Savage advice for improving the candidate journey in hiring

Recruiter Greg Savage from The Savage Truth has a reality check for you: you’re actually in the business of rejection, not recruitment.

Consider this: During 2018, there were more than 15 applicants for every advertised vacant position in Australia. That’s a lot of disappointed candidates. And it’s not just the unsuccessful ones you have to worry about.

The way you interact with people at every stage of the candidate journey can make or break your organisation’s employer brand – and the latter could be very bad for business.

Reputation matters

These days, Savage says, job seekers behave more like consumers – they take into account reviews before accepting a position, just as they would if they were buying a car, or choosing a fancy holiday resort.

And people aren’t afraid to talk – in fact, research shows 83% of candidates share their experience of the application process with friends and family, and 64% on social media. That’s not all – 38% of job seekers “are less likely to buy from or use a company’s products or services” based on their experience of the hiring process. This is what makes the concept of ‘employer brand’ so critical to an organisation’s wellbeing.

“I wrote a blog that was actually just a letter somebody sent me,” Savage says. “They had eight insurance policies with a company, which they’d had for years, and then it so happened that they applied for a job at that company and had an interview. Their experience was so devastating, so negative, that they canceled all their insurance policies and have never dealt with that company again.

“So it’s first and foremost that you won’t be able to hire the best people if you don’t have a good reputation, because people will be influenced by that. And the second thing is, it will affect your commercial business because people will not use your products and services if they’ve had a bad experience – and they’ll tell other people about how bad it was.”

How to do better

With that in mind, here are Savage’s top tips for better recruitment.

1. Up your game online

You might be putting off candidates without even realising it, if your website, online-application process or social media presence aren’t up to scratch.

“You’ve got to create an online presence that resonates with the audience you’re trying to connect with,” Savage says. “When a candidate or potential candidate browses your website, is it easy to find the jobs? And is there a lot of information about what it’s like working there?”

Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn are all excellent channels for showcasing your company values and employer brand. Just make sure there is content targeted at prospective employees – for example, a video with a young employee talking about what an excellent graduate program you have.

2. Make it easy

Does your application process make candidates jump over barriers like attaching resumes and then filling out other forms with identical information? Are there too many steps? Is it easy to apply on a smartphone?

“I was asked to go into a large financial institution that was struggling with hiring people,” Savage says. “As a prelude, I went to their website and tried to apply for one of their jobs as if I were a jobseeker… and I gave up after step 19.

“I told them that good jobseekers won’t bother – they’ll fall off. And their response, which was most telling, was: ‘If they want to work for us, they’ll go through the process.’

“That was among the more stupid things I’ve heard recently, because the boot is on the other foot in the sense that there’s a shortage of talent in many, many areas in this country, and it is about making it easy for those people to apply.”

3. Be responsive

What’s job seekers experience after they apply for a job at your company? Apparently 58% of candidates don’t receive regular updates on their application. Are you doing better than this?

A typical bad experience would be when the candidate sends a follow up email with job reference, a week later they get a “We’ll be in touch with you” response, then they never hear from you again. “There are plenty of stories where people have had second or third interviews and then the company just ghosted them. It’s common, so be responsive”, adds Savage.

Essentially, it’s common courtesy. Workers care about corporate culture – if they feel your company values don’t align with theirs, they may stop communicating with you too and focus on other opportunities.

4. Respond as quickly as possible

You can speed up your hiring process by:

  • Having a simple application process
  • Returning phone and email enquiries
  • Keeping the chain of command as short of possible – i.e., keep those involved in the decision-making process to a minimum if possible.
  • Screening and reference checking candidates earlier in the process. This helps create a clearer picture of your candidates and shows job seekers that your organisation has professional hiring procedures in place. Outsourced pre-employment screening can also reduce hiring times, ensuring you don’t lose out on top talent.
  • Utilising technology – email, social media, video interviews and text messages are great ways to help speed up each piece of the process. Video interviews in particular can eliminate travel cost and time and make scheduling and holding interviews quicker.
  • Following up verbal offers with contracts asap – within 24 hours ideally.

5. Be respectful

What’s job seekers experience when they have finally made it to the interviewing stage of your hiring process? Are they seen on time by a skilled interviewer who is experienced in the process? Are they given adequate information and treated with respect? Do you provide feedback and status updates after the interview?

“There are plenty of times when people have been offered a job and then turned it down, not because the job’s wrong but because they haven’t enjoyed the experience,” Savage warns.

“Word-of-mouth and referrals are key in a candidate-short market, so you need to make the experience a very positive one, whether you intend to hire the person or not.”

About Greg Savage

With a career spanning four decades, Greg is the founder of four highly successful businesses, a trusted advisor and respected voice across the global recruitment and professional services industries. He is also a regular keynote speaker at conferences around the world.

Screening Matched to Your Needs

Find out how CVCheck can help with all of your employment screening needs.

Find Out More