Organisations can do more to convert applicants into employees

Author: Kirsty Tuxford | Date: 27 Jan 2016

A negative interview experience can change a candidate’s mind about taking a job

Businesses are unwittingly turning away potential hires, according to a new survey that questions employees in the UAE about what companies can do to win the talent they want.
 
The results of the LinkedIn survey show that most professionals in the country are interested in hearing about job opportunities, with 86 per cent saying they are open to approaches from a recruiter or headhunter.
 
But when it comes to the interview, 83 per cent say that a negative experience can change their mind about the role or the company, while 87 per cent say a positive interview experience can make them more positive about a role or company they doubted.
 
If companies do not allow interviewees to meet with their prospective manager during the interview, this can put them off the job – more than half of respondents said that meeting their manager was the most important part of the interview. Half stated that they would expect a conversation with organisational leaders, and slightly fewer than half would want their business questions answered during the interview.
 
The interview experience has a major impact on candidates’ final decision and was listed as “extremely important” by 77 per cent of those questioned.
 
“The induction process into a new company can start from the very first point of contact that employee has with the potential employer, be that a direct advert or via the chosen external recruitment partner that an organisation works alongside to secure the best talent in the market,” says Simon Stephens, head of Frazer Jones ME.
 
“Clear communication is crucial from start to finish. Cumbersome recruitment processes can lead to the ideal candidates being missed, as can poorly written adverts with misleading or insufficient information that do not balance between attracting and dissuading candidates. Using multiple recruitment partners and advertising directly can often 'muddy the waters' for candidates and have a negative impact. Top talent is always in high demand and short supply, even in depressed markets, and often highly coveted and rewarded by their current employers. Managing all applicants professionally and courteously at every stage will mean the best are less likely to fall by the wayside,” adds Stephens.
 
“The balance of the first interview should be a 50/50 process, allowing the hiring company to explore the suitability of the candidate and also providing enough clarity and information to the potential employee. Face-to-face meetings with line managers and key stakeholders are critical in matching culturally and technically for vacancies.”
 
Staying connected after the interview is one way for companies to keep potential new employees interested. Candidates want to hear from companies after the interview, and receive updates about the progress of their application, and most (77 per cent) professionals want to hear good news by phone.
 
A large number (41 per cent) said that they had never received interview feedback in the past. Given that 94 per cent said that they wanted this, whether negative or positive, companies could do more to communicate with interviewees.
 
“To keep potential employees interested, creating or maintaining a strong employment brand in the market is key,” says Stephens. “Companies spend millions on marketing their own products, yet damage their own brand in the market with poor recruitment activities. Providing informative and clear feedback after someone has invested time and effort attending interviews means that despite the applicant’s suitability (or lack of) they will be more likely to re-apply in the future and come away with a positive feeling towards the company.”