Half of all unsuccessful jobseekers say their recruitment experience was so bad it left them with a negative view of that company, such that 18% of them say they will cease to be a customer in the future.
The findings, revealed today by pyschometrics experts SHL, finds organisations are failing to tie the employer brand with the consumer one, and risk a permanent loss in business from applicants put off from being consumers.
Its survey finds 37% of applicants said did they not receive any feedback after an interview with a company. Retail was the worst sector for not even telling people they had been unsuccessful - with 19% saying they did not do this.
According to SHL CEO David Leigh, the findings should worry brands that advertise a particular consumer-facing message but fail to follow it through in their recruitment process. "More than a third - 36% - say they will complain to friends and family about their negative job application experience, while 9% said they had used social media to voice their discontent about it. What we're saying is that the brand damage from bad recruiting is equal, if not greater, than the same damage consumers get from poor customer service."
Sue Gilbert, senior recruitment manager at John Lewis, said "Working with the marketing team is something John Lewis is only just starting, but we do want to link the two more in future."
According to the findings, almost a third of HR departments had raised the number of hoops applicants have to go through - more as a coping mechanism to deal with increased numbers of applications per job. A quarter say they are now overstretched by the sheer quantity of applications. But CIPD adviser on engagement, Angela Baron, said this only increases candidates' expectation that they get some sort of feedback in return.
"Candidates put a lot of time, a lot of emotion into applying for jobs, Getting some feedback is the least they should be able to expect."
According to SHL, some of the better employers point unsuccessful applicants to career advice websites, and even send them money-off vouchers for their products. "The employer brand and consumer brand are very much coming together," adds Sean Howard, head of business solutions, SHL. "People need to be managed, so that even if they don't get the job, it's still a positive experience."
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