What happens when TA professionals apply for jobs? Here’s what we found.

A few months back, I wrote an article about my job-hunting experience as a real candidate and it is the most-read article on the ATC blog for 2019. This is a follow up to further demonstrate how far we have to go with candidate experience, not only from my perspective, but from another Talent Acquisition professional, Pavi Iyer, who is currently looking for new opportunities.

Here is Pavi’s experience:

Company A – Global Pharmaceutical Company

Had a phone screen and a first interview within a week of each other for a TA role.

Interview was back in the first week of November and contacted them about three weeks after the interview asking for an update or any progress.

Yet to hear back from anyone!

Company B – Successful Startup

Reached out about a TA Manager role. Turned out it was actually a low-mid level role in terms of scope and $$. They re-advertised it after Pavi let them know it wasn’t what she was looking for.

Thought it was all done. They called back about two months later saying there is a TA Manager role and Pavi asked about the scope again and reminded them where they had left it last time.

They said that is fine and said this role is new and would be a good fit. Ended the phone call with a “I’ll call you back once I have set up a timing with the directors”.

That was almost two months ago!

Company C – Global MNC

Pavi’s resume was sent to a global company as a referral for a TA Projects role. Pretty much doing ATS rollout and other TA projects.

They said “that’s great, we love your experience and skillset, please send through your details and we will call you today about the role”.

Pavi then sent through her details and availabilities for the day and even the next day. That was on 5th November – never heard from them again.

Even the referral was surprised they have been so unresponsive when they were the one who made the first attempt at contact.

Company D – Massive Australian brand

Interviewed Pavi about a TA Change Management role. Interview went well and they said they have more people to interview and come back within the next week.

They didn’t come back after two-three weeks, so Pavi emailed them and they said she wasn’t suitable.

Which was fine, but when asked for feedback, she was given a stock standard reject answer that basically alluded to her not having TA project experience.

They obviously forgot her interview and were trying to quickly cover the fact. They did apologise with the promise of reconsidering my application.

Surprisingly, she did get a call back, which was great! But followed up with “unsuccessful for the role as they had met someone with more experience, and moving forward with the preferred candidate”.

That was fine until two hours later, when she noticed the role was advertised online to our network as an open vacancy. Obviously, no preferred candidates then.

Whilst Pavi has not identified companies, the examples above are from those claiming to have good candidate experiences, which is even more disappointing.

Here is my experience:

Company A – Big 4 Accounting Firm

TA role advertised on LinkedIn and attempted to apply. Page did not exist.

Role not advertised on company career site either.

Reached out to network who works there and informed them of the issue. Clarified role level and withdrew.

If I didn’t have a contact there, how frustrating for the applicant.

Company B – Professional Services Firm (Engineering)

As above, TA role advertised on LinkedIn and clicked apply. Page did not exist.

Then went to career site to search for the vacancy using the Job ID. Position could not be found.

Reached out to my contact and emailed them directly my resume.

Again, if I was a candidate with no contact there, yet another poor candidate experience.

Company C – Mining Services (Mineral Resources)

Applied and interviewed for a Recruitment Manager role with GM People and Recruiter. Feedback was positive and they wanted to progress. A few days later advised restructure announced and will put role on hold.

About a week later receive an email from recruiter advising role is now GM Recruitment – White Collar. Expressed my on-going interest and sent through further info to support my application.

Was advised I was unsuccessful because I had limited business planning and commercial experience. This was not discussed during interview and requested an opportunity to demonstrate. Declined.

When recruiter called, he informed me he had no feedback, then fumbled his way trying to make up things as I wanted to understand what gaps there were in my application. Should have just stuck to the ‘no feedback’ line.

Company D – Amazon

Several positions in TA advertised via LinkedIn to which I have applied over a month ago. Roles have been re-advertised.

Apart from the automated acceptance email there has been no further correspondence. It has been over a month now.

Company E – SEEK

Applied to role at SEEK. Notified my contact there who acknowledged receipt and wanted to arrange a time to chat about the role.

1 month later and I haven’t heard anything.

So, what do you do with all this feedback? Here are a few suggestions:

  1. Make sure your ads are posted correctly once they are live. It is a poor candidate experience clicking Apply and being taken to a “Page Not Found”.
  2. Set reasonable time frames for call backs and make sure you call back. This is not a difficult thing to do.
  3. If you don’t have good constructive feedback, simply inform the individual you have a preferred candidate and unable to provide further info. Both Pavi and I have received feedback which we then challenged as it was either discussed (Pavi) or not discussed (me) during interview.
  4. If the process is taking longer than usual, a short email informing applicants that things are taking a bit longer than usual and you will get back to them in X amount of time.
  5. Treat your referrals and those who have referred with more respect or at least be more courteous. Your putting your brand at risk, possibly losing future referrals due to negative candidate experiences.
  6. Get involved with Talent Boards Candidate Experience Benchmarking Survey. This will help you understand your issues so you can start improving the candidate experience.

Is candidate experience really a priority? I have seen it listed in countless ads, and yet the real experience is sadly the opposite.

Is it expensive to get right? No. Most of it is process or system related. Holding recruiters and ourselves to account to our deliverables. The only way to improve is to measure, review and improve.

So, Talent Acquisition Leaders, what are you going to do about it?

Cover image: Shutterstock

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