Many of Select International’s clients are in an enviable situation from a hiring perspective; they are the employer of choice in their area, or they have thousands of applicants for a small number of job openings. Under these circumstances, organizations are interested in utilizing hiring processes that facilitate an easier review of large volumes of applicants. However, streamlining internal intake procedures shouldn’t translate to making the process overly burdensome or less informative for candidates. Although organizations won’t be able to place all job applicants, it’s still in their best interest not to discourage candidates from applying or annoy them in the process. Sure, plenty of applications aren’t worth a thorough examination by the HR team, but there is a fine line between implementing job-relevant screening procedures and alienating the most talented job seekers due to stringent application requirements.
Job candidates should expect to invest a significant amount of time in their search for the perfect position. However, they shouldn’t have to jump through unnecessary hoops if employers can easily prevent it.
Here are three frequently-reported job seeker frustrations and suggestions for how HR teams can eliminate or reduce them.
Not hearing back after applying
Nowadays, with the bulk of recruiter and hiring manager dialogue occurring through email, it’s hard to excuse the lack of communication to candidates. Most applicant tracking systems have email-sending functionality, which makes it simpler to reach out with the click of a button. Using a “batch” email feature can make it even quicker to update multiple applicants on their candidacy. Ideally, hiring managers should let candidates know that their application has been received, and also inform them if they are being chosen to progress further. If an individual has made the effort to create a cover letter and send their tailored resume to an organization, the respectful thing to do is to acknowledge the work and interest. It does not reflect well on a company if they make a habit of ignoring applicants, particularly if the organization is in the service industry. They could be losing customers as well as valuable talent!
Too many hurdles
Candidates expect to invest some time in the process of finding a new job. Phone interviews, in-person interviews, and job simulations are some of the common aspects of the hiring strategy that organizations utilize. However, requiring candidates to take too much time out of their busy schedules to go on-site can be a turnoff, particularly to employed applicants. The burden of having to take time off from work multiple times — or even secure special child care arrangements — depending where the potential new employer is located, may cause some top candidates to drop out of the process.
If employers use pre-employment assessments, HR teams can consider implementing unproctored testing so that job applicants can complete the assessment from the comfort and convenience of home. This change will free up HR folks’ time for other important tasks instead of scheduling and administering assessments.
Another way to simplify the hiring process is to combine steps. Recruiters can consider eliminating the resume review stage, and instead, screen out applicants using a short assessment and then a phone interview. Or, if a company uses a job simulation as part of the process, perhaps candidates who pass the assessment can be interviewed the same day rather than having to return another time. If possible, any redundancies in the application process should be eliminated. For example, there shouldn’t be a reason to require job seekers to complete a paper application and an online application.
Requiring unnecessarily invasive procedures
It is appropriate for employers to require job candidates to undertake medical or drug screenings for certain positions. Using these screenings can be legally defensible, particularly for jobs that are dangerous, like mining, or those that require close interaction with the public, such as nursing. However, hiring managers should be cognizant of the screenings’ placement in the hiring process. Companies should not undertake the time and expense of requiring the screening prior to giving a job offer. Before the offer stage, the information revealed by a medical test may be inadvertently used in a discriminatory manner.
Additionally, checking references is an important part of the hiring process. Speaking with an individual's previous managers can provide insight into information such as work ethic, job performance, and accomplishments. (After all, past behavior is the best predictor of future behavior!) However, out of respect for the time of the reference as well the privacy of the applicant, references should neither be requested nor checked before the pre-offer stage. The same logic can be applied to requests for school transcripts. The effort and expense that applicants must undertake to obtain transcripts means that they should not be requested unless reviewing academic performance is relevant to the job.
The upcoming new year is a great opportunity to begin new hiring waves with a fresh start. Using the ideas outlined above can help organizations get on candidates’ good sides rather than on their list of companies to avoid engaging with.
Looking for other ways to freshen up your candidate experience and employee engagement? Make sure you're up to date on working with millennials with our new Guide to the Modern Employee.