“I nearly bought one of their products a few weeks ago. I’m glad I didn’t. Won’t be considering buying one again”

So said a candidate to me last week about a company whose brand extends into the High Street. Did he have a bad experience? Bad customer service? Was he let down by faulty workmanship?

Kind of..

He was a rejected candidate...he’d applied for a senior role, had 5 interviews including meeting most of the operating Board, giving a presentation, and also meeting a Director from a different division. At the final interview he had been promised a decision within 48 hours. When time was almost up he got a call saying that there was one more person he needed to speak to and a phone chat was scheduled for the next morning. At the end of that call he was promised a decision the next day, which was a Friday.

But he heard nothing. At 5.30 he put a call in (he reasoned that if there was still some doubts maybe he could assuage them) but got a voice mail.

He got a call back on the Monday afternoon saying that no decision could be made, that the company had not found a strong enough comparison so were unable to commit. He was told that a member of the Board would call and explain more. 3 days later he still hadn’t heard.

He asked what I thought, and I said: ‘Some companies forget that rejected candidates are consumers and ambassadors for their businesses

A lot of time is put in to the hiring processes...design, criteria, testing, offer, dialogue, giving the successful candidate a positive impression of the company...and I think it’s easy to short change the rejected candidate(s). In my experience there are 3 things that the unsuccessful candidate wants:

Clarity
About the interview process, the competition, the selection criteria, the TIMESCALE for both the process and the decision, and some indication of where they stand

Closure
What went wrong, why it went wrong, constructive feedback, is there an opportunity in another part of the business, is it worth applying in future or is this now a closed book

Communication
Clear dialogue with the business, preferably with someone that they met during the process, and most preferably with one of the decision makers, a workable timescale with phone calls made precisely when they are promised even if there is no definite news to convey

You can’t sugar coat the message, and you can’t hire everyone who wants to work for you, but candidates you interview do invest time, energy and emotion in your company, your brand, and deserve some recognition of this investment.

Treat them well because they are your potential consumers and your potential ambassadors...


Views: 147

Comment by Gareth Jones on March 25, 2010 at 6:28am
Smart consumers, smarter employees. The momentum is building and these kind of events will begin to have a much bigger impact over time, thanks partly to social media. companies ignored customers until forums and discussion boards gave them a voice in the late 90's.

The same confidence of expression is now emerging with employees and potential employees via social media especially - its a natural evolution. And organisations ignore it at their peril.

Sad story, but all too common. Nice post Mervyn.
Comment by Felix Wetzel on March 25, 2010 at 6:42am
Very smart post, Mervyn, cutting right to the chase. Often forgotten in recruiting. Sometimes it's also our obsession with employer branding that creates this disconnect between employee/consumer.
Comment by Greg Savage on March 25, 2010 at 7:12am
Good post Mervyn. A very timely reminder for all hiring organisation
Comment by Dan Nuroo on March 25, 2010 at 8:34am
I liked the post Mervyn, an unfortunatley familiar tale. Just to extend the discussion a bit, say your friend was represented to this company by an agency, do you think the Agency's reputation would suffer too?
Comment by Gary Franklin on March 25, 2010 at 7:39pm
such a great post Mervyn. i've been saying same this for ages. touched upon same subject a few days ago. good to know that other think the same and recognise the same issues. @Dan above- i do not honestly believe that an agency's reputation will be affected, the candidate is always likely to reflect on the service and feedback he/she gets from the potential empolyer. The potential employer needs to provide timely feedback to the candidate whether directly or through an agency. This should apply to all candidates coming thru the process regardless of grade. However if the role is sufficiently senior I cannot afford to trust an agency to deliver feedback in a manner that will protect the corporate brand and thus will always insist on speaking directly with the candidate to ensure proper managment.
Comment by Ross Clennett on March 26, 2010 at 6:51pm
Saying 'the company had not found a strong enough comparison' is a pathetic excuse not to make a decision. Either the candidate is suitable to be offered the the role or he is not. Clients who want 'comparsions' are just admitting that they aren't using a competency based hiring selection criteria. A company like that gets all that they deserve in terms of a damaged employer and consumer brand.

Great stuff, Mervyn.
Comment by Alexis Perrier on March 29, 2010 at 8:28am
Can't help to think that this company knows how to waste time and resources. So many interviews to end up giving a bad image of the company to an influencial person.

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