Serious man showing stop gesture with hand as warning while holding stop sign Job seekers are always hearing about what to do and what not to do to when working with recruiters. Don’t misspell words on your resume; don’t hound recruiters with phone calls; don’t have an unappealing background with a random, irrelevant job history. We’re constantly educating them on how not to annoy, turn off and disengage recruiters, because it could ultimately cost them a job. Yet, doesn’t this work both ways?

Employers need top talent; educated, skillful, and creative workers are the backbone of any organization and the reason behind its success (or potential success). So, businesses need talented job seekers just as much as talented job seekers need employment. And sometimes, depending on the experience level, skill and expertise of a worker, he or she may have more than one company vying for his/her attention i.e. sometimes companies need top talent more than those types of workers need them.

Just as there are certain do’s and don’ts when it comes to job seekers seeking recruiters, there are also “rules and regulations” (so to speak) when sourcing top talent. The difference between a good and bad candidate experience can mean the difference between your company landing its next star employee and missing out on qualified workers. Below are six ways to repel top talent during the recruitment process, things to avoid if you don’t want to push away potential employees:

A CareerBuilder survey analyzed the candidate experience and discovered that 26 percent of job seekers reported having had a bad candidate experience. The top reasons were:

1. No Acknowledgement

Employer never acknowledged receiving candidate’s application – 29 percent. This is the first step to ensuring a candidate will have a negative experience with a company. Many online applications take 30-45 minutes to complete, often requiring timed quizzes, lengthy questionnaires, and, not to mention, a multi-page ATS that requires candidates to fill out numerous details (most of which will already be on the uploaded resume). Acknowledging that you have received a job seeker’s application is the least you can do after he or she has taken a significant amount of time to fill it out

2. Mismatched Job Ad

During the interview, candidate discovered that the actual job didn’t match what was written in the job ad – 43 percent. How annoying is this? You fill out a lengthy application, take all the required tests, upload your tweaked resume and cover letter you spent hours perfecting, only to get to the interview to discover the actual job isn’t what you’d like to do at all? Not providing an accurate description of the role in a job ad will surely turn a candidate off because it shows the company is 1) too lazy to double check and make sure the ad and vacancy match and/or 2) has an HR department that doesn’t know what’s going on because it posted an inaccurate vacancy.

3. Clueless

Company representative didn’t seem to be knowledgeable – 30 percent. This goes right along with point no. 2. You don’t want to force candidates to question your company’s and its workers’ competence, i.e. why doesn’t the recruiter know anything about the open position and why would the company allow an uninformed person to source talent? Job seekers must present themselves as knowledgeable and skillful in the area they’re applying for, and companies are no different. Make sure your representative is up-to-date on all the information regarding the vacant position so he/she can fully explain the role, requirements and answer any questions.

4. Negative Presentation

Interviewer didn’t present a positive work experience – 34 percent. Ever heard the saying, “You must be your own best salesman?” The same holds true for the person representing a business. When you are interviewing a candidate, if you are dry, disinterested, and completely disengaged, the candidate will take note and he/she will surely be turned off. Why would the candidate want to work there if one of the company’s employees doesn’t even seem to be too happy? The same is true for how you present the company culture, policies and staff. If you make negative remarks about company rules or describe a toxic office culture, candidates are sure to reject any offers you may make.

5. No Callbacks

Employer never bothered letting the candidate know the decision after the interview – 60 percent. As you can see, more than half of CareerBuilder survey respondents cited this as one thing that adds to a bad candidate experience (I personally dislike this, too). Just like taking the time to fill out the application, some candidates go through the lengthy process of one or two interviews for a position, yet never hear back from the company. I had one experience where the hiring manager went so far as to tell me what position he’d like to place me in, yet I never received the final, official “go” for being hired. I went on multiple interviews, one final one with the store’s general manager where they assured candidates if you got that far an offer would be made the same day; yet, the offer never came. Don’t you think the time and energy wasted going through interviews annoys job seekers?

6. Unprofessional

This wasn’t on the CareerBuilder survey list, but it’s an obvious mention. No one likes to deal with rude, unprofessional people. This is a surefire way to lose a talented candidate.

And just like scaring off recruiters can have negative consequences for job seekers, repelling candidates can negatively impact companies. The survey found that if candidates had a bad experience, they would:

  • Never seek employment at the company again – 42 percent
  • Tell others not to work there – 22 percent
  • Tell others not to purchase products or services from the company – 9 percent

Moral to the story? Be cautious how you treat potential candidates.



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