Make Your Job Candidates Happier in 2019

You don’t have to hire them all, but you should treat them well

By Dinah Brin on

Employers can choose only one applicant to fill a job, but many are taking steps to ensure that the contenders who didn’t get hired feel good about the process and the company.

“We’re not talking about making everybody happy,” but about making sure companies do a good job of setting expectations, communicating with applicants and treating them fairly, said Kevin Grossman, president of the San Francisco-based nonprofit Talent Board, which promotes positive candidate experience.

Treating applicants well is the right thing to do. Offended candidates who make a fuss can affect a business’s reputation, its ability to attract talent and even its bottom line. Alienating applicants can mean “potentially millions of dollars a year in lost revenue,” Grossman said, while engaging with them positively can boost business.

Unhappy candidates might share their experiences with friends, colleagues, acquaintances, and—through social media platforms like Glassdoor—multitudes of strangers who may decide to forgo applying or doing business with a company.

Talent Board’s “candidate experience resentment calculator” illustrates the point.

A U.S. company making 1,000 hires a year, with 100 candidates per opening and average customer revenue of $100, could lose nearly 22,000 customers and $2.2 million in revenue if it incurs an 11 percent “candidate resentment rate”—a figure gleaned from the organization’s research. The ripple effects can be substantial for major retailers hiring hundreds of thousands of people a year.

Consumer products giant Kimberly-Clark, a Talent Board candidate experience award-winner, sends coupons to phone-screened candidates. “That turns into a revenue stream,” Grossman said. “Those little things still go a long way with a majority of candidates.”

Kimberly-Clark also has a candidate experience guide for its recruiters, provides peer liaisons for interviewees (like a buddy system made up of prospective co-workers) and requires managers to send thank-you messages to candidates after interviews, according to Talent Board…


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