Three-quarters of our time is spent listening to complaints.

As a recruitment agency, we are often told: “I applied for this job and didn’t hear anything back.” How do you tell a struggling student that we cannot help them? Our role in the employment process is to connect potential employee to employer. Anything else is beyond our capabilities, and any problems that arise are not for us to solve. However, this is a problem that should, and can, be solved.

Applying for jobs has become a rat race. People who are actively seeking work tend to apply for jobs en masse. Popular job categories, such as HR recruitment, receive dozens of applications. As employment opportunities arise and fresh graduates break out into the working world, that number is only going to increase.

Capability, education and resilience are qualities that increase yearly, every decade pushing out a crop of bright young people smarter than the generation before. These are being demoralised and let down far before getting a foot in the door for an interview.

Paradoxically, these same complaints also come to us from the companies that are doing the hiring. It’s very common for companies to favour one particular candidate who performs well. Communication flows on both sides; the company extends a job offer and the candidate stops responding, ultimately never getting back to them and leaving HR to look for someone else. Both are in the wrong.

Candidates who feel respected make better workers. Companies that reach out through constructive feedback gain respect

It is evident that candidates are mimicking behaviour they have become attuned to and now believe this is the appropriate response to any offer which does not meet their standards. There is no opportunity for conversation when dialogue is suspended. However, hiring managers who open a job posting up to the masses and respond only to a few has fostered this environment of stalled connection.

Is there a solution?Wading through thousands of CVs from interested candidates who do not meet the company’s standards or don’t have the experience is hardly the most productive use of any hiring manager’s time. To that, there are  simple solutions, whether it’s putting a cap on accepted applications or extending a job offer only to a select group of curated people. By limiting the reach of a job, you limit the candidates available for the position. However, you foster better behaviour and greater respect on both sides of the employment sector.

Candidates who feel respected make better workers. Companies that reach out through constructive feedback gain respect from those candidates who weren’t suitable this time round but who might be perfect for the next role. Ultimately, respect both on the part of candidates and employers shouldn’t be unexpected; it should become the new reality of the employment sector.

How do you make this happen? Answer all candidates, even those who are unsuitable. Give your feedback to a recruitment agency. It might be less personal, but at least it answers the question, “Why didn’t I hear back?” and cuts down on that dreaded employment-employer radio silence.

Jean Schaak is managing director of Egg Recruitment.


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