The Golden Rule applies to hiring organizations, recruiters, and hiring managers. You’ve been on the other side of the table too, so you know how it feels. Treat applicants as you would want to be treated in the same situation. I believe interviews are a test of the Golden Rule’s role reversal requirement just as much as they are a test of a person’s ability to “fit in” and be competent.
To make the role reversal easier, the rules here are phrased from the Job Candidate Perspective.
1. Please let me know if you are, or are not, interested.
If you have made a decision to not hire a candidate—even if you haven’t found one to hire yet—please let that person know. Many candidates make the mistake of placing hope on one or two roles. Or perhaps your firm is the place they have always wanted to work. Don’t drag it out or play coy. Return their calls or emails promptly.
If you know you won’t hire them before they leave the office, you should just tell them as it saves time for everyone. While I wouldn’t say it this way to a candidate, it is best to let them get on with their job hunt instead of hoping you’re still interested.
Of course, if you are interested in the candidate, then make it clear they will go to the next stage as soon as you know. That could be at the end of the interview or by phone a couple of days later.
In the past year, an experienced marketing VP was recruiting me for a key role. I had heard of her before and respected her work and was keen to get to know her. I met with her team and then with her. There was a time constraint because of their change of times and she said she’d “Like to continue the conversation in the next couple of days.” The HR manager also said something similar. In my mind, I thought they were professionals who were actually interested. It turns out I heard nothing from them at all. Not even an acknowledgement of my thank you notes. Will I be inclined to work with, or for, these people again? Nope.
Treat people the way you would like to be treated – you were once a less experienced candidate looking for a role, and you likely wanted to hear a “Yes” or a “No” instead of deafening, unhelpful silence. So please do the same for candidates for positions you’ve opened up.
2. Please let me know your final decision as soon as possible.
Please keep me informed if your budget or process is delayed for some reason. I have a life and need a job, so don’t keep me hanging. That is not nice. And it stains your brand. It also makes me wonder what kind of firm or manager you are.
Think about this. I know someone who has been underemployed for months who was ecstatic at hearing about a forthcoming offer. It’s been a month since she heard about it. Where is the offer? Dragging out the process with no expectations management is not a good way to gain the trust of new employees who are losing revenue each day. I know there is often a “process,” which can also be sped up. Would you want a firm to do that for you?
3. Never send me a useless form letter that has no feedback.
I realize that the recruiting process is challenging because of laws and lawsuits that force people to use euphemisms and coded language for situations or skills. Instead of being candid, employers are afraid such feedback will imply they are racist, sexist, ageist, etc…
I have asked for feedback when I thought I would receive an honest answer. Feedback does help me understand the recruiting process better as much as it does to help me improve my presentation next time.
Even if you think I am “not the right fit,” do you really want me unemployed, on the street, and begging? Feedback will help avoid that.
4. Do not send me a LinkedIn inMail with the intention of not replying after I reply to you.
In the past two years, I’ve received several job inquiries a month. Usually I respond because I am responsive as well as curious about opportunities. (I also like to practice my pitch regularly to be ready to wow recruiters at all times).
When I respond, I answer their questions or ask for more detail. If it seems that we want to consider each other, then I send my resume. Sometimes I never hear back.
That’s rude. Period. If you find me through a search because I took the time to do my SEO and hone my profile to catch your attention, then I expect you are serious about a first phone call.
Don’t waste my time or get me excited unless you plan to be up front when you decide I am not the right candidate. Just tell me the truth and I will accept it…or try to sell you on why I am the right candidate. If you never provide feedback, then I can’t get better.
By not treating me the way you would want to be treated in the same situation creates a tit-for-tat dynamic. Maybe it is not obvious at first, but it is to me as the candidate. If never hear back from a recruiter who contacted me, I am likely to think the recruiter and their firm are not very nice people. I wouldn’t want to work for, or with, them. So when I am that hotshot executive with a need for your services, which talent agency will I call? The firm that had a conversation with me? Or the firm that never called back?
5. Offer referrals to other firms
If you decide the candidate is not a good match for your organization, can you help them connect with a firm that might be a better fit? Most people believe it is the candidate’s role to ask for this, but I suspect most hiring managers would never answer that question. Why not just help the person out and be the remarkable manager that helps someone out even if it doesn’t mean hiring him.
Remember, you are a candidate at many points in your career–likely dozens of times. Remember to treat candidates the way would like to be treated in the same situation.
Image: flickr bpsusf