I caught up with Carmen Hudson of Tweetajob at the 2011 ERE Conference in San Diego. She offers some clear advice on improving the candidate experience. In particular, she suggests we let the candidate know they have been rejected quickly and early.
Reject Early and Fast
Carmen suggests candidates should hear from you soon after they apply. Give a clear and courteous NO, or even a No for Now. She is not the first to suggest this. If you have a mass-disposition feature in your ATS, use it. The results of our Job Seeker Expectation Survey clearly show candidates want some form of an answer. If you are going to accept applicants, rejecting applicants is part of the game. I wrote earlier about recruiting being 99% rejection.
Don’t Let Them Hang
So much has been written in other venues about SPEED as a competitive resource in recruiting. If you believe in SPEED to hire as a competitive advantage, what role does SPEED to rejection play in your toolbox? Candidates have a life too, and they want to make informed decisions. An uncertain application status creates hope or open-minded opportunity thinking for many job seekers. There well may be an “I am qualified” or “still in the running” mindset with applicants who have not been rejected. I don’t think it is fair to leave that question unanswered to the candidate if it has been answered internally. If you have made the decision, share your decision.
Protect Your Brand
Black Hole may not be a term of endearment your brand police would like to hear about your recruiting function. How you reject candidates is an opportunity to enhance your brand. Particularly now. So many companies seem to be challenged to respond to candidates. You can set your company apart by conveying appreciation and acknowledging interest on the part of the candidate. You can build brand-positive community relations with well-crafted messages to candidates you are rejecting.
Joe Girard’s Law of 250, when applied to recruitment, shows the potential geometric progression of the positive or negative message you send rejected candidates. Think about it, you neglect or send a poorly worded rejection to 1,000 candidates, each of whom knows about 250 people. That is a 250,000 impression extension. One of the highest applicant flow rates I have heard about is 75,000 per week. The Law of 250 creates a sphere of influence just shy of 19 million. What are you doing to protect your brand?