Improve your candidate experience, even when you can't help them

Improve your candidate experience, even when you can't help themWe’re covering the candidate experience this month on the COATS blog: how to improve the service you offer to your candidates and attract stronger candidates in the process. This post and the previous one deal with handling the potential negative outcomes that can come in the people business.

Sometimes, you do everything you can to find a match for a candidate, but it doesn’t happen. Maybe they have a great attitude and professional demeanor but not enough experience; maybe they have the opposite situation; maybe they have a criminal background or maybe there just aren’t jobs available right now.

These situations don’t just cause distress among candidates; placement specialists get depressed by them, too. But there are a few things you can do to help unmatchable candidates. Trying these tactics will not only help your candidates and placement personnel feel better, they’ll give candidates an excellent impression of your company.

When they don’t have enough experience: You can help them by offering training. Some training can be offered at your location in the form of a seminar (such as banquet server training). Some can be offered online, through a testing and tutoring software company. You can also look into partnerships with local community colleges or trade schools to offer training for job candidates.

When they don’t have a professional demeanor: You can help them by offering a different kind of training. Offering regular classes in interviewing, resumes and dressing for success not only shows that you care about candidates; it improves the candidates you already have so they can land better assignments.

When they have a criminal background: If your client has policies that prevent them from hiring applicants with a criminal background, there are still some actions that can help. One easy possibility is to suggest other staffing companies that are more likely to hire applicants with a criminal background. Another possibility is to suggest an ex-offender re-entry program. Many areas have partnerships to provide mentorship, job training and other forms of support; search for “ex-offender re-entry” and your state or locality to see if such a program is available nearby.

When there just aren’t jobs: This one hurts the most, because it affects us as much as it does our candidates. First, express genuine sympathy that there’s nothing to offer them right now, and let them know that your job orders are client-driven. You can also have a sheet of information or a collection of brochures for sources of interim help: medical care, child care, transportation, counseling, etc. Your state’s department of human services is a good place to start to find these resources.

What kinds of situations have you encountered when you just couldn’t help an applicant, and what actions have you taken? Let us know in the comments!

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