How To Say “No” To Candidates

The hiring process can be exhausting, long-winded, and frankly, boring at times. Thirty-three percent of bosses know in the first 90 seconds whether or not they’ll hire the candidate they’re interviewing. The rest of the interview can seem like formality after you’ve realized the person you’re gazing past make the cut. It’s common courtesy to give a firm “we’ll let you know,” but what else can an employer do to let them down? Is it even an issue?

Why It’s Important To Say No

Employers are working through several candidates in the interview process, the length of which doubled from 12 days in 2009 to 23 days in 2013. Recruiters have several candidates in the hopper at any one time, and can’t be bothered to pen a heartfelt email to each saying how much they appreciate them even though they didn’t give them a job. But taking that time and sending an email, even if it’s automated, can help you find better candidates in the long run.

“You want to leave each applicant with a positive view of your organization which simple, timely communication will achieve. This positive impression may affect your candidate’s application to your organization in the future . . . candidates do talk and often, like birds, flock together to pursue an employer of choice.” — Susan Heathfield (@SusanHeathfield)

It may not seem like much, but having a good letdown process can be just as important as hiring the right person. If candidates feel like their application or interview wouldn’t have mattered in the first place, as if the enormous corporation they applied to didn’t even know they were there, they’re less likely to apply again in the future, or recommend that company to friends. This could lose you good candidates in the future.

Why You Should Say It ASAP

The only thing worse than being told no is the suspense of not knowing. Seventy percent of employers don’t provide any feedback to candidates they’ve rejected, and it drives candidates crazy. Not knowing whether or not a job offer is coming can be stressful. Perhaps they have an offer from another company, but yours would be the bigger catch. Should they follow through with the lower-paying job or wait to hear from you?

Being in the dark is nerve-wracking, and it can lead to them badmouthing your company for their bad experience: 22% of candidates who have their application mishandled or delayed will dissuade their friends from applying at a company. Even an automated email saying “We have received your application and have decided not to move forward,” delivered the day you’ve decided against hiring someone is better than a personal email delivered five months later. While not being hired by your dream company is a blow, knowing you can move forward with other applications and interviews is invaluable information for a job seeker to know!

When You Can, Be Real

You don’t always have time to give the proper feedback, but if you can, you should. Candidates will have a far better opinion of you if you can let them know why you didn’t choose them and what they could have done to shine during the application process.

We could say this, for example: “The search committee has recommended another candidate, but all of the members agree that we want to see you in a leadership role. If you are open to feedback about how to position yourself for opportunities in the future, we would like to give you some advice. If this would be helpful to you, let’s schedule some time after you and we have taken some time to reflect upon the process.” — Jessica Miller-Merrell (@jmillermerrell)

Finding the time to deliver more personal feedback may be difficult, but it’s worth it. Letting people know you’re responsive in every aspect of the hiring process (even the worst part) lets applicants know you’re responsive, and can build a brand that could later lead to more applicants and better hires in the long run.

Photo Credit: by freemagebank

HR Tech Solution Sans Bells & Whistles

Video interviewing shouldn’t be an enigma. As a recruiter, you don’t need complex accouterments to acquire candidates. You simply need a solution that fits your needs. Video interviewing uses webcams to conference with distance candidates without paying for the cost of flights to and from the candidate’s location. All you truly need is a robust platform and an inexpensive webcam. The only thing that requires the occasional assistance: troubleshooting the technology. Anything tacked onto what your company needs is just extraneous.

You Don’t Need The Knick Knacks

Over half of candidates prefer the convenience of video interviewing to the traditional face-to-face interview. Why? The real question is, why wouldn’t they? Travel isn’t required, they can use the technology they’ve become accustomed to, and video interviews help to ease the trepidation 92% of candidates have at some point during the interview process. Candidates can interview from the comfort of their own home with technology they already know.

The workforce has to be knowledgeable of current technologies, so using video to interview purveys the image of a tech-savvy organization. That in turn will attract more candidates to your company. With video interviews growing in popularity, you don’t need the useless additives some HR tech companies throw on to a subpar technology to make it more “marketable.”

Latest and Greatest Aren’t Always The Best

We are constantly barraged with advertisements for the latest and greatest gadgets and gizmos through our phones, billboards, commercials, and even junk mail. However, just because every Tom, Dick, and Harry down the hall has the most hyped devices around, that doesn’t mean it will work for you. You need a solution that is going to solve your recruiting problems, not add to them. The video interviewing platform you choose needs to be successful in attracting, gaining, and retaining key talent. The best way to ensure that, is to cover all of the bases that guarantee a good candidate experience. Once considered a luxury, mobile apps are now a necessity for many people; 86% of candidates use their mobile devices to search for jobs. Moreover, the average American spends 11 hours a day using digital media. So how could you get by without it in your recruiting efforts? Mobile adaptability and responsiveness are paramount to recruitment success in today’s digital age.

With the conveniences of the digital age, you can take a step back. Think about what you really need in a recruiting solution: tech support, mobile responsiveness, and an easy-to-use platform. More importantly, you need a team that will help you implement and understand your new recruiting technology.

Bells and whistles make video interviewing solutions more complicated than they need to be. Recruiters value efficiency and experience… and so do candidates. The difference between bells and whistles and a real solution is the candidate experience and ease of the hiring process.

Evaluate the quality of service from the platform you’re currently using… do they provide the solution you need or are they giving you a package of bells and whistles?

About the Author: A 20-year veteran of the recruiting industry, Greg Rokos provides strategic direction for GreenJobInterview® and is responsible for marketing its virtual interviewing solutions through client meetings, conferences, speaking engagements, key channel partnerships and other activities. Alongside fellow co-founder, Theo Rokos, Greg is one of the pioneers of cloud-based virtual interviewing.

Could Job-Hoppers Be A Good Investment?

Job-Hopping is bad. Those who skip from job to job, should be banned from recruiting circles and shunned by the employment offices. It will wreck your career if you leave before the 2-year mark!

Previous and current generations have internalized, lived and believed it all, keeping them at jobs they dislike. Even Millennials who want new-age benefits like flex-work and volunteering opportunities are staying in their positions longer than workers of previous generations. Whether those choices are due to the struggle to find better opportunities or the fear of disappointing Baby Boomer parents remains uncertain. One thing is clear: job-hopping has always carried a bad stigma.

But how accurate are these statements? Does job-hopping really hurt your career? Should recruiters overlook resumes with several careers where there should be just a couple?

Times Are A’Changing

When it comes to changing jobs, 41% of baby boomers believe employees should stay in their positions for at least 5 years before considering a move, while 21% say that between 4-5 years is sufficient. And younger generations have been raised by these loyal employees to carry the weight of staying at each job they take for long blocks of time.

It is believed that someone with a flighty job history lacks ambition, is easily bored, isn’t loyal or reliable or is just not serious about employment. Alternately, those who have longer stints in a position are seen to be the opposite, which leads to the latter usually receiving the offer. Meanwhile, candidates who frequently move from one job to another catch grief in the interviews they are given a chance to attend.

While these ideas weigh on the minds of the incoming workforce, younger generations are challenging the school of thought. Only 13% of those born between 1982 and 2002 believe waiting for the 5-year mark is necessary. In fact, 25% believe looking for another position before a year is up is okay.

Bored Or Teeming With Aspiration?

More of the upcoming workforce is receiving formal education, leading to the most educated generation in history. Employees want to feel like their expensive education is benefiting their careers. Unfortunately, many employers are not catching on to this or are simply unable to offer more growth opportunities. It used to be that promotion or more responsibility came with time, but this new generation of worker does not want to wait.

Lack of advancement is the number one reason people leave their jobs, and 89% of employees with bachelor’s or graduate degrees find it annoying to not feel empowered by their boss. When a few months go by and no additional assignments are offered, employees fear stagnation and, in return, begin exploring their options. For many, finding new employment is the only hope to be challenged in their position.

Does Ambition Mean More Skills?

Though these workers are being considered more educated by way of formal work, many are not experienced. With many entry-level positions requiring at least a little experience, workers are determined to have examples of previous employment-provided skills that give the upper hand. If it seems no skills will be being obtained in a current position, employees are open to new positions that have those opportunities.

This might seem like a challenge to organizations, but it’s actually a benefit to growing teams. Employees who have moved around within their careers bring fresh points of view to each new employer and excitement in learning new tasks and procedures. Being open to challenges and cross-training, job-hoppers have worked with numerous people and personalities, which could mean they are experienced team players. Job-hopping could also point to a strategic mind, since it’s known among the professional community that employees who stay at the same job for more than 2 years find their learning power significantly reduced.

It’s true that recruiters have little time to make big decisions. In those precious 6 seconds of reading resumes, job history is a huge concern, but instantly throwing that shifty job history to the no pile might be losing the organization that next great new hire. It might be time to rethink the job-hopping applicant.

About the Author: A 20-year veteran of the recruiting industry, CEO Greg Rokos provides strategic direction for GreenJobInterview® and is responsible for marketing its video interviewing software through client meetings, conferences, speaking engagements, key channel partnerships and other activities. Alongside fellow co-founder Theo Rokos, Greg is one of the pioneers of cloud-based video interviewing.

photo credit: Intrepid Explorer Lianne via photopin (license)

Employer Brand Doesn’t Depend On One Candidate Experience

A candidate’s perception during the application and hiring processes remains and will stay a major topic of conversation in the field of HR and recruiting. As most perpetually popular discussions go, the ideas fluctuate, mature, and change with the demographic that populates the workforce. Unfortunately, we’ve been talking about it all wrong. The candidate experience focuses on the applicant. While that’s certainly not a bad thing to do, what’s wrong with relating it to the employer brand? You can’t devise an entire brand off of one candidate experience. Your employer brand is formulated by all of your candidates’ experiences.

There Is Something To Be Said…

There is something to be said for how candidates as a whole see your branding. Nike isn’t famous for selling shoes to one person – yes, Michael Jordan promotes Air Jordans, but that’s not what I mean. Just the same, Apple isn’t famous for selling a single all-in-one computer system. These two companies are so well known because millions of people know and love the brand. Their customers have a positive experience with their brand. The customers of your employer brand are your candidates. If candidates are displeased with the employer brand, they aren’t going to want to work for you – i.e., buy your product.

So, evaluate the employer brand as a whole. The candidate might have a wonderful time during the interview, but what about the application process? How did they finally find your career page? Out of the roughly 7 billion people on this planet, there are 1.75 billion smartphone users. You cannot afford a non-responsive website anymore; at least create a career page. In the long run, 65% of job seekers who apply for new employment from their phone leave if the site is not responsiveForty percent leave with a negative opinion of the employer brand. Take a look at the traffic on the career page. How many visitors? How long do they stay? These questions can give insight to what needs to be changed.

Then The Question Is…

Who are the employers that are nailing their branding efforts? Those organizations that take the time to develop relationships with candidates and communicate. The businesses that don’t take candidate applications for granted and not respond. The companies that take the time and energy to develop a career site that represents what applicants want from the organization. And it’s not just the big companies. They may have the big-brand name, but smaller businesses often offer more flexibility in schedules and the work-life balance new talent desires. Sometimes it’s even the smaller details that attract coveted talent. Many employees would rather work at a company between six and 100 people, 46% to be exact.

It doesn’t take an expensive budget to create a strong employer brand, either. Most of the employer brand doesn’t cost a dime. These following suggestions from give a good starting point to restructuring or developing your employer brand:

  1. Clarify what you’re all about – define company culture before you experiment with it in the recruiting department.
  2. Leverage employees your employees are your best ambassadors. Treat them well, and they will spread the word.
  3. Perfect your hiring process clear and concise communication will help keep your hiring process painless.
  4. Make the most of social media most platforms are free, so with a little time and dedication, it is a way to not only promote the employer brand but also to encourage employees to do so as well.
  5. Aim small, spend small there is nothing wrong with targeting your job openings to niche job boards; in fact, they are less expensive and the candidates will likely have more specialized training.

Employer branding is critical to attaining top talent. That candidate experience is what has the most say in developing the brand. Invest the time and energy into creating a social media profile (and keep it relevantly updated), communicate with candidates, and update your career site. The tech-savvy candidates sending in applications to dozens of businesses will exit your website as soon as they realize it isn’t responsive.

Your candidates’ experiences say a lot about you… do you know what they are saying?

About the Author: A 20-year veteran of the recruiting industry, Greg Rokos provides strategic direction for GreenJobInterview® and is responsible for marketing its virtual interviewing solutions through client meetings, conferences, speaking engagements, key channel partnerships and other activities. Alongside fellow co-founder, Theo Rokos, Greg is one of the pioneers of cloud-based virtual interviewing.


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