One of my favorite Aretha Franklin songs is Respect. “R-E-S-P-E-C-T, find out what it means to me” is a line that so many of us have happily sung along to! It’s also something all of us want – respect. Think about a time when someone showed you real respect. I guarantee that memory made you smile. Now, think about a time when someone disrespected you. They didn’t take into consideration how their actions affected you, maybe your feelings were hurt, maybe they made you mad. I bet that smile dropped away quickly!

What does this have to do with recruiting, you ask? Everything!

The way we leave candidates feeling after they interview with us (yes – both of us!) is more important than we realize, and it can’t be talked about enough.

As you can imagine, I speak with a lot of people every day. I can’t tell you how many candidates tell me about companies they’ve interviewed with that never got back with them. Never! Think about that! I mean really, think about that. What kind of impression has that recruiter made on that candidate? Do you think that candidate is still a customer of that company? And, you know, this is happening at all levels. Even the SVP level.

It blows me away every time. So, why is this happening so much?

It’s simple. We’ve lost the notion of respect.

No one wants to give bad news. Right? It’s hard to tell someone that they aren’t getting the job. It’s even harder to tell them why they aren’t getting the job. But, it’s so important to remember the Golden Rule: treat candidates the way you would want to be treated!

In today’s recruiting environment, candidates hold more power than they used to. Unemployment is at an all-time low. The candidate experience affects how they think of your company and whether they will purchase anything from you again. We all know what an unhappy customer will say about us. Unhappy candidates can do even more damage.

As recruiters, we can make or break our company’s and client’s reputation by the way we conduct ourselves every time we interact with a candidate. It’s helpful to establish a clear plan of communication for the interview process and explain it to everyone you interview. Let them know what the steps are and when they can expect to hear back from you. It’s ok to develop a simple email template that thanks the candidate for their time and lets them down easily. But a phone call will go a long way.

With only 7% of job candidates reporting they receive phone calls after an interview, you can make a lasting impression on candidates by picking up the phone. Sure, it may take five more minutes of your time, but by showing your candidates you respect their time and their feelings, you will make a difference. Your actions will leave a much better taste in their mouth and a keep them as a customer. It will also keep you from getting a bad review on Glassdoor. 35% of job seekers say that a negative review on Glassdoor or in the news would keep them from applying. To keep the best applicants coming, it’s in your best interest to commit to proper and considerate communication in the hiring process.

R-E-S-P-E-C-T, it goes a long way! You can make the difference!