Why SMEs should pay attention to the hiring experience

The impact of how a business interacts with potential candidates during the recruitment process is more important than most businesses realise, because the risk of a disgruntled jobseeker sharing their hiring experience just as widely as an unhappy customer sharing their experience is a very real one. And while a candidate may not be the right fit for a current role you have advertised, they could be a perfect fit for a role that you need to fill in the future. There is also a chance that they could end up being a potential customer of your business.

A recent study by Indeed found that the number one frustration for close to 50 per cent of jobseekers was waiting to hear back from a potential employer. It also revealed that on average six per cent of candidates hear back within a day, 52 per cent within one week, and 27 per cent only after a couple of weeks. That’s nearly a third of candidates that are left to endure uncertainty for weeks. Regrettably, some candidates won’t hear back at all which can be extremely frustrating for them – and due to their negative hiring experience also potentially damaging to a business’s reputation.

For business owners who handle the entire recruitment process on their own, screening dozens of candidates is no mean feat. In fact, Indeed found it was the number one pain point in the recruitment process for employers. There are a number of options available to address recruitment pain points that can save business owners their sanity, protect and enhance their brand, and benefit jobseekers.

Keep up communications

A survey of Australian office workers undertaken by Robert Half found that 30 per cent of applicants questioned a company’s decision-making ability if they hadn’t heard back within a week. A third also cited that if they hadn’t heard back, they would begin to look for new opportunities.

To keep your talent pool feeling positive about their interaction with your business, acknowledge each online application with an email and send an update to each candidate if your selection process has been delayed. To reduce the risk of losing top talent to your competition, maintain regular contact with candidates.

Humanise communications

Understandably many SMEs don’t have the resources to phone each applicant personally. However a simple auto-response email is better than sending nothing at all. Jobseekers receive a heap of cold, emotionless auto-responses, so being honest in setting a candidate’s expectations and adding a human touch will ensure the candidate doesn’t enter or leave the recruitment process with a sour taste in their mouth.

Every communication with potential candidates should be treated as a marketing exercise and therefore should reflect your brand’s personality.

Provide helpful advice

Use your career page to its fullest by including information about your hiring process for jobseekers. Recent research by Indeed revealed that while 87 per cent of SMEs have a company website, only 54 per cent of the 87 per cent have career information on their site.

Treasury Wine Estates sets a good example as it clearly outlines its recruitment process in a printable information booklet, in addition to providing helpful FAQs. While SMEs needn’t go into as much detail as this, a simple explanation of your recruitment process and company values will help candidates be clear on the road that lies ahead.

Candidates, successful or otherwise, can be your biggest advocates or biggest detractors. With the amplifying factor of social media, it is now more important than ever to positively interact with potential recruits and customers alike to benefit from word of mouth and its powerful influence.

Chris McDonald, Managing Director, Indeed Australia

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