Helping Clients Survive the Recruitment Experience

By Laurie Neave.

Pre-interview – clients report suffering from stomach ache, sleepless nights, fear, excitement, and exhaustion. Do these things sound familiar?

Post-interview – “the blues”, emotional swings, crankiness, sleeplessness, sadness, anxiety, and nausea may follow an interview experience. Have you had clients describe these things to you?

Believe it or not, there is actually something worse than anything listed above…that is not hearing back from the recruiter or hiring manager!

As career practitioners, we’ve all witnessed the devastating fallout on clients when they do not receive a response from a potential employer. Heck, we’ve all probably experienced it first hand. In my own job search, I have had a front row seat to the behaviour of hiring officials.

First, after submitting a strong, strategically targeted résumé, there is the excitement and anticipation of a potential interview. We wait, and wait – then, no response.

If we’re lucky, we get a phone interview and/or a face-to-face interview. Many people I’ve talked to are sometimes physically ill with anxiety before an interview. They pull themselves together, get through the interview, and then feel the exhilaration that follows when they think they may have a chance to move on to the “next step” in the hiring process. Then, WHAMMO! – no response.

As job hunters, we beat ourselves up, question our skills and competencies, or think “Gee, what did I do wrong?” Perhaps, instead, we should be thinking, “Hmmm…I did everything right. What happened? Why has the company behaved this way?”

From personal experience and in speaking with many job seekers, only about 5% of recruiters or hiring managers respond back to the candidates who are not chosen for the position they applied for.

We all know how disrespectful this is to the candidate, but perhaps we, as career practitioners, can help our clients achieve a different outcome simply by coaching and preparing them in advance of an interview.

Here are 5 simple tips we can pass on to our clients to help them survive the recruitment process:

  1. It’s important to send a thank you note immediately following the interview. The note should include the line; “I look forward to hearing from you on next steps.” Asking for a response creates a level of accountability that the recruiter or hiring manager hopefully feels obligated to fulfill.
  2. When the recruiter asks, “Do you have any questions for me?” don’t be afraid to say, “Tell me about next steps in the hiring process”, or “When will you be making a decision, and when can I expect to hear from you?” Gain a clear commitment from the interviewer on “when” and “how.” It’s also okay to let the recruiter know – “I am really excited about this opportunity, and would appreciate a call-back or an email on status as I am looking at other positions.” This statement reinforces interest in the job, and also lets the recruiter know that, from your perspective, the hiring decision is time-sensitive. There are a variety of polite and professional ways to ask directly for the information you want.
  3. If you do not hear back after a reasonable amount of time has passed, reach out and contact the recruiter or the hiring manager. It may be the case that the original hiring official has left the company, or perhaps the hiring process has been put on hold, but, whatever the situation, you deserve to know the reason behind the lack of contact.
  4. If you weren’t the successful candidate, you’ll likely want to know, “Why? What could I have done better? What was I missing?” If you are working through a recruitment firm, ask if you can obtain feedback from the interview – you may be surprised at how many hiring managers/recruiters welcome the opportunity to share their observations. If you actually had a face-to-face meeting with a hiring manager, chances are you were short-listed and the hiring manager may be interested in speaking with you directly. There is no harm in asking. The feedback obtained provides useful information that can form the basis of further coaching and guidance from your career practitioner.
  5. Move on – You may have a difficult time accepting the fact that you weren’t the right fit for the role – especially if you weren’t actually told that directly. Your career practitioner can help you review what worked – and what didn’t – during the interview process. He or she will listen, consult, and offer encouragement and advice on strategies to enable a successful outcome in the future.

If you’re reading this, and you are a recruiter or a hiring manager, remember that it only takes a minute or two to respond back to a candidate. Failure to do so damages the brand of your company in the eyes of potential new hires, and may have a trickle-down effect on your customers, as well. Job seekers often tell their stories  – over and over – which can tarnish the reputation of your organization.

For those companies who DO make a point of respecting all job applicants (both successful and unsuccessful) by ensuring responses are provided – kudos to you! Your firms are the ones we’d all be proud to work for. In addition, we’ll be inclined to recommend your products and services to friends, family members, and clients – even if we weren’t the candidate you selected to fill the job.

Photo by Nik Shuliahin on Unsplash

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