The candidate experience

Over the past couple of weeks I’ve been getting out to events and seminars organised by the major trade bodies that represent our industry. This post’s subject is one that has come up in every conversation – ‘The Candidate Experience’.

When I initially became a recruitment consultant back in the 80s, I was told that I couldn’t spend more than 20 minutes with each candidate as otherwise I was wasting my time; I could get what I needed and move on to the next one and if I didn’t, I used to get glares from my manager. I’m glad to say that this attitude changed quite quickly and I soon realised that when I didn’t take the time to find out all about the candidate, then I tended to make mistakes or these people didn’t show me any form of commitment and would let me down without a second thought.

I often get approached by people thinking about recruitment as a career. I remember an experienced business woman who was looking to join the recruitment industry. She’d seen my LinkedIn profile and thought I would be a good person to give her some direction. We did a LI search for recruitment directors in her town and I was able to point her towards a dozen good companies (I love LinkedIn).

My initial advice to her was to make sure that she had some questions for the company as to how they view their staff and what actions they take to make sure that they are engaged and valued. She’d had varied experiences of recruiters in the past and this was a key point — working for one manager in a company, can give you a totally different experience than working for another within the same company. It’s all about the relationships and the values of the manager and the team that you’re with. A good indicator is how they treat you through the recruitment process initially. If they don’t value you at this stage, then it’s likely that they won’t later on either.

A recent survey had some interesting stats – not least of all that 77% of candidates think less of the company if they don’t respond.

I’ve had this discussion many times this year with companies  – both internal and external recruiters. The automated process of applying for a position has taken the human element out of it and in turn that means the personal touch. As it’s automated, then it should be an easy process to make sure that everyone gets at least some sort of reply when they’ve made an application to your company, but not even this happens. Therefore, I’m surprised it’s only 77%?

The most important part of the survey was the fact that having a poor recruitment process can actually have a significant impact on the business of the company as a whole, including it’s sales.

My leaving thought for companies… make sure that you write your recruitment process from the point of the candidate rather than your own agenda, otherwise you might come a cropper like this business I found as an example: –

Peter Cappelli of the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business recalls a case where the screening software of a company that was recruiting, rejected every one of many good applicants for a job, because the firm in question had specified that they must have held a particular job title — one that existed at no other company, but theirs!

Angela Cripps

Angela Cripps has worked within the recruitment industry for over 25 years and runs Connemara UK Ltd. Her career started as a recruitment consultant, where she recruited both temporary and permanent staff for Blue Arrow in Catering, Industrial, Healthcare and Commercial sectors. She is now an Executive Coach, Mentor, NED and Trainer for the recruitment industry.

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