What Do You Owe Job Candidates?

Mar 14, 2012
5 Min Read

Ask any job seeker and they’ll tell you that most employers don’t treat job candidates very well. Most have endless stories about employers who communicate poorly or not at all, advertise jobs that don't match up with the reality of the work, and forget that candidates are evaluating the employer as much as the employer is evaluating them.

Employers may feel that they don't have to pay much attention to the candidate experience; it’s a buyer's market, after all. But this is short-sighted because your best candidates have options and will turn elsewhere. And it's also pretty unkind to people who have expressed an interest in working for you.

Here are five things that every employer owes to the people applying to work for you.

1. Don’t misrepresent the work. Interviewers who make the job sound more glamorous than it really is or downplay less attractive aspects of the job—like long hours or a tyrannical boss—are guaranteeing they'll end up with a resentful, unmotivated employee. Truth in advertising works to everyone’s advantage, because candidates who won't thrive in the job or the culture can self-select out before they become disgruntled employees.

2. Don't require an unreasonable investment of time up-front. More and more companies are switching to endlessly long online application forms. When candidates know there's a good chance they won't even get so much as an acknowledgment, it’s frustrating to spend an hour wrestling with an onerous application system simply to submit a resume.

3. Show the same consideration to a job candidate as you would to a customer. From last-minute cancellations without apology or acknowledgment of the inconvenience, to not paying attention in the interview, some employers act like their time is the only time that matters. Most candidates go to a lot of trouble to prepare for an interview—reading up on the company, taking time off work, and often traveling—and their time should be respected too.

4. Remember that interviews aren’t a one-way street. Interviews aren’t just about determining whether the company wants to hire the candidate. They’re also about the candidate figuring out if he or she even wants the job. Employers need to be open with information about the job, the company culture, and the manager, so job seekers can make informed decisions about whether the fit is right on their side too.

5. Send rejection notices. Most candidates put significant effort into preparing for a job interview—reading up on the company, practicing answers to interview questions, and thinking about how they could best offer something of value. They may take a day off work and spend time and money traveling to the interview. But when the interview is over, they often never hear from the employer again. It's just not that hard to email a quick a form letter letting candidates know they're no longer under consideration. Make sure your candidates get a response from you!

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