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A very close friend referred another friend for a job at their company recently. It was a niche job and the friend referred was a perfect fit. Total win for the employer, right? Someone your colleague rates applies and ticks all the boxes too. Plus, you didn’t have to pay an agency. In fact, lots of employers have been improving referral schemes because the quality & cost metrics are so good.


What they seem to forget about is that referral schemes – or any other method of receiving an application – are only as good as the candidate experience you create following the application. In this example, the candidate eventually got a phone call from someone in HR. There was no acknowledgement of the application in the meantime. The call came without warning and sort of developed into an impromptu interview (HR type questions rather than business ones). Following the call, the candidate heard nothing. And still hasn’t.


Sadly there are a bunch of employers who overlook candidate experience. It’s not uncommon for employers to automate an email which reads along the lines of “we always receive loads of applications so please don’t expect to hear back from us”. This attitude stinks. What’s more, it’s completely destructive for the company – their brand and their employer brand.


For lots of these companies, their applicants are also potential or current customers (anybody you’d buy anything from). Are you going to buy from a company that didn’t bother to acknowledge your application?


When it comes to employer brand, in a world which is increasingly connected and increasingly public via social media, giving one person a bad experience is easily amplified – them telling their network either in person, on the web or both. Suddenly employers lose whole sections of potential hires. Equally, nowadays people change jobs a lot more frequently. As often as every 18-24 months. What’s to say that someone who’s not right for you now, won’t be perfect when their next job move comes about? And all this is set against the backdrop of a war for top talent. On both counts – brand & employer brand – it’s just so short-sighted.


What’s more, it’s easily fixed. Especially with today’s technology. Saying “we receive loads of applications and therefore can’t get back to everyone” is a lie. It’s only true if it really means “we receive loads of applications so we don’t bother to look at them all”. Which is just plain silly. Either way, it’s all about having simple processes in place and making use of the right technology.


Simple processes.


If you always receive too many applications to handle, adjust where and for how long you advertise positions to reduce your volume. If you do actually look at every single application, design a process such that you notify the applicant on your decision as soon as you’ve looked at their application. If you ask candidates what really annoys them, the answer is rarely that their application wasn’t successful, it’s that their application didn’t receive a response either way.


The right technology. 


How do you know the ‘right’ technology? Simple. It helps you to notify applicants easily. Any decent applicant tracking system or jobs board will have 1 click functionality allowing you to auto update an applicant. Movemeon certainly does. And if you’re really hot on your employer brand, you can tailor the message they receive in order to give each applicant a little bit of specific feedback (again, default function on movemeon). This goes a long way.


Sometimes circumstances get in the way of progressing applicants. The hiring manager is on holiday. We’re re-scoping the role. There’s a sudden hiring freeze. These are all understandable. The message simply needs to be communicated. Don’t just leave applicants hanging. Drop them a quick update (email or through your tech) to fill them in. It goes a long way.


We built movemeon because we had frustrating experiences as candidates. That’s the only reason we exist. Annoyingly, a small number of employers don’t behave as they are required to when using the platform (our terms require them to get back to applicants within 15 working days). This behaviour affects about 5% of applications through movemeon. But we’re annoyed and on a crusade to change this behaviour and achieve 0%.


We already do a bunch of things behind the scenes. Our tech encourages employer users to make those 1 click updates. Emails remind them of applications gone unanswered. Our team follow up with misbehaving employers. We email all applicants with updates on any unforeseen circumstances. We don’t allow really naughty employers back onto the platform (this recently happened with a super sexy high growth start-up).


But we’re going to do more…we’re going to make our tech even more powerful. Candidates will get an auto update as soon as their CV is opened or downloaded (so they know their application has been looked at). Employers will be able to manage applications from their inbox (rather than having to go into their account). Employers won’t be able to progress applications that have gone unanswered for too long.


Using tech can give employers a real helping hand. We’re excited by what our new updates will achieve. But ultimately employers – in HR/recruitment and hiring managers in the business – need to rain check their attitude. If anyone bothers to put together a decent application, the least one can do is get back to them either way in a timely fashion. Candidates are your customers. And candidates know candidates. Candidate experience really matters.