Imagine spending 30 hours a week or more searching for a job. You wake up, coffee in hand, and begin to look at online job postings for something, anything, that’s new. You log into your social media channels, hoping to find a lead. You check your email for responses to 100 sent resumes or a follow-up to the few interviews you’ve had. And you hope today will be different. This is what job seeking is like for millions.
To make matters worse, despite applying for countless jobs, you’ve only had a human interaction with less than 1 percent of the companies you applied to. In most cases you never even received an electronic response acknowledging your application.
Eroding the human connection
With the recruitment function now mostly digitized and impersonal, the human connection has clearly eroded, exacerbating the feelings of isolation and desperation you may experience as a qualified job seeker. Unknowingly companies are alienating hundreds of applicants, who one day may become potential customers or even future competitors. They will certainly remember those companies that failed to engage them with dignity.
The impact cuts across every generation and all industries. Lisa Mallory, a successful international educator looking to move into a human resources role, has been searching for a year. “Recruiters need to understand that finding a job is a human experience and should not be reduced to an Applicant Tracking score,” Lisa says. “The recruitment process needs change and employers need to become more accountable for the experience of applicants.”
The benefits of a positive recruitment process
Lonny Huffar is a marketing professional who has been looking for a new opportunity since spring 2020. She too is frustrated with the experience. “There is no expectation that an applicant deserves a response, and there’s such a lack of empathy and respect from employers,” Lonny says. “I have applied to companies whose brands I enjoyed and admired, only to be ignored. Not even an electronic confirmation that they received my resume. It makes me question how they treat their employees as well as their customers.”
Some easy fixes
In fact, the changes Lisa alludes to are not all that hard to implement. Instead of leaving candidates wondering if their application was received, applicant tracking systems could be programmed to send an immediate response – one that is engaging and offers at least a brief explanation of the application review process.
In addition, let applicants know they can reach someone if they need assistance, and what the response time might be. Most important, if you’ve had a conversation with a candidate, by phone, in person or electronically, FOLLOW UP! Do not leave candidates in the dark. Let them know about next steps and when they can expect to hear from you – even if it’s to say you have nothing new to share. Why risk losing a great prospect because he or she assumed you were not interested?
The Human Resources industry prides itself on serving employees. But the applicant tracking systems, used until the interview process begins, becomes a glaring black eye for many organizations. With millions out of work, the process has taken a serious toll on applicants as well as company brands. This should be a wakeup call for companies to take a hard look at themselves.
Making the recruitment process positive, dignified and human can only result in better hires and a stronger brand position that identifies your company as a leader in marketplace.
CEO, Fast Forward Learning and Development