James Mayes

Blog: Rejection and branding in the recruitment industry

In Community, Conference, Social Media, Social Recruiting on May 17, 2011 at 9:28 am

I wrote this post last week for Bill Boorman as part of the build-up for #TruDublin. Now posted here for my archive!

I’ve been a strong supporter of the #TRU series of the events from the start. I’m delighted to be heading over to Dublin for Bill’s next event, and once again, I’ll be running a track. Those who’ve followed the events in the past will know I’ve often contributed in this way, usually focussed on use of Twitter from one angle or another. This time though, will be different.

I recently joined tech start-up BraveNewTalent. My role here is multi-faceted, for which I’m very appreciative – it allows for involvement across the firm, whilst also supporting outside engagement. As a result, I was recently at another HR industry event – leading me to write a short post on whether, based on energy expended, the Recruitment industry should rebrand itself the Rejection industry.

I suggest in that piece that the rejection aspect of recruitment is one which has a high brand-impact (especially for consumer brands) and is something which use of social media platforms could help to address.

Therein lies the focus I’ll be taking with my track for #TRUDublin. It only takes a little thought to realise how a poor recruitment (rejection) experience impacts brand values for someone who is also a consumer, thus ensuring the cost of rejecting that candidate is raised further when including the (sales) revenue you’ll no longer have access to and the marketing spend previously focussed on that consumer which is now to no avail.

Consider then, what can be done to address this? There’s plenty of evidence to suggest candidates drawn from a talent community, rather than a more traditional transactional recruitment exchange, outperform at assessment and are more likely to accept a job offer. This then, is a more effective model (if anyone wants a BraveNewTalent case study, please let me know, I’d be delighted to talk further!).

For the purposes of this track though, I don’t want to look at talent communities producing successful candidates – I want to look at those left behind. Maybe they’re rejected as unsuitable, maybe they’re not ready yet, maybe your hiring requirements changed. Regardless, they joined your community and you have the ability to continue talking to them. Surely to do so would send a far stronger message than the simple “Thanks, but no thanks”.

What can be offered? All kinds of relevant content. You may have rejected the candidate from a specific post – but there’s always the possibility you’ll consider them again in future. Even more likely, the possibility you’ll consider someone else they know. How many times have you heard the phrase referral recruiting?

If someone is part of a community, you can continue to offer them useful information about your industry sector, or the development cycle of a particular type of career. Depending on your choice of community platform, you can deliver these messages to the whole community – or target a relevant subset, based on filtering or segmentation. For those you might look to hire at some point in future, perhaps a mentoring programme might be appropriate. Regardless, they are ALL jobseekers, and it’s very rare any candidate gives the perfect interview.

Whatever you decide you can offer, at least offer SOMETHING. Simply closing the door when they’ve taken the time to investigate your brand is insufficient. Need more support or budget? Engage with your marketing department. If your community grows to a healthy size, they’ll have suitable incentive to help you.

That’s where I’m at so far. I have a myriad of thoughts on the subject, and I think social recruiting is really only seeing the tip of the iceberg so far. Let’s pull a great track together in Dublin and see if diving in allows us to get a glimpse of the rest of this particular iceberg.

Sláinte mhaith!

  1. Great post & I hope that it provokes people to think about the impact of their feedback. Thank you for making this point, it is often overlooked. Potential candidates are not just a potential fee, they are people too!

  2. You are spot on here James. Companies need to stop and think about their actions before reacting. As they are interviewing candidates, the top three candidates will fall into the gold, silver and bronze medalist slots. Simply this means, the silver and bronze medalists were qualified and eligible for the position, but the gold medalist has that one extra “thing” that pushed him/her to the top of the list. In today’s transient society, companies should never put all their eggs in one basket and take on a mind-set that the chosen candidate will stay ad infinitum… chances are he/she won’t.

    So from the point of effective recruiting, continuing the conversation in whatever form that is, is the way to go. For starters it reinforces the employer brand and secondly the humanity of the organization. From the standpoint of economics, it is much more cost effective to remain engaged with the talent community, or segments therein, as opposed to recruiting in the conventional sense. Some companies understand this (i.e., Sodexho) and work at it every day to make people understand their employment value proposition. I know of companies who want to project that they walk this walk, but in reality they are just talking, not doing the work to be walking.

    • Thanks for jumping in Cyndy. Yet again, I see Sodexho being held up in lights as the shining example. While I agree they’re doing sterling work and deserve the recognition, it only serves to demonstrate how badly the rest of the market is failing when the same name is mentioned time and again!

  3. Excellent insight – and one that I presume most companies would never have considered before. We’ll see you at #TruDublin!

    And excellent Irish as well, slán!

  4. Great post here James! Companies really do have to be careful during the recruiting process. Thanking all candidates for their time at the end of an interview is quite important, and even if you decide not to hire that person they may still apply for other positions later on.

  5. […] developmental content. I’ve written before on the rejection aspect of recruitment (here and here) and the negative impact on a company’s brand – making learning materials available […]

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