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April 1, 2010 / Mervyn Dinnen

It’s a Selection Rejection Thing

“I nearly bought one of their products a few weeks ago. I’m glad I didn’t. Won’t be considering buying one again”

So said a candidate to me last week about a company whose brand extends into the High Street. Did he have a bad experience? Bad customer service? Was he let down by faulty workmanship?

Kind of..

He was a rejected candidate…he’d applied for a senior role, had 5 interviews including meeting most of the operating Board, giving a presentation, and also meeting a Director from a different division. At the final interview he had been promised a decision within 48 hours. When time was almost up he got a call saying that there was one more person he needed to speak to and a phone chat was scheduled for the next morning. At the end of that call he was promised a decision the next day, which was a Friday.

But he heard nothing. At 5.30 he put a call in (he reasoned that if there was still some doubts maybe he could assuage them) but got a voice mail. 

He got a call back on the Monday afternoon saying that no decision could be made, that the company had not found a strong enough comparison so were unable to commit. He was told that a member of the Board would call and explain more. 3 days later he still hadn’t heard.

He asked what I thought, and I said: ‘Some companies forget that rejected candidates are consumers and ambassadors for their businesses

A lot of time is put in to the hiring processes…design, criteria, testing, offer, dialogue, giving the successful candidate a positive impression of the company…and I think it’s easy to short change the rejected candidate(s). In my experience there are 3 things that the unsuccessful candidate wants:

Clarity
About the interview process, the competition, the selection criteria, the TIMESCALE for both the process and the decision, and some indication of where they stand

Closure
What went wrong, why it went wrong, constructive feedback, is there an opportunity in another part of the business, is it worth applying in future or is this now a closed book

Communication
Clear dialogue with the business, preferably with someone that they met during the process, and most preferably with one of the decision makers, a workable timescale with phone calls made precisely when they are promised even if there is no definite news to convey

You can’t sugar coat the message, and you can’t hire everyone who wants to work for you, but candidates you interview do invest time, energy and emotion in your company, your brand, and deserve some recognition of this investment.

Treat them well because they are your potential consumers and your potential ambassadors…

(This post originally appeared on Recruiting Blogs…read the comments it generated here)

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3 Comments

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  1. Stephen O'Donnell / Jun 9 2010 10:06 AM

    Brilliant and accurate post.

    PS. In my experience Recruiters are amongst the worst employers for doing precisely this (particularly the indecision).

    • MC / Nov 24 2010 4:01 AM

      Amen to that-I have a list of companies that I invested several days of interviewing, testing, etc that refused to answer 5 follow up calls and emails. Don’t hire me, at least communicate with me-say NO at the very least, don’t ignore me. Needless to say, if this is how they treat potential employees, I can’t imagine how they treat their employees and customers. Recruiters are definitely bottom feeders in this regard (apologies to the good ones, but hey the same thing happens to lawyers too-the ambulance chasers get bundled with the ones that help us with taxes, estates, etc 🙂 )

  2. katrina fox / Jul 22 2011 7:04 PM

    Couldn’t agree more – and corporates don’t do themselves any favours when they select recruitment companies, often putting cost over quality. The bottom line is we need to look at how we measure recruiters – is time and cost to hire enough, should we measure on candidate satisfaction too? Any consumer brand (or in fact anyone) who doesn’t – is risking their company reputation and could well impact on bottom line. Its easy – just treat candidates as you’d like to be treated yourself – candidates are humans not numbers. Great post – more please.

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