Most job seekers don't brag about the application process.  They hate it--the black hole of recruiting, the time it takes to hear back from recruiters and the length and complication of the process. But they don't always have insight into recruiters' woes either: heavy requisition loads, corporate processes and rules, and inappropriate candidate behaviors.

Case in point: last week, a recruiting leader posted the following:

"Recruiter friends, I need your input: I rejected an applicant who really wasn't qualified for a position. Granted, it was a canned rejection response [but] the candidate's reply [ended in]: 'go suck a [male body part]'. Respond?"

And the recruiting community responded with a variety of opinions including:

  • "Write him back and say that the original rejection letter was a mistake and he was going to get called into an interview but due to his response, you can't recommend him."
  • "I get those all the time...I usually just laugh at them and move on...seems like a lot of energy to waste."
  • "The time it takes to write back could be much better spent on a blog post to other sensible job seekers about what not to do."

I noticed one thing missing in the suggested responses. No one seemed to care whythe candidate would respond like that.

Maybe we as recruiters, recruiting leaders and HR professionals are enabling this behavior.

How many times have you gotten frustrated at a customer service representative for a bank or in a retail store?  I often hear plenty of those complaints in my travels too. And when people get mad at airlines, they get mad. They usually have valid reasons for being angry and while that doesn't excuse inappropriate behavior, in the heat of the moment people can act irrationally. Not because they're crazy (though some are), but because the system, the supply chain, is flawed.

We have all been fed up by a customer experience at some point. We get annoyed at the company for not fixing our problem or saying "sorry I can't help". And then we vow to never use Comcast/USAirways/Bank of America/name-any-other-company ever again.

Bad customer experiences are usually bad because they operate like a supply chain.

There is a specific process for service representatives to follow and a standard script to respond to problems when they arise. But most customer service reps aren't trained to get at the heart of the problem or empowered to change the process if it doesn't work. So it repeats itself over and over and over again. Which is why we all often complain about the same brands.

What recruiters don't realize, is they are doing the same thing.

When you have your process, your canned response and your gut reaction to "ignore it and move on," you're the scripted bank representative.  You're assuming it's not worth it to investigate why the person reacted that way, or you're not empowered to do anything about it.  Could he be a run-of-the-mill jerk? Sure, but he could also be reacting to things in your process you could/should change to better the candidate experience or how you source, assess and hire.

Whether you like it or not, this guy is out there talking about your brand.

To at least respond changes the tone, allows you to become part of the conversation and maybe goes so far as to change perception. It also shows you are interested in bettering the process and helps you track trends. If you're in an organization with multiple recruiters, this kind of response might happen often, which means there's valuable feedback to be had.  And when people are frustrated in the moment they are more likely to respond and give real feedback.

We should stop acting like the brands we hate. 

Turn your supply chain into a human experience. The five minutes you take to ask why now, could change your entire hiring process for the better later.

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