As some of you may or may not know, I am open to new opportunities. I do not think I will be on the market long (knock on wood) but, any day without a steady check makes for a nervous household. To date, I have been networking with multiple connections, taken several interviews and am carefully considering my options. Being on the jobseeker side of the equation is a fresh reminder to me of things I will not bring to my next role in Talent Attraction (or as a Brand Ambassador).
I have applied to several roles recently where I thought I would make a compelling candidate. Unfortunately, others were more qualified, and I did not get the job. In some cases, I know this because I received a generic email informing me of such. Whereas in other circumstances, I surmised it when the job was no longer being advertised, and a LinkedIn search revealed whom was hired. (I’m happy for that person, really, I am. #sarcasm)
As the search continues, so too are my list of complaints about the application process; of which there are several. However, there is one that towers over the rest – no communication. I suppose “ghosting” is the more appropriate word, especially with Halloween approaching. This has to be the #1 job seeker complaint.
Scan any Careers page for any company and you will see how you, as a potential candidate, are extremely significant. Each enterprise promises to want to connect with you in the hope of placing you somewhere inside its organization, all that’s needed is for you to apply. Of course, once you do, the hot and heavy romance that is purported vanishes and you are left wondering, “where did the love go?”
I am frustrated with my job search not only when I am rejected but, when I hear nothing at all from companies who say that I (as an applicant) am so important to them. Maybe it’s the angst of the situation but, its making me more cynical day by day, and I’m not the only one. Being a Sourcer at heart, I did a bit of research and I am reassured that my angst is justified. I researched job seeker complaints and one of the most common complaints is how companies ghost their candidates.
Here are just a few (very few) of the quotes I found:
Job Seekers’ Top 5 Complaints About Employers [US News and World Report]
Not responding to their applications, even after an interview. Most job seekers put significant time and effort into preparing for a job interview–reading up on the company and industry; practicing answers to interview questions; thinking about how they could best offer something of value. They may take a day off work and spend time and money traveling to the interview. But when the interview is over, they often never hear from the employer again.
Post-interview silence from employers is callous and dismissive and lacks any appreciation for the fact that the candidate is anxiously waiting for an answer, any answer, long after a decision has been made. It’s just not that hard to send a quick E-mail, even a form letter, letting candidates know they’re no longer under consideration. Employers owe interviewees a response, period.
Even after attending multiple interviews, job seekers are ghosted. They never hear back from the company. Email and phone calls go unanswered and the applicant is simply ignored and forgotten.
The real reason 60% of job seekers can’t stand the application process [Business Insider]
…The takeaway for employers is that it’s important to communicate with applicants, regardless of whether they got the job. Those candidates are three to five times more likely to reapply or apply for a different post when you do.
This is important for employers to remember because even though less than half of surveyed employers reengaged their declined candidates, 99% believed that reengaging these individuals would help expand their talent community.
Dan Schawbel, research director at Future Workplace and New York Times bestselling author of “Promote Yourself,” says it’s crucial that companies protect their employer brand during the candidate application process.
“Companies need to start humanizing their candidate experience because job seekers can easily share their negative experiences online and decide never to apply to that company again,” Schawbel said in a press release. “Treat your candidates like you would your employees or customers because they have the power to refer strong candidates even if they don’t get hired.”
So lesson learned: Don’t ghost your candidates.
So, are companies listening to the complaint of ghosting candidates? Some are but, most do not.
Early in my career, I worked for Lanta Technology Group which staffed startup companies and helped them acquire capital. When things were good, they were very good. However, when a recession hit, things got ugly. I found myself in the unenviable position of rejecting candidates at a pace that burdened my soul. I wanted to place everyone yet, what made that increasingly difficult was the trend of hiring freezes enacted by my clients. Ugh! Still, I knew the recession would not last forever. As such, I wanted to prepare for the economy’s return and help people at the same time. My solution? I began distributing an eBook I wrote called. “How Do I Find a Job When the Economy Sucks?”
When I completed my interviews and/or received inquiries about the few jobs I was actively hiring for, and I knew I would not hire them, I gave them a rejection letter and the eBook. In so many words, I communicated that I am sorry I could not help them. I also said that hopefully, these job search tips will help you find work somewhere. Perhaps in the future, we can reconnect about some other opportunity? Feel free to stay in touch with me. The End.
Surprisingly to me, that gesture of goodwill triggered an avalanche of referrals to me. Inside the eBook was my contact information at Lanta Technology Group. People who I had rejected had passed on my eBook to their networks and those people passed my eBook forward and so on and so on and so on. To this day, I still maintain a relationship with people who became aware of me because of that initiative. It is because of that experience I was so elated when I sat in on livestream by Chris Russell – “How To Turn Rejected Candidates Into Raging Fans.” One of the case studies he cited was how Virgin Atlantic used coupons to turn their candidates into customers. Genius! (Slides from that presentation are below.)
But what caught my eye the most was the demo he did on Rejobify; something I also thought was genius. Instead of sending a generic rejection email, why not send them job search tips as well? Rejobify does that; actually, it gives rejected candidates the option to sign up for a “Job Search Hacks: 7 Day Email Course.” I LOVE this idea because based on my past experience, I KNOW it will work.
In a nutshell, the benefits are these:
- You leave a rejected candidate with a positive feeling about your company, which reflects better on your talent brand.
- You increase candidate referrals as candidates share the job search material with others in their network. #sourcing #pipelining
- The experience is automated! (Not a big wow these days, but it is a capability I wish I had back in the day).
- You also get stats on how well your initiative is working. (Something else I wish I had, back in the day.)
When the livestream was over, I sent Chris a note and offered him kudos on his latest invention. I truly see it as a simple game changer that is ridiculously easy to implement. I also think its one of those things that will become an industry standard; especially with record low unemployment today and even moreso should a recession hit.
In case my rant about Rejobify has sparked your attention, click here to check them out yourself. You’re welcome.