We Owe Job Applicants 2 Things – So Why Are We So Bad At Doing Them?

There are those who talk about the candidate experience, those who talk with others about the candidate experience, and those who experience the candidate experience.

The latter would be me (along with millions of others), although I’ve done the first two as well.

Just over a year ago, I had gone through a high-level job search with a well-known firm in the HR B2B marketplace. Considering that they should know better the best practices of recruiting and hiring, I was left with inconsistent acknowledgement and no closure. Even thought I didn’t get the job, I was led to believe that there were other opportunities.

And then nothing. Crickets chirping in the night.

We owe applicants these 2 things

Right after that experience I wrote about how businesses owe applicants at least two things regardless of the position level being applied for:

  • Acknowledgement – simply that you’ve applied and we acknowledge that. Thank you.
  • Closure – simply that you are or are not qualified for the position, that you are or are not getting the job, there are or are not other opportunities with us, and we acknowledge all these things in a consistent and timely manner. Thank you.

Two things. That’s it. That’s easier to do because of recruiting system automation, although anecdotally too many companies have such low user adoption with their talent acquisition systems, they never use that functionality.

But this dysfunction is not really a function of technology. It’s a dysfunction of human ineffectiveness and process inefficiency that has remained mostly unchanged for decades.

The experience outlined above was an active job search. But what happens when it’s a passive person being tapped?

That would be me as well (along with millions of others).

This past year I’ve been “tapped on the shoulder” by a few known HR/recruiting/B2B tech brands. Most of them were incompetent communication fests that led to more questions than answers.

Despite the talk, nothing really changes

And then nothing. Crickets chirping in the night.

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What happened to the candidate experience progress? Consider the Candidate Experience Awards that were announced at HR Tech in Las Vegas last fall. Tons of quality research from renowned recruiting thought leaders culminating in a bevy of companies who’s applicants claim they have a great experience whether they’re hired or not.

And then nothing. Crickets chirping in the night.

Listen, we keep talking and talking about improving this experience, about how social recruiting and talent networks have put a new lens on relationship building and customer service, touting best practice after best practice, yet the business cases that exist just aren’t being used to change the way we all recruit, both outside and in.

Especially when you sing the praises of your clients’ employment branding and candidate “customer” experience, and yet you can’t even put it into practice yourself.

If you tap me on the shoulder, please talk in complete sentences and finish the story.

Thank you.

You can find more from Kevin Grossman on his Marcom HRsay blog.

Kevin W. Grossman is the Talent Board president of global programs responsible for all aspects of the Candidate Experience Awards worldwide, the first nonprofit research organization focused on the elevation and promotion of a quality candidate experience. He also produces and hosts multiple “world of work” podcasts including The CandEs Shop Talk and WorkingTech. A certified Talent Acquisition Strategist (TAS) and Human Capital Strategist (HCS) by HCI, he has over 19 years of domain expertise in the human resource and talent acquisition industry.

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