Bad candidate experiences harm brand loyalty

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A negative experience as a job candidate can lead to customers taking their business elsewhere

Less than a fifth (19%) would remain a customer of a company if they had a bad experience as a candidate, according to a survey conducted by the Futurestep division of Korn Ferry.

Almost half (48%) of the 422 people surveyed said that they would urge friends and family to avoid a brand if they felt they'd been treated poorly in the recruitment process. A quarter (25%) would consider taking to social media to share their bad experience.

Jonathan Brown, managing director, EMEA talent acquisition solutions at Futurestep, warned of the damage a poor hiring process can have. “Companies risk alienating not only strong candidates, but loyal customers if they don’t make a concerted effort to create an efficient, welcoming and informative environment during the hiring process,” he said. “This equates to significant costs, both in terms of the time and money wasted during the hiring process, as well as loss of revenue from fleeing customers.”

When asked what would aggravate them most during the recruiting process, two-fifths (37%) cited not hearing back from the recruiter or hiring manager. More than a third (34%) cited rudeness during an interview.

“There is absolutely no excuse for recruiters and hiring managers to not respond to candidates, even if that communication is electronic such as email or text,” said Brown. “New technology and AI tools are automating many of the traditionally manual recruiting tasks, freeing up time for recruiters to provide stronger candidate care and strategic counsel to their clients.”

Marco Galer-Reick, people director of fast food chain Leon, agreed that candidates must be treated respectfully to ensure they come away with a positive view of the business.

“This is one of my key messages to both our recruitment team and anyone who recruits on behalf of Leon – whether as an agent or hiring manager, we are all Leon ambassadors,” he told HR magazine. “Every applicant is a potential customer and we treat them as such. Very much like customers, we want candidates, successful or not, to recommend Leon to others.”

Neil Griffiths, vice president of global brand, marketing and communications and leader of the employer branding solutions embedded within RPO partnerships at Futurestep, said employers need to carefully consider the impact of their recruitment process. “The research makes one thing clear – the need to stand out as an employer is paramount, and how employers sell themselves to potential candidates will be a key decision-making factor for future hires,” he said.

“Recruiters and hiring managers should take a look at the company culture and make sure the go-to-market strategy is authentic to the brand. After all, a brand that communicates its true sense of purpose and how all of the organisation’s stakeholders, including employees, play a role in that purpose, will be especially attractive to most prospective candidates.”

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