How many candidates do you reject? I recently heard a UK company suggest on average 80 candidates per position? Is that too high? The first point is there is talent worth staying connected to within the rejected candidates. There is also potential Talent, further down their career the rejected candidates may will be fantastic hires. But when (if you are respectful enough to bother) you say "thanks, but no thanks" what are the emotions towards your company? Will that candidate ever talk to you again?

We talk about engagement via social media, it is discussed surrounding concepts like Recruitment 3.0, but we commonly ignore the huge value of the rejection touch point.

You have already invested a lot of time, effort and money to attract the candidates. They have shown interest in your company, they have illustrated they would like to work for you. But at this time or for that role, they are not quite right. So what happens - rejection. Due to human emotions such as fear of rejection, the investment to attract this candidate has typically been lost. I know, ATS vendors will cry "No... we save the investment, we bank the candidate into a CV database" - what rubbish, your bank is full of monopoly money!

Sorry but this internal CV database whilst being a good concept, is typically a completely wasted resource and worthless asset. Does the CV in your database reflect the skills of that candidate today? No it is old and out of date, so it is only worthy to anyone else hiring similar roles within a max of 6 months, assuming they can be bothered to look at it. Perhaps more importantly, that candidate probably does not like your company anymore and would opt to work for the Inland Revenue (or IRS) given the choice.

I am sure everyone agrees, this is a shameful waste of investment, buy 80 candidates and  use 1 of them! So instead of throwing away the other 79 lets embrace green policy, lets recycle the 79. Lets build an army of employer brand promoters, lets keep connected and when those unsuitable today are suitable lets make some hires too!

A different firm , who are B2C, recently suggested to me they reject 1 million candidates a year, just in the UK! How does rejecting 1m potential consumers a year affect sales performance?

What if those 1 million became your brand promoters? What would that word of mouth or word on social networks look like? How would it affect your recruitment strategy and your companies sales performance?

What if they were all in your talent community, engaging with you and each other, promoting your company instead of sitting stagnant adding zero value in some ATS candidate database?

How can you turn those 1m into promoters not demoters? Get this one touch point right and it will be like igniting TNT in your social / mobile recruiting!

In Matt Jefferys post on Recruitment 3.0 he highlights recruiters should adopt more skills from the Marketeers and PR side of the company. I agree with this, but it need some solid metrics.

Too Much of brand marketing is tough to measure, as the then Viacom President once said to Google founders "that's the magic"! This meant advertising can be over priced compared to value it actually delivers because no one can measure the actual value!

We don't need more of that kind of "magic" in recruitment!

Instead we should borrow a metric that came out of 20 years of CRM research by Fred Reichheld - the Killer Question also know as NPS (the Net Promoter Score).

Really briefly the Killer Question is "How likely would you be to recommended this company?" The answer is 1-10, with 10 being most likely. If an answer is 8,9 or 10 the individual is a promoter (a brand advocate), if the answer is less they are unlikely to promote you. If the answer is 5 or less the individual is a demoter.

This metric has huge research surrounding it and many firms who use this at board level. Companies like Apple have good positive NPS 40% or higher and these companies display great performance. Others suffer a negative NPS and illustrate not so great performance.

Recruitment 3.0 should embrace NPS. Every rejected candidate should be asked this question a week after rejection. I bet today those 1 million reject candidates are all demoters - they would score well under 5! But with some TLC and some innovation they could become promoters! Implementing an NPS survey provides an almost realtime metric to illustrate if your efforts and innovations are having the effect you intended.

It is pretty simple at a high level, as always the devil is in the detail. You need to:

  • provide value and support to the rejected candidate
  • a channel to stay connected (obviously I believe Mobile Web / Apps is a tactic to this strategy)
  • on going conversation

So what are you going to do to ignite the TNT? How can you make that rejection touch point deliver you a return!

AuthorDave Martin