HR beware! Upsetting your job applicants could cost more then just your time. Sometimes we forget that those who are applying for jobs in our company are sometimes our customers. According to the Candidate Experience Results over 21% of candidates said they were or have been customers to places they applied. As buying power increases in our growing economy it’s becoming more likely that those who are applying for jobs are customers. This number will surely double within the next decade.
Investing in Candidate Relationships
One of the most essential components of any talent acquisition strategy is to engage with talent and manage that relationship. The goal is for organizations to treat candidates with the same attention they give customers. Your candidates are extremely important in industries like professional services, retail, technologies and hospitality, or generally speaking in a area where demand exceeds supply. According to a recent report by Aberdeen’s “Customer Experience Management: Using the Power of Analytics to Optimize Customer Delight,” customer relationship management is a series of multi-channel activities which address employer branding, analytics, and technology.
The only way for employer branding to survive the job search process is to create a candidate-centric approach that prioritizes the candidate experience with the same focus given to the customer relationship in any business. The fact that customers are becoming your workforce should highlight the importance of treating candidates with the same care as you would when a customer walks into your store. The biggest problem with being able to respond to every applicant is maintaining some type of repository that allows you to do it quickly and efficiently. HR departments are understaffed as is and any type of slip could cost the company thousands of dollars in not only bad hiring, but in disgruntled customers who have applied.
Don’t upset your applicants.
There has been a plethora of discussion on the transparency of the Human Resource professional and the black hole of the candidate capture process. Candidates will apply for the job and more often than not, don’t even get a simple turndown letter, or they can interview with no follow-up at all. Left wondering if they have any type of chance to get the job for which they applied, candidates are upset at the entire process. Although communication is not required for every applicant, there are some instances where the status of the job cycle should be communicated. The cost of no communication could be lost product sales, lost referrals, and ultimately less money in the bank.
Job applicants know that the job market is competitive and saturated. As a recruiter or HR professional, it’s important that you provide a strong employment brand by treating job applicants with dignity and sympathy during the job process. As someone in the profession you are quite aware that you cannot offer the job to everyone that applies, not even all those qualified candidates. Going the extra step to provide excellent customer service will retain customers past the job search process. Even the dreaded form letter that turns down a candidate goes a long way. No one likes being thrown into the black hole of doom. Think when you as an HR professional you have applied for a position. Think how upset you are when your kids apply and are left in the dark!
Have you ever had a horrible experience when applying for a job that you quit shopping at said company? Let us know.

Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR is a workplace and technology strategist specializing in social media.  She’s an author who writes at Blogging4Jobs. You can follow her on Twitter @blogging4jobs.

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