During a family vacation in Venice, we watched the gondoliers rowing tourists across the Grand Canal, I recalled reading a travel post about their behavior. The gondoliers charm tourists into taking a ride. Once their passengers are on board, the gondoliers speak a dialect of Venetian to each other. The travel post further explained that one way this dialect survives is through the rude - and sometimes quite crude - comments that gondoliers make about their passengers.
Most tourists are oblivious to the gondolier's behavior or consider it entertainment. Unfortunately this doesn't hold true in the recruiting space. If a company advertises a position, persuades candidates to apply, and then fails to communicate properly it negatively impacts the company's brand.
Here are some ways ("channels") that your candidates may use to interact with your company. Are you treating candidates like valued customers, or are you behaving like a rude gondolier?
The Application Process Channel
Do you measure your candidate click through rate? What percentage of candidates complete the application? Here are some factors that influence completion rates:
Do candidates have to upload a resume? If so, does it parse correctly?
Do you offer a mobile apply option?
Do you offer a short form application to drive completion rates?
How long does it take to complete an application? If it's more than 5 minutes on a mobile device, or 10 minutes on a computer, you're probably missing out on a lot of qualified candidates.
If your process is outdated, what does it say about what it's like to work at your company?
The ATS Channel
We all understand that employers -- especially larger one -- need some kind of database for electronic applications.
Did you know that the typical online ATS has an application abandonment rate of a whopping 90%. Your likely losing your best candidates to your cumbersome application process. Think about your Applicant Tracking System ("ATS") from the candidate's perspective:
What do candidates have to do before they get to the application process? Is there a lengthy login process? A required video? An assessment?
How much personal information are you asking for on an application? Do you really need this information to perform initial screening?
Do you acknowledge receipt of applications?
Do you notify candidates when their application is reviewed or dispositioned?
You probably (hopefully!) don't make your customers jump through hoops to purchase from you. So why do you make your candidates work so hard just to apply for a job?
At a minimum, send candidates an email or text when their application is successfully received by the ATS. After all, they probably spent a lot of time working on a resume, cover letter, and navigating your ATS. The least you can do is to acknowledge their application. Even the rudest gondolier thanks tourists for their business.
The Social Channel
Companies obsess over their brand image with customers. We all know that without customers we don't have a business. But without employees to support the customers you won't keep that business. It's true that some candidates simply aren't the right fit for the job. With a little effort and some respect, candidates can be declined in a gracious manner that still makes them think positively about your brand.
Here are a few ways you can monitor the candidate experience:
Check out comments from candidates (and employees) on Glassdoor, Careerbliss, Jobiness, and other sites.
Simply Hired just launched an Employer Brand Index for retailers that impartially measures the level of preference that a company generates from job seekers.
Candidates may not remember who they interviewed with, but they'll always remember how they felt during the process. With social media the line is blurred between business and personal opinions. Stories about how companies treat customers, candidates, and employees (both positive and negative) go viral instantly and have a long-lasting impact.
In the US unemployment is already under 1% for many IT positions. It's also extremely difficult to find qualified truck drivers, welders, and other skilled workers. Do yourself a favor and make sure your company's application process is easy for candidates to complete. If a candidate has a positive interaction with your company they can become brand ambassadors -- even if they don't get the job. Make sure your recruiting process respects candidates. Otherwise your company just may become known as the rude gondolier of your industry.
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HR Virtuoso makes mobile recruiting simple and affordable for companies of all sizes. We can take your company off of paper or make your existing ATS mobile-ready.
Liz DAloia is the founder of HR virtuoso. Shes passionate about making the recruiting process more efficient for both companies and job seekers. Connect with Liz on LinkedIn, follow her @hrvirtuoso, or call/text her at 972.342.3021.