The Bad Candidate Experience
Alive & Still Kicking Job Seekers in the Face
Every time I think we are past it – over it – ready to mark “the bad candidate experience” as a bad part of HR history, I hear another story. Every single time.
Telling candidates they didn’t get the job
It is quite discouraging, actually. I wish I could be fed up, but being fed up means you will not tolerate it anymore and I really do not have a choice. Why is it that hiring authorities cannot exhibit simple manners when it comes to creating a candidate experience that is simply not bad. It confounds me. Yes, it’s hard and yes, it requires a step outside of one’s comfort zone to create a better candidate experience. The worst part of my job as a recruiter was telling candidates that they did not get the job, but I did it. Yes, I felt bad about it, but I did it. Sometimes, you have to do the uncomfortable.
From a recent conversation with a job seeker,
“Not cool to leave me hanging. I would like to move on with my life. Can’t they just say ‘the process is ongoing’ – why are they just not answering? Maybe they offered it to someone else and they are just keeping me on the line in case the other person falls through. It’s souring me a bit.”
This job seeker had been flown across the country for final round of interviews and was given an exact date when she would be notified as to whether or not she got the job. Ten days later, after the time she had been told she would be called – still no call, one way or another,
“And if they give you a day for when you should hear whether or not your entire life is about to change, they should stick to the day or at least let you know what’s going on.”
Does this sound familiar? Have you been through this yourself, as a candidate? Perhaps you have treated a candidate this way? NOT telling is worse than giving bad news. Just pick up the damn phone and deliver the bad news. Only a coward avoids a sign-off call. No one likes to do it, but it’s part of being a decent recruiter, hiring manager, or HR professional.
Just a bad date?
It reminds me a lot of Clark – a boy I knew when I was a kid. When I was just 15, I asked Clark to a Girls Ask dance at my church. It took a lot of guts for me to call him and Clark hemmed and hawed on the phone. And then, as if to offer me some kind of condolence, he said, “Well, if Suzanne doesn’t ask me to the dance, I’ll go with you, deal?” I declined his kind offer and thanked him for taking my call. It hurt my feelings, but do you think I was going to let Clark win? Uh – no. I called Lance and he said he would be happy to go with me – we had a great time.
Job seekers can take it.
Give job seekers a chance to pick themselves up and dust themselves off. Trust that they can handle the truth – give it to them. Don;t keep them dangling, like a fish on a hook – with their life and zest for their search slowly draining out of them.
They can take it – they deserve the truth.
Be brave enough to deliver it.