Respecting applicants – Sunscreen for recruiters

Remember Baz Luhrmann’s spoken word spoken word version of the essay ‘Advice, like Youth, probably just wasted on the young’?

Ladies and Gentlemen of the class of ’97

Wear sunscreen.

If I could offer you only one tip for the future,

sunscreen would be it.

I do feel I need to paraphrase it:

Ladies and Gentlemen in recruiting in 2017

Respect applicants.

If I could offer you only one tip for the future,

Respect would be it (and the use of Tech to eliminate any excuse for a lack of respect).

Why? Recently this letter crossed my path on LinkedIn:


I don’t want to judge whether this is a real story or a case of fake news. In any case it neatly tied in with a conversation I had earlier that day with an experienced HR director who for the first time in years was in the market for a new job. “Only 30% of companies reply to my application”, she told me with disbelief.

As I scrolled down for the comments, I noticed that they were a mix a disbelief, jokes and shock – exactly what one would expect. However not one of the commentators reflected on the potential cause for this applicant’s approach – and for the remark made by the experienced HR director.

Almost for as long as I can remember jobseekers complain about experiencing a lack of respect and ethics from a large part of companies and therefore HR people. A lack revealing itself in not replying to applications, not giving feedback, a long time-to-hire (in Europe this still tends to take about 90 days!), etcetera.

Isn’t it time that HR shakes off this regretful legacy, this ‘habit’, and shows more respect to applicants?

I am not only saying this because it is the right thing to do.

It is also a fact that people no longer accept such behavior – most rightfully so in my opinion.

On top of that, there really are no more excuses today. There is an abundance of technology in the HR Tech market to manage hiring and communication in an affordable way. The time where Excel was the most used HR Tech tool in HR surely belongs to history.

Moreover, as an HR Tech entrepreneur who closely monitors what’s happening in HR Tech I know for a fact that there is ample technology available to speed up the process, keep track of the applicants and objectively judge and provide feedback to their applications.

In other words: the technology is available to help you do away with any practical excuses you might have for not showing respect towards applicants.

Unless you are basically an a**hole, in which case I think you should look for another job. Let’s see how you experience the jobhunt…

Ben greeven