5 Reasons Why Your Hiring Process Might Be Turning Away Candidates
According to a 2016 CareerBuilder Candidate Behavior Study, 76% of full-time, employed workers are either actively seeking a new job or they are open to new opportunities. Conversely, 48% of employers report that they cannot seem to find the workers they need to fill their job vacancies. Clearly, there is still a disconnect between intention and execution whether you are the job seeker or employer.
It’s so easy to get caught up in the grandeur of your latest recruitment marketing campaign or the bells and whistles of your shiny new ATS – that promises to solve everything from candidate experience to world peace.
Can you woo, woo, woo?
At the core of your best intentions, lies the hope that candidates will see the effort you are putting into your brand and messaging – therefore wooing the right people to apply and hopefully work for you.
What I see is more complexity and less focus on some basic things that generally illustrate that you, the company knows what it is doing. Everyone is busier than ever and most of us have little to no attention span.
The goal of candidate experience wasn’t to coin another buzzword for kicks, but to improve how we treat the hiring process and the candidates that have to pass through it.
Let us examine five things going on in your hiring process that are likely to be turning your candidates off:
1. Lackluster Career Website
I’ve seen some pretty lackluster career websites in my time that had decent traffic. Ultimately, if you are a company or brand that people know and love, they will apply with you. However, there are some candidates (really good candidates) that will not appreciate several different fonts on one page, lots of scrolling to get to important information and a failure to give them any visual cue as to why you should be their employer of choice. You should always be monitoring traffic, bounce rates and the overall look and feel of your career website to be sure it is coherent and attention grabbing.
2. Misguided Candidate Communications
Whether it is an automatic email via an applicant tracking system or your in-house prepared correspondence, there should be a personalized touch to your correspondence. Sending a follow-up email indicating a wrong referral source or a wrong name makes your company look disorganized. Doing spot checks via mock applications can expose glitches in pre-populated correspondence.
3. “The Wait for Me”Complex
As someone who worked a recruiter desk , I get how difficult it can be to follow-up across the board. As I described above, over ¾ of the workforce is entertaining new opportunities. Half of your battle in gaining their attention is merely following up in a timely fashion. The average job seeker isn’t sitting and waiting for any one opportunity to emerge. They are applying to multiple jobs ( sometimes haphazardly) in an effort to maximize their chances of being called. Where possible, qualified candidates should be contacted within 12-24 hours during normal business days and 48 hours for weekend applications. You might think that is stringent, but in some industries a great candidate can be lost to a competitor in that small amount of time.
4. “No Pain, No Gain” Hiring Process
Once upon a time, companies made the hiring process difficult to present a certain amount of challenge for the prospective hire. The mindset was: If he or she can get through the challenges created in our hiring process – they are good enough to work here. No one is interested in playing these games. The hiring process should not be painful. Candidates shouldn’t be left feeling like you are secretly setting them up for a challenge that they are ill-equipped to overcome. Being transparent, assessing candidates for qualities that will make them successful in your company and simplifying your process can go a long way in getting people interested in wanting to work for you.
5. Good old’ “Word of Mouth”
Some industries and niches are so small that everyone begins to become acquainted with one another. If a candidate has had a poor experience with your company, it is likely to be memorable. If it is likely to be memorable, it is also likely that it will be shared with at least one other person at some point. It also means in some of the least likely places a conversation may or may not come up that allows them to draw on this said poor experience. It may seem like a long shot, but I promise you it has happened more times than I can count.
It isn’t about perfection, but about making sure you have a cohesive message that translates to what the value proposition is for a candidate to come work with you. The cohesive message has to be backed by consistent actions that illustrate your dedication to ensuring a positive experience from start to finish.
When’s the last time you looked at your hiring process to be sure there are no substantial bottlenecks preventing candidates from getting through your process successfully?
Why Lasting Change Is Hard
Before we had any children, my wife and I lived in the heart of Dallas. One day, on our way back to our house, we were driving down Skillman Avenue when we were caught in a sudden torrential downpour.
The rain was coming down incredibly hard, which wouldn’t have been a problem if the storm drains were equipped to handle that much water. Instead, the road itself filled with water faster than we could have anticipated. Quickly, the water rose up the side of our car. Trying not to panic, we realized that we could not continue and would need to turn around and get to higher ground.
Water rising up the side of your car door is the kind of roadblock you might not expect to encounter, but when you do, it’s formidable. We couldn’t drive through it or even around it. We had to deal with it quickly or face serious consequences.
When we’re trying to implement change in our own lives, it’s important to identify and plan for common roadblocks to lasting change.
The first and, in my opinion, most important roadblock to lasting change is not addressing the real issue.
Let’s say you wake up in the middle of the night with a sore throat. You’re annoyed by feeling sick but your throat really hurts, so you get up and spray a little Chloraseptic in your mouth and drift off to sleep. When you wake up the next day, you still have a sore throat, so you pop in a cough drop and go about your day.
The change you’re making – using a numbing agent – might work if you’ve only got a cold, but if it’s strep throat, you’re not addressing the real problem. Only an antibiotic will cure what ails you, even if Chloraseptic will keep the pain at bay for a while.
Just like how more information is needed to diagnose your sore throat than one feeling, problems you encounter in your life or business require diagnostics, too. Figuring out the real problem – not just your most apparent needs – requires some introspection and a little bit of time.
Here are eight questions to ask when you need to discover the root cause, courtesy of MindTools.com:
- What do you see happening?
- What are the specific symptoms?
- What proof do you have that the problem exists?
- How long has the problem existed?
- What is the impact of the problem?
- What sequence of events leads to the problem?
- What conditions allow the problem to occur?
- What other problems surround the occurrence of the central problem?
Once you have your answers to these key questions, you can’t stop there. Your vantage point is skewed from your own perspective. You’re going to want to ask someone else to evaluate the problem at hand with the same questions and then compare your answers.
If you and all of the partners at your firm have similar answers, you’ll know you’re on the right track. If you wind up with wildly different ideas, I suggest seeking the advice of someone outside your organization. Fresh eyes can make all the difference in understanding a problem.
I often talk about being ‘too close’ to understand. You’ve probably heard the illustration about a group of people standing by an elephant with blindfolds on, trying to describe what they’re experiencing. Depending on what part of the elephant you’re next to, you’re going to have different observations.
But someone outside of that elephant’s cage can clearly identify the elephant.
The first key to making a lasting change is to make sure you’ve addressed the real problem and are looking for authentic change.
Next time, we’ll address the second major roadblock to creating last change.
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