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What We Have Here, is a Failure to Communicate!

Posted by Dave Bolton

Common wisdom tells us that life is filled with stressful events. Some of these events are related to things we can’t control—traffic, the weather, sports—while others are well-accepted stress inducers such as buying a house, planning a wedding or dealing with insurance companies.

A lack of applicant communication during a recruitment journey should be added to this stress-related list.

 

The search for a new job can be incredibly stressful for the average person, especially if the company doing the recruiting fails to keep regular channels of communication open during the hiring phase itself. Add into the mix that we now live in a digitally connected society filled with people who have become used to instant gratification and it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand that applicant communication is an essential part of the overall candidate experience.

Sadly, this is often not the case.

The average candidate is usually kept in the dark about where they are in the hiring process, with employers seemingly happy to keep engagement at a minimum. In fact, around 50 percent of candidates are still waiting for any kind of response almost two months after they submit an application. What makes this lack of communication even worse is that companies can project an image that suggests the candidate experience itself is a minor element in the ultimate goal of successful recruitment.

Communication Breakdown

For example, a recent survey of 180,000 North American job seekers by the Talent Board found that the vast majority—around 85 percent—were stuck in some sort of recruiting limbo, whether that be potential rejection or a lack of confirmation as to where they were in the hiring process.

According to the 2017 Talent Board Report, only 20 percent of candidates received an email from a recruiter or hiring manager telling them they were not being considered, with a rather paltry 8 percent getting a phone call thanking them for their interest. Candidates want to understand their progress, and where they are in the process itself, with an expectation that feedback will be part of the overall application experience.

To put it more simply, applicant communication is a key link in the hiring chain, and companies are not focused on how a negative experience can affect the recruitment process both now and in the future. A bad candidate experience can shape how a person interacts with the brand away from the hiring process, with the likelihood that a rejected or ignored applicant will spread the word both on and offline.

In fact, the companies surveyed believed that their overall candidate experience could be classed as leading or, at the very least, comparable with other employers. This implies a massive disconnect between what applicants think of the process and how companies perceive their hiring practices. And the bottom line is that—in the words of Paul Newman in Cool Hand Luke—the problem is often a “failure to communicate.”

The Candidate Could Be A Customer

As we noted above, the digitalization of society has ushered in an age of instant messaging and 24/7 communication portals, some of which can leave us cursing the ubiquitous nature of push notifications on a smartphone. On the flip side, successful brands know how to engage with their customers, whether that be through social media or personalized communication that makes that customer feel wanted.

Companies should be looking at applicants in the same way that they do customers. Customers are the lifeblood of any business, so it seems logical that a recruitment process would need to adopt a hands-on approach to applicant communication.

Companies who engage with applicants on a regular basis will not make them feel as if they’ve fallen into a communication twilight zone. Personalization just takes the experience to another level. With that in mind, making a candidate feel wanted should be the least that any company should do.

It is common knowledge that personalization has become a priority for nearly every retail business. A recent survey of 8,000 people by Accenture, for instance, found that 91 percent of respondents were more likely to have a positive view of brands that recognize, remember and provide them with relevant information.

“Relying on predefined targeting of communications and experiences is no longer enough,” the Accenture report said. “Successful personalization will only be seen by businesses that start two-way conversations with consumers and enable those consumers to create their own experience while interacting with the brand.”

Enhance The Candidate Experience

Granted, applying for a job is not the same as shopping on Amazon but that does not mean that the same principles don’t apply. Digital experiences are part and parcel of daily life, so is it too much to expect that employers incorporate the two-way digital dialogue that has become an essential element of the modern customer journey into the recruiting process?

Let’s not forget that the vast majority of today’s applicants are not only digitally savvy but also aware of how communication portals work. This digital knowledge means that any company that can leverage both the communication channel and the expected frequency of messaging will go a long way toward meeting candidate expectations. And, more importantly, give the candidate vital feedback as to where they are in the hiring process.

Applicant communication should be a priority for companies during the hiring process. Convey IQ’s Applicant Communication Studio can deliver the right message to the applicant based on where they are in the recruitment journey, ensuring that a candidate is never left in the dark.

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