Of course respect is always a must and is certainly not particular to the hiring process, yet it is surprisingly lacking in this environment. Perhaps it’s easier to forget about it when you’re not dealing with someone face-to-face? Or simply when you believe that this is an accepted, and expected, way of doing things.
It’s about time
Applying for jobs is a rat race. People who are actively seeking work tend to apply for jobs en masse and popular job categories, such as HR recruitment, receive dozens of applications. As employment opportunities arise and fresh graduates break out into the working world, these numbers will just keep on increasing. This is a good thing, as it means there are more candidates to choose from, but on the flipside, more applications also means taking more time. Because of this many applicants get no feedback whatsoever, which is very demotivating.
Capability, education and resilience are qualities that increase yearly, every decade pushing out a crop of bright young people smarter than the generation before. Yet they are left feeling demoralised and let down even before getting a foot in the door for an interview. Why? Because they are left hanging. No answer at all is much worse than a negative one. At least the latter allows the candidate to move on. “I applied for this job and didn’t hear anything back” is all too often heard at the Keepmeposted office, and the worst thing about it is that we can’t help here, as it’s not up to us. But this doesn’t mean that the problem can’t be solved.
It works (or doesn’t) both ways
But hold on before passing judgement. Paradoxically, we get the same feedback from hiring managers! It’s very common for a company to favour one particular candidate who performs well. Communication begins to flow from both sides; things seem to be going well; the company extends a job offer and…radio silence – the candidate stops responding and leaves HR hanging. In other cases, candidates have been known to simply not turn up for an interview. No email, no phone call – just a vanishing act.
Could it be that candidates are mimicking behaviour they have become attuned to and now believe that this is an acceptable response to offers that don’t meet their expectations? Possibly, hiring managers who open a job posting up to the masses and respond only to a few have fostered this environment of stalled connection. Sadly when dialogue is left suspended in mid-air, any opportunity for negotiation, improvement, knowledge of the person or job, is lost.
Target the right talent
What is the solution? Wading through thousands of CVs from interested candidates who are not suitable for the role is hardly the most productive use of any hiring manager’s time. To that, there are simple solutions, whether it’s putting a cap on accepted applications or being much more specific in your job description so as to target the right talent.
True, you might receive fewer applications but then they would be quality ones, and isn’t that’s what counts? Fewer (quality) applications also means that the hiring manager would manage to respond more easily to candidates. This would show respect and garner it at the same time. The company looks better, the candidate feels better and the process is just generally more pleasant and efficient. Everyone knows where they stand and most importantly, no bridges are burnt. Who knows? The candidate might not be suitable for this role but may be perfect for the next one!
Change starts at the top
When you respect candidates they will work better. What’s more, even employees who can see that the company handles certain processes respectfully, work better. And so, as always, change begins at the top and trickles down until it becomes part of the company culture.
So write that rejection letter, as unpleasant or unnecessary as you may think it is. Give the candidate feedback where possible and show that their interest is appreciated. It could mean that next time your offer doesn’t meet the applicant’s expectations, you won’t get ghosted.