For a long time, companies have been able to get away with poor treatment of prospective candidates. From enduring long response times or worse yet, never hearing anything at all; companies have undervalued creating a positive candidate experience for far too long. While there might be a variety of very compelling reasons why, the fact of the matter is that the increasingly social nature of the web will make the practice of continuing to treat candidates poorly a bad idea.

Sharing is Caring

Just like customers go out of their way to tell their friends not to patronize establishments where they have been treated poorly, they will also make it a point to notify members of their networks of poor candidate treatment. The only difference is that with sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter it only takes a few seconds to notify hundreds of people. In many ways, web users feel a duty to help their personal and professional networks avoid bad situations. The interconnectedness of the Social Web makes it more likely that poor candidate treatment will be distributed broadly and perhaps even virally. While some argue that there is no such thing as bad publicity, I don’t believe that any organization wants to be known for treating candidates or customers poorly. Just check out the recent controversy around user-generated ratings on Yelp. While part of the issue has to do with whether or not Yelp encourages businesses to pay to move around poor ratings. The broader trend is that businesses have found good customer ratings can have a dramatic impact on the success of their business. I think one of the main reasons why these ratings are so powerful is the inherent trust associated with peer generated ratings. In recruiting, a similar dynamic will begin to emerge; good candidate ratings will make your company extremely attractive to top candidates while poor ratings can lead to widespread candidate avoidance.

Enable Feedback

So, if the candidate is always right; what should an organization do to establish a quality recruiting reputation? One of the most important strategies is to give prospective candidates an opportunity to give your organization feedback. At every point that a prospective candidate touches your recruiting process including: pre-application research, application, interview, and offer decision; let candidates know that their feedback is valued. But, don’t just collect a bunch of random, unactionable survey data. Focus on developing and measuring elements that your organizations has deemed essential to successfully recruiting top notch candidates. Once your company has created a feedback loop, frequently analyze the survey data for consistent pros and cons across a representative sample size. Reinforce the practices that candidates appreciate, while modifying or eliminating those practices that are identified as upsetting.

-Omowale Casselle

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About the Author: Omowale Casselle is the co-founder and CEO of mySenSay, a social recruiting community that connects college students and corporations.

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