Sunday 25 September 2016

Five ways for a company to enhance its reputation if saying no to job-seekers

Mike McDonagh

Published 26/11/2015 | 02:30

Increased opportunities have strengthened the hand of job-seekers.
Increased opportunities have strengthened the hand of job-seekers.
Mike McDonagh

As the Irish economic recovery continues to gather pace, many companies, both indigenous and large multinationals, are witnessing increased competition for candidates with in demand skills.

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During the downturn, it was employers who enjoyed the greater choice, however as the economy recovers, this has begun to change.

In recent weeks, Hays Ireland published its 'State of Resourcing Report', a study of 150 of Ireland's leading human resource directors. It confirmed that in competitive industries, the balance of power is increasingly weighted toward individual candidates whose bargaining position is strengthened by increased job opportunities.

So hiring has taken on a renewed importance beyond just meeting a company's 'business needs' in its narrowest sense. A company must become cognisant of the candidate's experience of the hiring process and how this informs its employer reputation.

This is what we call the 'candidate experience'. What is the 'candidate experience' and why is it so important?

What do you want unsuccessful candidates to think about your company?

When designing a company's recruitment process, there are many different factors that should be taken into consideration. One is creating a perception of a great place to work and somewhere that candidates would consider reapplying to.

How to become an 'employer of choice'?

Many companies invest huge resources in being identified as 'employers of choice'. By investing in this area, they believe that they will be able to attract and retain the best candidates.

While this is a sensible approach, it is surprising how many companies then neglect to think about the people who do not get hired, and how their perception of a company feeds into its reputation.

Will these unsuccessful candidates be reluctant to apply for a role with the company the second time round? Will unsuccessful candidates actively detract from your organisation if they have had a bad experience (remember, bad news travels fast)?" If the answer is yes, then that company is reducing the pool of talent it is able to recruit from. While employers recognise the value of successful hires in becoming advocates for an employer, only a small minority view unsuccessful candidates as potential advocates too. Even fewer are mindful of the reputational damage a negative experience may cause.

Creating a candidate experience that allows applicants to learn and prosper?

The goal must be to create an experience from which the candidate can learn and prosper, and in the process, make sure that the majority of unsuccessful applicants still perceive the company in a positive light. Once a candidate submits an application, they should be kept informed of all stages of the application process, including when they should expect to hear back from the company, what date interviews will be scheduled for, what the interview format will be, when the company expects to make a decision on the job, and when and how they will inform unsuccessful candidates of their decision. By informing candidates, both the successful and unsuccessful are more likely to have a positive experience of the company as a potential employer.

Why feedback is a sign of respect

Where possible, all candidates should have the opportunity to receive feedback on their application. If candidates are willing to invest their time and energy in submitting an application, a company should show that candidate the same respect. This is an opportunity for a company to demonstrate its culture and minimise the feeling of rejection among candidates.

Some organisations are particularly proficient at this, and understand that there is a high probability that they will be engaging with these candidates again, particularly in smaller industries where companies are competing for the same small pool of talent and word of mouth plays a particularly important role.

Turning unsuccessful candidates into employer advocates!

Organisations that place a strong emphasis on displaying a level of care through all stages of their recruitment process will generally receive very positive feedback from candidates.

This level of care requires extra work and this can be a real challenge for companies with limited resources, particularly those without a dedicated recruitment resource. Yet as the economy continues to gather pace, and with many industries becoming more specialised, companies will increasingly find themselves rehiring from the same sall pool of people.

Therefore, companies that invest just a little bit of time in improving their applicant experience will reap the benefits in the long run.

Mike McDonagh is a director of Hays Ireland

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