In today’s changing job market, employees are taking more control of their work, and they have higher expectations around their jobs and the companies they work for. What can companies do to bring the best candidates to their door?

Say Goodbye to the Traditional Mentality

For generations, labor has been seen as a commodity to be bought, sold, or traded in pursuit of a better bottom line. Keeping costs low was the priority, while workers were replaceable units. Even in searches for senior positions, employers have had the luxury of choice in candidates.

Today, work culture has changed. Power has shifted, and not only because of the competitive job market. Job seekers now use social media to vet potential employers and to discuss their experiences in the job search. Also, the hard lessons of the pandemic pushed many people to re-think their work lives and to look for greater satisfaction and control in their work.

Companies are realizing the old status quo is bad for business. Unhappy employees who don’t trust the company won’t give their best, and they leave when a better offer comes along, with high costs to replace them. High turnover wastes time and money, and reduces productivity and morale. High turnover is also increasingly a factor in job searches, where potential candidates can look up the average length of tenure, and perceive high turnover as a red flag

The way to fix these problems is by changing old practices and attitudes. Long-term thinking about the best solution requires treating every candidate with the same respect they would receive as an employee.

Treat Candidates with Respect

Candidates know they bring value to the negotiation and they expect to be respected.  They want rewarding work as one component of a full, satisfying life. They want to work for companies that treat them as human beings, not interchangeable units.

HR is aware that they represent the company to a highly capable population. The average staff recruiter is alert, connected, and vocal. A positive experience with the company, even if it doesn’t result in an offer, will have a lasting impact, and so will a negative experience. 

Like all other aspects of the business, the talent search is a genuine expression of the company values and culture. If the appearance of respect is just pasted on at the front end, new hires will realize it soon, and they won’t stay with the firm.

What Does Respect Look Like During the Hiring Process?

Be transparent, and invite the same from candidates. A job applicant presents themselves in the best possible light, and the employer should do the same.

How to demonstrate genuine respect?

  • Promptly respond to communications
  • Advertise the position accurately and honestly
  • Help candidates prepare for interviews. Describe the interview process, and provide the names and roles of interviewers, along with an agenda, in advance 
  • Respect the candidate’s time. Don’t keep them waiting, or spend interview time ‘chatting’
  • Respect the candidate’s professionalism. Treat all interactions as professional exchanges among equals
  • Schedule the candidate’s interviews with people who actually know the job the person is interviewing for.  Engage, interest, and challenge the candidate during the interview
  • Invite and encourage questions from candidates, and respond to them fully
  • Share salary & benefit info up front. Transparency about salary saves time for the candidate and the company 
  • Consider compensating candidates for their time, or otherwise sharing the burden of the interview process. Offer to provide transportation, lodging, childcare or other costs for candidates who come from afar.
  • Request feedback. When appropriate, ask candidates for input and feedback on the interview process. Request feedback from both candidates who were hired, and candidates who were rejected. 

When the interview process is concluded, promptly communicate with the unsuccessful candidates. Tell them about other openings in the company. Provide feedback about why they were not selected. Be timely; be encouraging. If the chosen candidate takes another position or turns out to be a bad fit, you may want to re-open communication with your second choice. And there’s a chance you’ll be working with them in some capacity in the future. So leave them with a good opinion about your company. Seek to provide the unsuccessful candidates with the same consideration a customer would receive.

Treating candidates with courtesy and respect pays off in ways you may never know. A candidate who had a good experience is more likely to recommend your company to other job seekers, give good feedback if asked, and research suggests that they may even be more likely to become a customer.

How not to treat candidates like commodities? The short answer is not to think of them as such. At grapefrute, we are proud of our ability to build great relationships with candidates, just like the great relationships we build with clients. It’s one of the reasons our network is so powerful, and respect has contributed to our success. Contact us today to be part of it.