Although a common question, the actions that proceed are variable. Usually seen as the way we treat customers, it’s surprisingly how many believe the term to only have relevance where a financial transaction is involved. In my years of experience, I strongly believe that customer service is everywhere you look within the workplace. It’s demonstrated in the way you answer internal phone calls, communicate with management and seek out assistance from colleagues.
The job search process itself leaves a lot to be desired in the way that customer service is provided by both parties involved. This week, I’d like to share my thoughts on how Candidates and Hiring Managers can better instil customer service in their search for the perfect job / employee.
Know the difference between following up and stalking. Maintaining a courteous and professional presence in an interview is a no brainer, however it’s the communication exchange post interview that can make or break opportunity. Upon conclusion of your interview, ask the interviewer when you can expect to receive feedback about your involvement in the recruitment process, then wait. It’s safe to assume that you were not the only candidate interviewed and therefore the decision process moving forward is likely to require additional time that may not have been initially accounted for. Be patient and if you’re left waiting for a response, try emailing the interviewer in the first instance (hint: use spell check).
Respect the position your prospective employer is in with regards to providing you with job application specific feedback. A common response from interviewers is that ‘we had a large applicant response and have selected a candidate who best fits the skills this position requires’. Yes, it’s a vague statement but employers are limited to how much feedback they can provide under employment legislation. With the use of technology, more applicants are applying for jobs than ever before, so if you didn’t receive an invite to be interviewed, it is likely that your rèsumè didn’t match the skill requirements sought by the employer. This isn’t a bad thing; nobody likes to be set up to fail. Still looking for an answer? Seek an independent perspective from a Career Coach.
Under promise, over deliver. You may be keen to move quickly through the recruitment process, but as with any workplace, priorities change. Most recruitment processes require varying degrees of involvement from the conclusion of interviews, to a panel debrief and contacting referees can be time consuming. Interviewing Susie on a Monday and telling her she will know the outcome of her interview by Wednesday, is not going to do you any favours. Allow yourself enough time to complete all tasks involved and communicate the process and estimated time frames to the candidate. Be realistic about the candidate feedback window and on Thursday you won’t find a flurry of voicemails from Susie wondering how her application went. Of course, contacting the candidate earlier than anticipated is a welcome surprise and demonstrates your commitment to the recruitment process.
Provide closure because nobody likes baggage. The candidate you have considered unsuccessful today, may be suited to your business in a different capacity tomorrow. It makes good business sense to inform every applicant that their application has been attended to and determined unsuccessful. Lack of communication is the biggest gripe I’ve come across with my work as a Career Coach and failure to provide closure doesn’t only affect the candidate, but also their perception of your wider business. Treat candidates the way you expected to be treated as an employer.
The job application process is a customer service transaction – an exchange of communication between two parties that can lead to a successful hire or a widespread dent in your reputation. What would you rather?
Elena Di Fiore
Principal HR Consultant
HR Management Consulting