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How to Lose an Applicant in 10 days

How to lose an applicant in 10 days

When you’re searching for your next employee, it’s not only the impression that you get from the applicant that counts – their impression of you and your company is equally important. Not only will you deter prospective employees from working with you, but you could also jeopardise your company image. People talk, and with the focus on social media being as prevalent as it is, the word can spread like wildfire – make sure what people are saying about your company, your brand, is positive.

Below are some ways you might be losing your applicant during your recruitment process, you might identify with one or more of them, or you might think of other stumbling blocks which you can identify and rectify before you do lose top quality candidates.

Day 1 – Difficult to locate the job on a job board

The first point of contact with any applicant is the job advert, so it makes sense that every effort must be made to get the advert seen by the right people. Job boards play an integral role here; putting in the correct title, location, salary and keywords are all imperative to making your job come up in searches and compete with other similar jobs out there. If you’d like to know more about advertising on job boards, see our previous blog here.

Day 2 - Poor job advert

When applicants find your role, the advert itself is the next big selling point. It needs to explain the role and the requirements as well as telling people why they should work for you over a competitor. There’s a big difference between writing a compelling, informative advert and regurgitating a job description which is often lengthy, dull and packed with dense information. Adverts are optimised for job boards, and for the appeal of applicants – if you need help differentiating the two, please see our previous blog.

Finally, when you have written your engaging and informative advert, remember to proofread your advert!

Since the advert is the first contact with an applicant, impressions count so take care with how you’re presenting yourself.

Day 3 – Lack of knowledge

Once an applicant has read your job advert, they might have some further questions before committing to applying for the role. In this instance, there’s nothing more infuriating than calling the company and getting through to someone with little or no knowledge of the role. If an applicant is taking the time to find out more about the role or the company, you shouldn’t dismiss their pro-active approach. This pro-active nature could be exactly what you want in your next hire so you don’t want to discourage them from applying. If you don’t know the answer to their questions, simply take their details and arrange to call them back when you have found out for them.

Day 4 – Tedious application process

Ok, so the applicant is interested and you’ve not put them off yet. That’s great, let’s keep it up. The next stumbling block for a lot of applicants is the application process itself, that is, how they get their name/CV in front of the right person. We’ve previously listed a couple of things to look out for when considering your application process and we’ve also explained how you can test your own application process too. If you follow both of these guides, you should be able to master this fundamental aspect of the recruitment cycle.

Day 5 – No communication

Communication in the recruitment process cannot be stressed enough. Applicants need to know they are an individual and that you have received their CV, that their CV is under review and the time frame you are working to, whether they are invited for interview or whether they are unsuccessful. It is more work from your point of view, but their journey with your company is important to them and to their network. Some tips on when to communicate and what to say can be found here.

Day 6 – Or, you don’t return calls

If an applicant is chasing you to find out what stage the recruitment process is in and you don’t reply, this reflects negatively on you. Your company could be viewed as disorganised, unable to make decisions and not committed. Remember, the applicant has already committed to you when the chose to apply to work for you. For further tips to improve your recruitment communication please read our previous blog here.

Day 7 – Flexibility/scheduling issues

When it gets to the interview process, think about how irate it makes you when an applicant is unwilling to compromise or be flexible in terms of arranging the interview. It works both ways, applicants who offer alternative times/dates are demonstrating their willingness to compromise and their desire to attend. It’s always a tricky one, as it is not just the applicant and prospective employer that need to be flexible, their existing employer also has an influence. Please check out our future blog posts on this topic as we will be covering this exact subject shortly.

Day 8 – Being late / unprepared for the interview

In a similar vein, you wouldn’t expect an applicant to be late or unprepared for an interview so you should abide by this rule too. Making applicants wait an additional 20 minutes whilst you sort yourself out makes you look disorganised, you’ve had the same amount of notice as the applicant to get yourself ready. Also, make an effort to do your research, starting an interview with “so, tell me a bit about you, I haven’t had a chance to look over your CV yet” is reinforcing all the negative images they may have about you: disorganised, unprepared, blasé. This job is important to them and could mean a lot to them and their career path and you should respect that, after all...they’ve chosen your company so far. If you’d like some help with arranging and preparing interviews, please see our previous blog post on arranging interviews.

Day 9 – Slow recruitment process

Taking time to review your applicants fairly is absolutely fine but keeping people waiting weeks is unacceptable in the fast-paced world of recruitment. If you don’t keep applicants in the loop following an interview, they will get to a point where they assume they haven’t got the role and will, therefore, search elsewhere. By the time you get around to it, the perfect candidate is lost, possibly to a competitor. It is also inevitable that the longer you leave people waiting, the more their patience wears thin, if they haven’t moved on, you might find that their demands become more elevated, they now want to renegotiate the salary or hours or benefits for instance. Move fast and keep them happy. If you find yourself concerned that things are happening too quickly, you can just communicate with the relevant people that you apologise for the delay but you are still finalising a decision and they can expect to hear back by X date.

Day 10 – Changing your mind

Imagine getting this far only to be told at the last hurdle that you aren’t what they’re looking for. Unfortunately, this happens all the time, you can address this by laying your cards down throughout. If you’re deciding between two candidates, tell them that so that they can be prepared that they have a 50:50 chance of getting, or not getting, the job. Also, if you’re offering the position internally try to do this before or at the start of the campaign, not at the end. Not only does it cost you money to advertise your job which you wouldn’t need to do if you had a suitable internal applicant, but it saves the external applicant time, effort and hope.

We hope the above has opened your eyes to some of the things that can go wrong in your recruitment cycle and hopefully have explained ways to try address the issues. We have ample material on our blog page on how to improve the recruitment process and make sure your applicants are happy, please do take a look and we’d be more than happy to answer any further questions you might have.

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