The Critical Mistake Recruiters Consistently Make

June 10, 2015

Employer branding is a big deal today, with 56 percent of global talent leaders saying it’s a top priority at their company and 75 percent saying their company’s employer brand has a significant impact on their ability to hire great people.

To improve it, companies are investing in their employer pages, creating content that promotes how great it is to work for them and encourage their employees to share on social what its like working at their organization.

And yet, there's one mistake that many recruiters are making that undermines all this work. That mistake is forgoing one simple thing: the follow-up email.

The problem

In our 2015 Talent Trends survey, we found that nearly every candidate wants to hear from employers when they apply for a job. And if they get an interview and don’t get the job, they want to hear feedback about why.

94-percent-candidates-want-feedbackAnd yet, recruiters don’t always get back to candidates, and when they do, they rarely provide feedback.


That makes a candidate feel scorned by the company, which means not only will they not apply again, they’ll tell their friends not to apply either. The reverse is true as well.


If a recruiter doesn’t provide feedback, it’s devastating for a company’s employer brand, as half of all professionals will ask their friends and colleagues about a company before applying. If they get a negative response, they likely won’t apply.50-percent-professionals-go-to-friends

The solution

The solution is simple – provide feedback to candidates in a productive way. And it doesn’t have to be on the phone, either. Sometimes candidates even prefer email.65-percent-candidates-bad-news-in-email

The key to this constructive criticism is to show them a route to success. Tell them specifics – gain more experience in a particular field, get a better grasp of strategy, etc. – and encourage them to follow your company on LinkedIn for future opportunities.


A single job post can easily generate over 200 applications, which means at least 199 people won’t get the job. If you annoy or offend those people and they tell their networks, imagine the exponential devastation that can have on your employer brand.

The key to avoiding this is to dismiss the idea that hiring is a zero-sum game where one person wins and everyone else loses. Instead, hiring offers you a rare opportunity to build relationships with several great candidates and keep them interested for a future position.

By adopting that mindset and providing clear action items for how the top talent that didn’t make it can eventually join your company, you’ll start building a following. Not only will that help you recruit them in the future, it will help you recruit their friends and colleagues as well. This effort goes a long way to improving your employer brand.

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