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Unsuccessful Applicants Are A Goldmine Of Information – Are You Tapping Into Their Potential?

Hiring a new employee for your team is an exciting event, and it’s really easy to get wrapped up in welcoming them aboard. But by placing so much attention on the candidate that made the grade, you risk missing out on the potential of the others that didn’t. 

Here’s why tweaking your recruitment candidate experience to incorporate unsuccessful applicants is crucial for your brand and business success.


Why You Shouldn’t Forget About The Ones You Didn’t Hire

1. If They Had A Negative Experience With You, They’ll Likely Talk About It

A Career Arc survey found 72% of candidates who had a poor recruitment experience shared their experience online or with someone directly. When you consider that 97% of respondents in an Indeed job survey said that a company’s reputation is very important when considering a role, negative reviews aren’t something you want. 

The Australian IT industry is also relatively small, with close industry networks and connections. If your recruitment process isn’t up to scratch, you can bet your competitors (or even worse, your customers) will hear about it. 

2. Those Candidates May Become Customers 

While the applicant may not have been the best fit for your role, that doesn’t mean they won’t end up becoming a client of yours one day (or they may already be one). A bad candidate experience might cause them to reconsider doing business with you. 

Not sure it matters? Take this extreme example from Richard Branson’s Virgin Media group. A bad recruitment process resulted in over $5 million in lost revenue, prompting a massive overhaul of their practices.  

3. You Might Want To Hire Them In The Future 

It’s highly like you have a hefty list of new IT projects ready to fill up your pipeline. Just because a candidate didn’t quite make the cut for this role, doesn’t mean they won’t be great for the next.

Taking the time to nurture unsuccessful talent during your recruitment process means you have reserves to draw on for your next position, saving you both time and money in further recruiting. 

4. They’re An Important Data Source

The best-placed person to share valuable insights about your recruitment process is a candidate who has actually been through it. Asking such candidates to complete a post-recruitment survey is imperative for two reasons:

  • You can make data-driven decisions to better manage your hiring process
  • It shows you care about the candidate’s experience, even if they didn’t land the job


3 Ways To Improve The Unsuccessful Candidate Experience

It’s clear nurturing unsuccessful candidates has its merits, but how do you go about it? These three steps are a good starting point:

1. Provide Constructive Feedback

Seek Talent Trends found an overwhelming amount of candidates (94%) wanted feedback after an interview. If they got it, they were four times more likely to consider another role with that same company.

When providing feedback to unsuccessful applicants, it’s important to frame it positively. You can start by letting them know how many applicants you had. This may provide some comfort that they’re not the only ones who missed out.

You can then share what they did well, before moving on to provide reasons why you chose to go another way. You might like to throw in some suggestions for improvement too. This ensures they aren’t left wondering whether they did something wrong in the interview. 

After providing feedback, explain that you would also like them to do the same in relation to their experience with your recruitment process. Let them know you want to hear the good, the bad and the ugly. This is the ideal opportunity to introduce your post-recruitment survey.

2. Create A Post-Recruitment Survey

In designing this survey, the focus is on the candidate experience, specifically how they felt during the process. When brainstorming questions, consider the following:

  • Do you give candidates a clear recruitment process timeline?
  • How long are they left waiting for updates?
  • How are updates delivered, particularly for unsuccessful candidates (generic email, personal recruiter call etc.)?

You can then build your questions around categories such as communications, timeliness, information and so on. 

Some examples might be:

How would you rate the interview process on a scale of 1 to 10? 

(1 – Uber chaotic to 10 – Ran like a well-oiled machine)

I understood what was expected of me at each interview stage (rate on a scale of 1 to 10) 

(1 – I was completely in the dark to 10 – It was crystal clear)

I would recommend this company to peers, friends or family (rate on a scale of 1 to 10)

(1 – Never in a million years to 10 – I absolutely would)

Other survey tips:

  • Aim for no more than eight questions
  • Make it anonymous (this increases your chances of receiving honest answers)
  • Leave an area for comments only after the most important questions (otherwise, it may take too long to answer and you risk not getting a response)
  • Your last question should always be, “Is there anything else you’d like to add?”

3. Nurture the relationship on an ongoing basis

Even though you didn’t select them, there are plenty of ways to show the candidate you still value their skills and the effort they put into the application process. Things such as:

  • Adding them on LinkedIn 
  • Keeping them in the loop about new positions
  • Suggesting they follow your social media channels to keep up to date with upcoming projects (bonus – they may engage with your content!)


We Can Help Ensure You Don’t Close That Unsuccessful Candidate Door

Hopefully these suggestions will help you hone your recruitment process to not only consider unsuccessful candidates, but garner the vital feedback they have about the experience with your company. 

If you’d like some extra support in creating an ideal candidate recruitment process, please get in touch with one of our IT specialist recruiters.


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