, that interaction leaves something to be desired.

More than one in four workers in the nearly 4,000 surveyed recently had a bad experience when applying for a job. The vast majority (75%) who applied to jobs using various resources in the last year said they never heard back from the employer, at all, while 82% expected to hear back from a company when they apply for a job, regardless of the interest level of the employer.

Why should you care about this?

[caption id="attachment_20650" align="alignright" width="152" caption="Sanja Licina, CareerBuilder"][/caption]

From the second job seekers are viewing your job ad and applying to your company, they are forming an opinion of who you are as an employer and as a business," says Sanja Licina, Ph.D. and Senior Director of Workplace Analytics at CareerBuilder. “One bad applicant experience can have a ripple effect with candidates not only vocalizing their dissatisfaction with how they were treated, but encouraging others not to apply or even buy products from that company.”

The survey also indicated when candidates have had a negative experience at a company, they’re less likely to pursue opportunities at the same company at a later date. The opposite is also true. Even if a candidate doesn't get a job, if they have a positive experience, they likely would apply for another position in the future.

This is what constitutes a "bad experience" in the eyes of job seekers, according to the survey:

  • Employer never bothered letting me know the decision after the interview – 60%
  • Found out during the interview that the job didn’t match what was written in the job ad – 43%
  • Company representative didn’t present a positive work experience – 34%
  • Company representative didn’t seem to be knowledgeable – 30%
  • Employer never acknowledged receiving my application – 29%

"It’s so critical that your employment brand effectively carries through at every touch point with candidates," adds Licina.

So what are those touchpoints for HR? They can probably be divided into three main areas:

  • Pre-employment experience
  • On-boarding experience
  • Post hire experience

Within those broad categories are some of the following tactical pieces:

  • recruiter contacts
  • website
  • recruting ads
  • interview experience
  • interview follow-up and response offer
  • compensation and benefit package
  • training

Other surveys have shown most companies make little or no effort to manage simple key touchpoints such as acknowledging receipt of a resume, or providing feedback about when a position is filled.

Most companies make little or no effort to manage simple key touchpoints such as acknowledging receipt of a resume, or providing feedback about when a position is filled.

Sadly, many times it is simple rudeness that is present when a candidate never gets a response after a job interview,” says HR expert Steve Kane in this Forbes online post. “This should never happen at a sophisticated, progressive employer. Obviously, if someone is going through the effort of preparing for an interview, they deserve some idea of their likelihood of receiving an offer.”

Think about it. You care about your reputation, right? And you spend at least some time, money and bandwidth on promoting and enhancing that reputation through marketing. So why not HR? Why don't you think providing at least a modicum of feedback to job candidates impacts your reputation, and can be seen as a referendum or reflection on your organization's culture and DNA and entire management process?

That is true particularly these days, when social media can play such an important role in your reputation, and can give job candidates a forum to bash - or build - your brand.

In this Staffing Talk post I quote Kevin Grossman, who has over two decades of leadership experience in various roles in HR and recruiting services. He says businesses owe applicants at least two things, regardless of the position level being applied for:

[caption id="attachment_20648" align="alignright" width="175" caption="Kevin Grossman"][/caption]

  • Acknowledgement – simply that you’ve applied and we acknowledge that. Thank you.
  • Closure – simply that you are or are not qualified for the position, that you are, or are not, getting the job, there are, or are not, other opportunities with us, and we acknowledge all these things in a consistent and timely manner. Thank you.

Two things,” says Grossman. “That’s it. That’s easier to do because of recruiting system automation, although anecdotally too many companies have such low user adoption with their talent acquisition systems, they never use that functionality.”

Gregg Dourgarian weighed in on this earlier post saying, "This is a good topic because leaving a candidate feeling unfairly handled can hurt your overall brand and not just your employment brand. The problem is that despite best efforts you can never fully manage expectations of the public at large."

Several others opined that the simple, sad reality is that attempting to provide any closure, any type of feedback, any "thanks, but no thanks" type of communication with an unsuccessful candidate can trigger litigation or other unintended consequences.

Surely there is a solution for this, one that provides satisfaction for job applicants, without providing future work for litigious lawyers (is that redundant?).

What do you think of the CareerBuilder survey? Is there anything new here, or is this same old, same old? Do the job applicants have a right to feel the way they do, or are they off base? Are there any policies or communication methods you have landed on that work for both the applicants - and the legal department?

Tags: News, HR, HR Trends, Job candidates, Communicating with job candidates, Human Resources, Human resources professionals, CareerBuilder Survey