Why is the recruitment process driving the good employees away?

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Ajay Kolla, Founder & CEO, Wisdomjobs.com, Hyderabad 

With data analytics, assessment tools and in-house talent pools, companies are clearly working on perfecting their HR practices to screen worthy candidates. But despite all the technological support and the incisive head hunting measures to make the hiring process successful, they invariably ward off potential employees. Surveys have shown that one in four candidates express dissatisfaction with the company’s hiring processes. What exactly are these recruiters doing wrong? How are they propagating a negative brand image for the company? The answer lies in the way they are perceived.

Unfortunately, while companies are actively investing in boosting the employee satisfaction of the current workforce, hardly anyone is focusing on what impression is carried by those who haven’t made it through the hiring process. For starters, 75% of talented candidates are driven away because they didn’t hear from the hiring company on the status of their application. This leaves them in the lurch. In such a scenario, companies who get back with a clear response are favoured over those who keep mum. Even if the candidates are not selected, they claim that feedback lays the foundation for a healthy relationship with the company.

A lot of good candidates convey a sense of disillusionment with companies’ application process. Whether the forms are online or through the traditional paper format, a lot of applicants apply for a job even when the company has failed to convey the details of the selection process – this makes them feel that the company hasn’t made the effort to make the process transparent. It also raises a question mark on the company’s overall attitude and professional ethics. In some cases, the application form itself might be too exhaustive and full of irrelevant questions. Revealing information that does not relate to the job profile may deter a candidate from applying for the vacancy. The company taking an unreasonably long time to respond may prompt the potential employee to explore other options as well. Sometimes, the candidate might discover that the job responsibilities don’t match the description and decide not to take the process further.

The interaction with the interviewer also has a big role to play – the company representative failing to convey a positive work environment may wean the candidate away. Even the representative’s lack of thorough subject knowledge has been cited as a common grouse. But the most common one remains the company’s silence on the application status.

Facing any of these situations might turn an attractive hire into a failed prospect. The impact is sometimes so long-lasting that he/she may never seek employment at the company again. Not only this, the candidate might even dissuade others from applying by sharing his/her negative experience. An unhappy candidate can also propagate a negative image for the brand and bring down the goodwill of the product/service it offers.

Doing It Right

Having highlighted the negative practices, it is also important to consider how companies can make the most of the hiring process and get the right candidate for the job. The following suggestions can be put to use:

Keep the online application form succinct: Applications should only contain questions that will be valuable in the screening process. Creating a lot of extra work often keeps people from submitting an application.

Send confirmation emails: The power of an acknowledgement mail or one informing the candidate about the status of the application can never be stressed enough in forging a positive rapport.

Limit lengthy tests: A series of complex pre-employment tests should be conducted only in cases that are absolutely necessary.

Desist from asking salary history at a premature stage: While initiating a discussion about the expected figure is okay at the qualifying stage, a complete salary history can wait until later.

Create specific job descriptions in vacancy ads: A lot of job titles sound fancy but end up being too vague. The job title should give the candidate a clear idea of what the job entails. A half-baked advertisement for a vacancy can actually invite the wrong set of applicants while keeping the good ones away.

Avoid vague job descriptions: Tags such as ‘dynamic individual’, ‘self-starter’ and ‘effective communication skills’ don’t help the applicant in any way. Rather, it helps to focus on what the person in the position will actually do.

Update your career site: A fuddy-duddy, outdated job site can leave a bad aftertaste.

In short, a careful review of your hiring processes can go a long way in sealing the deal with the right candidate.