Job Applicants as Customers

What is your company’s practice in responding to applicants?

Do you know someone who has been laid off in the past two months?  If not, you will soon.   In this economic downturn, job applicants are increasingly sensitive about their plight.  Fewer jobs, increased qualification expectations, and more applications for each job add weight to the requirement for optimism and enthusiasm in the application process.  Without that spark of interest and excitement to add to the bottom line the applicant is doomed to the application waste heap.  These essential ingredients are easily extinguished by a poor recruiting program.

We consult with mid career professionals and are perplexed by the lack of common courtesy extended to applicants and candidates. Resumes submitted on line disappear without a generated email to acknowledge receipt and repeated calls to recruiters go unanswered for weeks on end.  Does your company turn off potential talent by discourteous treatment of professionals during their candidacy?
Job applicants are customers and have a vested interest in your company.   Maintaining customers is essential to the bottom line.  Losing customers is a path that adds to the challenges of a declining economy.   The application process requires research about job requirements followed by clearly communicating applicant qualifications.  This effort establishes all job applicants as valued customers.

Retention of customers is all the more important during difficult economic conditions.  Job applicants make an investment in your company by thoroughly researching an opportunity for employment.  Candidate screening procedures that show little or no courtesy to the applicant will lose customers.  For example, a recent applicant was interviewed three times for the same position and was not notified that the job had been filled.  The company’s policy is to call the successful candidate with no follow up to those who were not selected.  Just like the customer who receives poor service, this candidate will tell 10 to 15 people of the experience.  The negative experience will be retold many times.

Recruiting in economic downturns adds value to the company when announcements include clear qualification statements, appointments are scheduled with consideration for the applicant, conversations are respectful and closure is communicated with all applicants. Companies out-sourcing any part of the recruiting process should have quality control measures to assure professional treatment is provided to each customer.

We have managed large recruiting organizations for some marquee companies and have seen the pendulum swing, as it is likely to again. Communication is vital, delivered in a timely and respectful manner. Understand that talent is in short supply.  Candidates are customers who can influence current or potential customers and in the end have an impact on the bottom line.

This article may be reproduced with attribution to: The Principals of WayFinders Careers.