By: Amy Matthews

Is your company leaving candidates with the best image of your organization?

Many companies are concerned with their public image, especially in 2018, when we are all so exposed through social media outlets. We worry about a bad Yelp or Google review. Some companies have a strong focus on brand management or reputation management, whether outsourced or in-house.

Companies pride themselves on their service or on their new innovative widget. They market and advertise their products and they look great.  These actions tell the public: this is a good company.

There is another way that the public is invited to perceive your company that isn’t often thought of. It’s experiential in nature and this opinion can travel quickly by word of mouth.  What is it?

The company hiring process.

The way prospective candidates are treated—the way they are hired or rejected—is one of the most important and organic reputation creators out there. Don’t believe me?  Ask any candidate who interviewed twice and never heard back from your HR/Recruiting department. They won’t have anything nice to say about your organization and they are telling everyone they know. On the converse side — ask the candidate who interviewed, didn’t get the job, but was treated with courtesy and respect, and was notified that they were no longer under consideration for the position.  Sure, they may be disappointed, but respect has been earned.

HR provides internal customer service to the company.  As such, it is a good business practice to treat all candidates and employees well.

One mistake companies make is failing to respond to a candidate after an interview. Prospective employees are interviewed on a Thursday and told they will hear back by Tuesday.  Tuesday comes and goes—nothing is heard. Your candidate is wondering and maybe worrying. At first they will tell themselves that, “no news is good news,” or “I will wait one more day.”  Then they will tell themselves, “If I was really wanted, I would have heard already.”

In addition to torturing your candidates, lack of post-interview response just makes your company look bad.  Are you that busy or that unorganized?  Maybe so, maybe no, but that’s the perception. Then people start to question the company.  If you can’t even communicate after an interview, how sound are your business practices?

Being late can also hurt your image.  A 10:00am interview is a 10:00am interview, not 10:15am because something went sideways (emergencies notwithstanding). Time is to be respected.

So how can a company maintain a positive reputation in the eyes of its candidates?

  1. Don’t make a promise you can’t keep. You know your schedule.  Don’t say you will call on Monday unless you can call on Monday. Perhaps tell the candidate if they haven’t heard from you by Monday, to call you on Tuesday. This gives them some purpose and will serve as a reminder and deadline to you.
  2. If you know right away in the interview that this is not the person for the job, tell them right then and there. Why wait? A simple, “after our conversation, you don’t have the qualifications we require. Thank you so much for your time and please feel free to apply for other positions should they become available,” will suffice.
  3. Allow time in your day for your interviews. Schedule accordingly. Holding interviews on a payroll submission day may not be the best idea.

Candidates are potential employee customers and should be treated as well, if not better, than the traditional customers who support your company. A positive hiring experience leads to a good on-boarding experience, which leads to a happy employee.  Every good day at work, shared by your employees with their friends, is free advertising for the company.  Every positive interview (and every negative interview) is also free advertising.  Take some time to have good hiring practices to make it all the kind of advertising that will make you and your company proud.