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A Positive Applicant Experience = Brilliant Marketing

12th Mar 2015


Forbes published a smart piece a few years back about the applicant experience, based off a study from the American equivalent to Seek - CareerBuilder. The study followed several thousand job applicants through their job-seeking process, from hitting "apply now" to securing a job offer, and everything in between. 


The crux of what the study found is that a bad applicant experience - namely a poor first impression - can significantly affect the candidate's decision to accept a job offer. The statistics broken down:

  • 21% of respondents said they worked with a recruiter who was not enthusiastic about his or her company being an employer of choice for the candidate
  • 17% didn’t believe the recruiter was knowledgeable
  • 15% didn’t think the recruiter was professional


And those are just the percentages of candidates who heard back from employers after submitting an application. Many times, a well-crafted cover letter and carefully edited CV will go completely unanswered - which many experts say can damage the perception of your company in the long run.


As recruiters, and as representatives of our company's or client's brand, we have a responsibility to each and every candidate who applies. Think of it this way: a consumer has grown up admiring your brand/product/organization their whole life; they go to university, earn a degree and enter the workforce an eager, ambitious young professional. Which company are they going to want to submit their application to first? That's right, they one they've admired and looked to as their career benchmark. 


Imagine that applicant submits their CV and eagerly awaits a response - even if it's a no, they tell themselves, at least I've given it a shot and can maybe inquire as to why. Instead, they wait. A week goes by, then two, and before long they're wondering if you even received the application in the first place. So, they connect with the hiring manager on LinkedIn, they call and leave a voicemail, anything, just to receive some sort of feedback. All while applying for other roles, receiving responses and securing interviews. 


What do you think this candidate thinks of the organization that they never heard back from? You guessed it - not much. And their image of that brand is forever tarnished. In some cases, as the CareerBuilder study found, candidates who never hear back on an application decide they are less likely to purchase a product from that company. 


And that's the larger issue. Not only do you risk leaving a bad impression and an offer turned down later - you risk tarnishing your brand image in the greater consumer market. 


The story above is one I heard recently from a candidate of mine, and it made me think twice about how we treat applicants in the recruitment process. With so many ways to connect - through our database, social media, e-mail, phone etc, it's shocking that a simple follow up can't be sent to applicants to at least say "Thank you for applying. We'll get back to you if you qualify for future opportunities." Especially in markets that are candidate poor, where more than just your brand image and reputation are on the line.


What's more, people just want to feel important. I hear all the time from both friends and candidates that after an initial interview, they never heard back, which can be even more disheartening to a candidate and damaging to a brand. 


Pure and simple, leaving applicants hanging on the line is unprofessional. At Xpand we are candidate first, responding to every application and building relationships even if we don't have a specific role to discuss. Because ultimately, your business depends on the company (read: networks) you keep. And without talented people spruiking positively about their applicant experience with your organization, you may be left grasping at straws when it comes time to hire.


For more on the Forbes study, follow this link:


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