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Avoid Recruiting Fails and Reach the Best Gen Z and Gen Y Candidates

Today’s near-zero unemployment job market combined with social media turns anecdotal recruiting mistakes into #recruitingfails. It’s a candidate’s market and they have multiple platforms to broadcast their experiences, good and bad. It can make being a recruiter, especially when it comes to promoting a positive employer brand, more challenging than ever. It also holds each and every one of us accountable for our mistakes, small or large.

Recruiting Fails Candidate Outreach

You’ve heard the horror stories that seem to plague the media. A company reaches out to a candidate, they respond angrily and upset about the way they were treated, injustices, or the length of the hiring and selection process for the job seeker. Those frustrations are often a challenge because of the economy, tight talent market, and the increased use of social media and email to engage candidates. Add into all these complexities technology, companies are being more aggressive in their outreach efforts making it more likely the employer will drop the ball so to speak and ghost the candidate.

A quick search for #recruitingfail on Twitter returns (besides sports recruiting tweets) candidates tweeting about inappropriate interactions with recruiters, sharing screenshots of really terrible recruiting emails, LinkedIn exchanges, and commentary on tone-deaf job descriptions. There are also numerous job groups on Facebook, some very large, responding in real-time to articles like this one on LinkedIn. The consensus? Candidates are ghosting recruiters because recruiters spent the recession ghosting candidates. Boom.

It’s a reminder that standards matter, in a tight job market or in a recession. It’s also a reminder that candidates rarely forget being poorly treated. They’ll remember you, they’ll remember your company, they’ll remember exactly what you said or did (or didn’t do) during their job search that created a negative candidate experience.

On Your Game: Recruiting Gen Y and Gen Z Candidates

Since we’re all looking forward to recruiting the next generation of candidates, it’s particularly important to understand who our next-gen candidates are: Millennials or Gen Y are the “always on” generation. Gen Z is the first true generation of digital natives.

Related: How to Compete for the Next Generation Talent Workforce

The People are ‘ghosting’ at work, and it’s driving companies crazy” article on LinkedIn speculates about the reasons for the predominance of recruiting flubs in today’s job market:

Some of the behavior may stem not from malice, but inexperience. Professionals who entered the workforce a decade ago, during the height of the Great Recession, have never encountered a job market this strong. The unemployment rate is at an 18-year low. More open jobs exist than unemployed workers, the first time that’s happened since the Labor Dept. began keeping such records in 2000. The rate of professionals quitting their jobs hit a record level in March; among those who left their companies, almost two thirds voluntarily quit. Presented with multiple opportunities, professionals face a task some have rarely practiced: saying no to jobs.

It’s important to take lessons from the #recruitingfail hashtag on how to improve. Email templates and mass emails are out; personalization is in (at the least, a candidate expects you to have looked at their LinkedIn profile before reaching out to them on LinkedIn). Ignoring candidate emails or phone calls is out, rapid response is in. Standing on the strength of a brand is out, understand that your brand can be impaired by poor social media response is in.

Recruiting Best Practices for Retail and Restaurant Industries

Particularly in the retail and restaurant industries, we must understand that next-gen candidates have more options than we’re accustomed to them having, but also that we should own the fact that we might have not adhered to the best of the best recruiting practices in the years leading up to our current job market. Younger workers are more selective than ever, and they are also less forgiving when a recruiter or employer commits a hiring sin. More important, they often have a large platform on which to broadcast a #recruitingfail.

Companies have an opportunity here: Step up your game and you’ll stand out from the rest of the employer pack that hasn’t caught up or caught on to the new rules. Take the time to personalize responses, for a little candidate hand-holding, for relationship building, for genuine communication to candidates, and those same social platforms can broadcast your amazing candidate experience. This means you’ll not only reach a broad audience of candidates, but you’ll reach the best candidates. A win-win for your brand and for your talent funnel.