Earlier this year I wrote for Cruitertalk about improving the candidate experience and proposed a candidate charter. I got a lot of   nodding heads, retweets and agreement but has anything really changed?

I’ve seen a lot of blogs making heartfelt pleas about how we should really be doing our best to improve the recruiter or employer brand, but I’ve seen very little actually happen in any meaningful way.

In reality, recruiters don’t care about candidates. That doesn’t matter whether they are corporate or third-party. (That may well not be the truth, but it is the perception we have created.) They care only about the 1% that become employees or placements, but what do we do with the 99% we don’t really want?

billboorman-020   You might strongly disagree with my comments, and insist that you do care about people and do the best you can. If I’m wrong I’m delighted, but it’s not what I see.  Unlike others, I don’t think it has anything to do with how recruiters are rewarded in the third-party sector or a heart felt dislike of candidates. It’s not a deliberate strategy, but it is a perception, and perception is reality.

I think it has come about as a result of automation and the volume of poorly qualified responses generated by post and pray recruiting. It’s a matter of time available and technology.

In most cases, only one candidate is ever going to get the job, and the rest are rejected. Have a look at your rejection process to determine what you can change to improve how this is done. The first big issue for me is how many people go unacknowledged or left in silence because they don’t quite fit the bill or have a resume that fails to hit the “Boolean” mark.

Gerry Crispin commented at Recruitfest09 that in an experiment he was running that out of all of the fortune 500 companies, only 3 acknowledged receipt of a resume. That’s before the hiring process has even started. To me that’s just plain rude and lacks any level of common courtesy that should be extended between one human being and another. (Apologies to Gerry if those figures are slightly out but they make the point.)

I have a few suggestions that I will be talking about in the Candidate Experience Track at #Trulondon on 18th/19th Feb, but would like your suggestions or observations to begin the track.

My suggestions apply to all recruiters whatever discipline, as well as job boards or technology companies and look only at the point of entry in to the hiring process.

1: Include more qualifying detail in your advertising. Look to advertise fewer jobs but spend more time on the ones you do. Support your postings with links to video or podcast with additional information. If it is a key role or a multiple vacancy create an event around this. Deloitte’s NZ have recently combined live Ustream with facebook for graduate recruitment and run a monthly show. The more time you invest in to attraction, the more you can expect your candidates to do the same.

2: Before you advertise anything, always search your own data-base first and look at who has applied to you in the past. The right person may be at your fingertips if you have organized the data in a way it can be retrieved easily. Code everything!

3: Create a human interface at point of response. A good example of this practice is carried out by global marketing recruiters Aquent.. when you apply to them, you connect with a recruiter not an ad. (They don’t post any on their site.) This way they can be vetted before they get to far in and either progressed or politely declined.

Personally, I think the job boards can do more on this and create an interface between the potential candidate and the hiring company within the job board using instant messaging. If a potential candidate can see that the recruiter is on line, they can engage with them directly and ask questions before making a submission. Would save a lot of time on both sides and improve the application process. This could also be done by linking a Skype call button that indicates the recruiter is available or a question/message box that goes directly to the recruiter, and is regularly reviewed.

4: Acknowledge every application. Even if this is automated via your ATS, tailor the response to the job giving a realistic timescale for feedback and plan feedback time in to the diary.

5: Create a funnel for all applications.

Channel A: Those that meet the criteria that you want to interview quickly, ideally moving to a phone screen at point of entry and booking the next step immediately. Be very clear on the process and timeline and have pre-prepared job descriptions, video etc you can refer the candidate to. Video does not need to be expensive or professionally shot. The best ones are shot on flip cam and show the staff that do the job talking about the role. I prefer controlled and branded channels for this like http://www.talentonview.com to host this because they are simple to manage on the back-end and easier to keep a track of.

Channel B: Those that don’t fit the criteria but are close to it or may be of some interest to the organisation at some time. You need to put in some kind of classifications at this stage. If you are using parsing technology use it to send out invites to Linked In, Facebook and Twitter. If you run groups in any of these channels, they create great candidate “holding” areas to keep them engaged. Send an automatic invite to join.

Channel C: Those candidates that fit neither category and you want to reject but you should do more than send out a standard “Dear John” letter. At the moment I’ve been doing some work with https://www.mygetaclue.com/ that have some great free resources for job seekers. You can tack this on the back of your ATS and send it out with your rejection letter. It’s great for your brand image, costs you nothing and might even end up making you money.

That is just the application process. In my own blog http://recruitingunblog.wordpress.com/ and at #trulondon I will be exploring the whole recruiting process and how we can work best to protect brand recruiter.

There’s nothing I’ve suggested here that is complicated or costly, but I believe is the right way to make technology in job search far more personal.

Be ambassadors for great recruiting; be glad to hear your views, see you at #trulondon

About the author:


Bill Boorman is something of a recruitment veteran, having worked in the industry for 22 years. All this despite being told at his first job that he didn’t have a future in the business! At the age of 42, the industry has given him most of his experience, having worked in most market places.

Recruitment has given him an insight in to the workings of many companies and he believes that this has given him a broad based understanding of business and people in general. He bases his training and consultancy work on this experience. He describes himself as being a non-academic trainer, preferring instead to deliver “true life” training that mixes reality with theory. Through his many experiences he has many case studies that help make sense of the problems delegates face.

Bill operates three distinct brands, spreading his message worldwide:

By Noel Cocca

CEO/Founder RecruitingDaily and avid skier, coach and avid father of two trying to keep up with my altruistic wife. Producing at the sweet spot talent acquisition to create great content for the living breathing human beings in recruiting and hiring. I try to ease the biggest to smallest problems from start-ups to enterprise. Founder of RecruitingDaily and our merry band of rabble-rousers.