Like many people, I find the process of looking for a job to be tedious and draining.
The last job that I really made an effort in applying to took four hours of my time, eating into my weekend and my workweek.
I made it one step beyond the initial application before I was informed that I hadn’t been selected.
However, the recruiter thanked me for the time I invested in applying. She also assured me that I was a competitive candidate and encouraged me to apply to future positions at the company.
It would have helped me if she had explained why I was not chosen. That way, I could improve (if I need to) for the next time I apply to a similar position.
But the fact that she thanked me for my time and complimented me on my strengths was encouraging. It made the rejection much easier than it would have been otherwise.
That recruiter’s behavior was a pretty good example of how brands should treat their job applicants: like their customers.
Yet many companies fail to understand how they hurt themselves when they treat potential hires poorly.
Both of You Are Selling Something
It might not be natural for you to think of job applicants as customers, but this is exactly how you should perceive the people you’re interviewing.
I would have preferred not to have spent four hours on something that ultimately came to nothing. But that job application is the only interaction I’ve had with that company, and I left feeling positive about the experience.
So when I talk about that company to others, I will tell people (I have already) they treated me well. This is free marketing for the brand.
Also, suppose I want to purchase one of their services one day? If they had treated me badly, I certainly wouldn’t want to now.
I had a good experience, but many employers are clumsier about how they handle the hiring process.
Gallup reports, “[M]any companies often communicate compelling brand promises to consumers but fall short of wooing one of the most important groups of customers: the best job candidates.”
Job applicants are, in a sense, “shopping around” to find the best job they can. It is probable that they’ve interacted with your brand before applying, so they already have an impression of you.
While it’s true you’re trying to figure out if they’re a good fit for your company, they’re also trying to figure out if your company is a good fit for them.
You want to give them the best impression of yourself that you can.
Humanize Your Brand
As it does in many areas of life, emotion will play a significant role in job applicants’ decisions.
To humanize your brand, the Gallup writers recommend that when you post a job or do any sort of recruiting, you emphasize how people will feel if you decide to hire them.
Don’t simply define the position. Describe what would motivate someone working in the role you’re offering. Explain how people at your company relate to each other and what your company culture is like.
As an example, consider this hostess job ad template from job posting solution Betterteam. The template emphasizes the values the company stands for, why people will enjoy working there, and how the position benefits the employee.
Betterteam notes, “We’ve written a lot of job ads, and have learned that when they treat applicants like customers, focusing on specific details meant to sell applicants on the position, they do much better than the typical bullet list of responsibilities and duties.”
Your Customers Want to Hear from You
[clickToTweet tweet=”Despite the benefit of treating job applicants well, treating them poorly seems to be the norm.” quote=”Despite the benefit of treating job applicants well, treating them poorly (or with indifference) seems to be the norm.”]
One survey reports that 90% of people want some kind of feedback on their applications. But over three quarters of job applicants say they have experienced not hearing at all from a company to which they applied.
And 72% said that such a lack of communication means “they would be less likely to recommend the company’s products or services.”
So applicants want feedback, and whether or not they get it will impact a company’s reputation and sales. Yet many brands are still failing to communicate well with job candidates.
Would You Treat Your Customers Like This?
Product marketing manager Gary Dietz has had some good job application experiences. But he has also had some terrible ones.
Among other things, companies:
- wasted his time by not telling him all the job requirements up front
- didn’t explain why they didn’t hire him, even though he’d gotten deep into the hiring process
- discriminated against him based on his age
- gave no feedback on a project they asked him to make
- asked him to create an extremely demanding project they should have paid him for
- ignored his minimum salary requirement and then got angry when he turned the job down
Would you ever treat your customers this way?
But brands are treating their customers this way when that’s how they behave to job applicants.
As one user commented on Dietz’s post, “Every job applicant is a potential customer, referral or vendor.”
This statement is especially true given the power social media now has to spread information instantaneously and to impact anyone’s reputation for good or ill.
Be mindful about how you treat people who come to you looking for a job.
You never know how your behavior toward them now could impact your brand in the future.
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