Golden Rule of Recruiting: Treat Your Recruits Like Customers

Golden Rule of Recruiting: Treat Your Recruits Like Customers

The Golden Rule is, in summary, do unto others as you would have them do onto you. Yet, it seems to be missing from the recruitment practices of most HR departments, which leaves some experts shaking their heads.

As any grade school child can tell us, that rule simply urges us to treat others as we would like to be treated ourselves. So, why are we behaving as if job seekers are persona non grata in our organizations? I’ve heard all of the rationalizations, but frankly, they simply aren’t compelling. Usually they are a version of one of the two following themes: in tough economic times, there are simply too many applicants, and in good economic times, there are simply too many openings for recruiters to communicate with those who would like to work for their employer.

Weddles writes, “… the real reason prospective employers mistreat candidates: their recruiting functions are not staffed to do the work they should. While that’s an unfortunate reality in far too many organizations, it is not a justification for such behavior.”

He offers basic suggestions (using technology) that can make applicants feel like they are not submitting applications into a black hole. Auto-responding emails are an effective tool not just because the applicants get a response of some kind but it also affords an organization the opportunity to promote its employment brand.

“Manage the expectations of job seekers by being honest about your limitations. Use your corporate career site to tell them, right up front, what you cannot do and why,” Weddles said. He added that while it isn’t possible to reply to every applicant’s question, human resources department could compile the most common questions and create a frequently asked question section (with answers, of course) on the corporate career site.

Mark Swartz, a Canadian workplace specialist, writes at (the of the Great White North), “The way I see it, there’s an awful lot of sadists among employers and HR professionals. There has to be if you look at how they too often treat job seekers during the hiring process.

“It starts with not bothering to accurately describe the job that’s being advertised. You can see shivers of delight as the person involved in hiring rubs their hands gleefully and cackles. Oh, how good it feels to deceive job seekers with inflated position postings that make a $35,000 a year Administrative Assistant’s role sound like Vice President of The World.”

Recruiters also need to keep in mind that a recruit today might be a future customer of the company if not hired. “The way you treat them as job seekers will impact their regard for you when they go to make purchases or recommend you to their friends. That alone should have you putting away your whips and chains at hiring time,” Swartz says.

“It doesn’t take extraordinary effort to engage job seekers throughout the hiring process. Just follow the golden rule. Unless, of course, you truly are a masochist, which means you actually enjoy being treated shabbily. If this is the case, please consider the alternative golden rule: do unto others respectfully, not uncaringly, when recruiting,” he adds.

Weddles knows it’s tough to be a recruiter. “There are never enough arms and legs in today’s staffing organizations to do everything we know we should in dealing with candidates,” he writes.

But, he counsels, “That reality, however, does not mean that we don’t have ways to set our employer apart among top prospects. Ironically, one of the most effective strategies is to use technology to implement a practice most of us learned in grade school. Treating candidates as we would like to be treated not only makes you popular on the playground, it also helps make your organization’s employment brand very hard to resist.”


By Keith Griffin


By | 2017-05-12T13:49:11+00:00 March 1st, 2014|