Get your candidate experience right for unsuccessful applicants


Some employers don’t struggle with candidate attraction. I’ve spoken to plenty of hiring managers, in the retail sector in particular, who’ve told me that they receive more than enough job applications. In fact, some have even said, ‘we attract so many candidates we don’t know what to do with them all!’ Life’s rosy for them, then? Not quite. With hundreds of applicants lining up at the door, they’re faced with the prospect of sifting, screening, interviewing and regret managing a flood of potential employees. To call it ‘time consuming’ doesn’t cut it.

The issue of poor candidate experience damaging brand reputation isn’t a new one. But it’s not just reputation that is damaged, it is profits too. Most organisations have put processes in place to make sure it doesn’t happen. But all too often, they’re focused on making sure the successful candidates are happy. But what about the unsuccessful ones? All too often, they’re a bit of an afterthought. And that’s dangerous, particularly when you’re inundated with applications, where people are more likely to be unsuccessful than not.

Recently, a well-known food and beverage retailer stated that their average consumer will spend more than £11,000 in their stores during their lifetime. If they were to apply for a job and have a poor experience, that revenue is at risk. And what if they told three of their friends which affected their consumer spend? And what if there were 2,500 unsuccessful applications and 20% had a poor experience? That’s £16,000,000 lost cash. Granted, this is an extreme example. But the issue of poor candidate experience affecting profitability is a real one that can hit company profits by millions.

Companies can’t afford to overlook the impact that a quality candidate experience for unsuccessful candidates can have on their overall business results. Here are a few changes you could look at making to your hiring processes:

Out of the running shouldn't mean out of touch

Out of the running shouldn’t mean out of touch

Even if a candidate isn’t right for the role you’re recruiting for right now, they might be perfect for a role you’ll be recruiting for in a years’ time; whether it’s due to increased experience on the candidate’s part or a role being different than the initial one. Instead of reinforcing the sting of rejection though silence, use the opportunity to open an honest, respectful long-term dialog with applicants. Talent pool development in particular springs to mind.

Automate less, talk more

Automate less, talk more

Company reputations suffer when unsuccessful candidates attempt to follow-up on their applications, only to be lost in an endless loop of autoreplies and voicemails. Make sure you have a comprehensive candidate care process in place, and always have someone on the end of the phone who candidates can contact. Automated recruiting processes are brilliant, but need to be used as a support mechanism rather than a ‘way to a means’.

Make the most of touch points

Make the most of touch points

Shrewd companies recognise the benefits of quick phone calls that update candidates where their application stands in the process or whether they are being repositioned for another role. Calls keep candidate and employer on the same page and can even help with onboarding.

Ask for feedback

Ask for feedback

Someone who’s applying to work for your company is probably applying for five or ten other jobs at the same time. They’re directly comparing your application process against that of your competitors. So, whether they’re successful or not, ask them what could be done better, so you can improve your processes for next time. In my experience, this demonstrates a humble approach to the recruitment process, and positions your company brand as one always looking to improve; a very strong and compelling message.

Not all people realise that an RPO solution can focus on distinct components of the recruitment process. It doesn’t have to cover the full end-to-end process, it can just focus on one or two elements – like screening or telephone interviewing all of your applicants. If, like the retail employers I spoke to, you’re struggling to manage your abundant talent pool, you’re at risk of having a poor candidate experience. In turn, you’re risking your brand reputation and revenue potential too.

This risk needs to be mitigated, so you may want to look at taking one or two of the resource-intensive elements of the hiring process off your plate. Not only can this ensure candidate experience is consistent and excellent, but it can come with many added benefits including improving time to hire, reducing attrition and reducing resource cost in the internal department just to name a few.

At ManpowerGroup Solutions, we’re award winners for candidate experience, and we’ve delivered leading RPO solutions for companies of all shapes and sizes. Our experience has shown us that when it comes to candidate experience, even a small gesture can go a long way. For one retail employer, for example, we gave every applicant a coupon to spend in store, whether they were successful or not. It protected their brand reputation, and made sure every candidate felt that the time they spent on their application was worthwhile, even if they didn’t get the job. If you’re interested in finding out more, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.