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Reminder: A Job Candidate's Time Matters, Too

Putting prospective employees through interview hell will hurt you in the long run.
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Competitive positions and due dilligence require a thorough recruiting, interviewing, vetting, and hiring processes. And there's plenty of room for innovation in how companies go about all of them. But it's still important to remember to respect your candidates' time.

The reminder seems one worth making in light of an article on Gawker last week, citing a post on the Ask a Manager blog, detailing the insane interviewing practices of international charity Operation Smile.

The abridged version goes something like this: After two phone interviews, candidates are asked to fly themselves to the nonprofit's headquarters, where they would spend more than 12 hours between five interviews, and then an odd take on a shared interview with candidates, which involved cooking the interviewers dinner. All this, for an entry level job that pays less than $25,000 per year.

The Candidate Experience

If you have candidates banging down the door to get to your company, sure, you can think about your interview process. Operation Smile seemed to think so, telling Gawker that the willingness of candidates to undergo the interview process "speaks to the desirability of the position." (More than 400 people applied for Operation Smile positions.)

But if you're going to use such simple business language to consider overly demanding interviews, then you should also be willing to think way down the road. There are a couple of ways a poor candidate experience could ultimately hurt your recruiting processes, regardless of how in-demand a position at your company might be.

First, the obvious: You might wind up with an article on a super-popular blog detailing all the grisly details, which could be enough to scare people away.

That's probably not all that likely, but even if the candidates don't broadcast their horror story to hundreds of thousands, consider the findings from previous research on the candidate experience, highlighted on The Huffington Post. Of candidates who felt negatively about their experience, 22 percent will tell others not to apply at the company, and 9 percent will even tell others to not even purchase products from them.

Here's What You Can Lose 

But the more daunting statistic is this: 42 percent of disgruntled candidates will not apply for a position at the company again. That's a massive opportunity cost to your company, as there's a real chance that you'll never again see a candidate you happened to like a lot but might have been second or third runner-up in your selection process if they felt disrespected by the process.

And it's worth noting that a negative candidate experience isn't just limited to grueling interviews. The HuffPo article also notes that 75 percent of candidates never hear back from a company after sending in an application, which might not be that surprising. But a stunning 60 percent of candidates say they've gone for interviews and never heard back from the company--indicating a widespread disrespect of potential employees' time.

Last updated: Jan 13, 2014




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