve been thinking a lot about how I’m going to handle the candidate experience. Surely some things are out of my control – I will be working with a recruiting coordinator, flexing to the needs and schedules of my hiring managers, and of course the whims of the candidates themselves. (Of course I want to work for your company. Unless this other offer comes through. I can interview anytime. Except the four options you gave me.)
As I’m winding down my current position as a career counselor in the public sector, I’ve thought a lot about what my customers (job seekers) are going through during their own searches. I’ve also had a few interviews myself lately and am surprised at some of the bad behavior I’ve experienced first-hand.
Right now I’m working with a job seeker (let’s call him Joe) who is separating from the military. He’s a junior officer with the right background certain large companies look for when hiring distribution / management trainee types. He’s currently in process with two companies – one is his “dream” job and the other he’ll settle for. Company A offers great name recognition, training, choice of locations, and quite frankly Joe would probably trade you his first born for an offer. Company B is also large and well known, but not as “sexy” – he would have to relocate with either company but Company B’s location options are less than ideal. Also, the pay is about 10K lower for a similar role.
How did we get to the point where Joe is ready to dump Company A and give all his love to Company B?????
Enter the dreaded “Candidate Experience”.
Joe has networked in person with recruiters from Company A. He’s exchanged several e-mails. He’s done their application and revamped his resume to their exact specifications. He’s answered the same seven questions four times for three different people. He’s been promised a phone call three times from two different people and has yet to get any such call. This process has taken at least six weeks, if not longer.
Company B comes in. He’s never met the recruiter he’s working with, but they’ve already exchanged e-mails and had a very successful phone interview. He again did the application and resume redo, from which he received feedback within 24 hours. His recruiter has given him very specific “next steps”, including when/where/how of being flown in for an in-person interview and even what to expect at the rental car counter. (Yes, they’re renting him a car.) He has a tentative schedule and at the very least knows when he can expect to hear back from her by phone with updates. This has all taken place in the last two weeks.
Note that both companies are similar in size and scope. I’m sure all the recruiters involved (all corporate, no agencies here) are extremely busy. The major issue here is Company B is making the candidate feel the love. A is making him feel like he’s not worthy. B leaves the candidate feeling desirable (in the purest professional sense of course). A is making him feel like a stalker.
If both companies offered him a job tomorrow, I think he might just go to Company B – he’s that frustrated. At this rate B will send him an offer letter about the time he gets his first phone interview scheduled with A. That being said, I have to stress, this is not about timing. This is about his experience. If he still felt he had a chance with Company A he would wait for them till the cows come home.
Recruiters – what say you? Is this acceptable and/or normal behavior? Should candidates just suck it up and expect that this is simply how the hiring process works…?