Candidate Experience – a Threat to Boomerang Talent?

Boomerang talent – the re-recruiting of former employees – is a “crucial component of talent acquisition and talent management in today’s job-hopping environment.” So says Angela Hills, Cielo Executive Vice President and Managing Director – North America.

Recent research published by Hay Group states that more than 49 million more employees will leave their jobs in 2018 than in 2012. As voluntary turnover continues to spike, organizations are looking for new ways to not only stem the tide of “employee churn,” but re-recruit former high-performing employees.

As Angela explains, the benefits are undeniable: former employees are proven resources, already familiar with culture, require less training (and, thus, fewer costly onboarding resources) and tend to have much higher retention rates. If they leave an organization with only positive thoughts and experiences, boomerang talent may be a resource ready to be tapped. But, if they leave with a less-than-memorable applicant experience, communication issues and questions about trust or accountability, they may also be an organization’s greatest threat to talent acquisition – not only not willing to return, but steering other talent away from an employer.

Although many things factor into an employee’s duration with a company, recruiters can do their part to make certain boomerang talent is a competitive advantage opportunity and not a liability. It hinges on service excellence.

The Candidate Black Hole 
CareerBuilder recently conducted a study to pinpoint “best-of-breed” practices in communicating with job seekers. Featuring feedback from more than one million respondents, the survey highlighted a tremendous disconnect between reality and expectation. 82% of applicants expect to be communicated with regardless of intent to hire, yet only 25% are actually contacted. This 57% gap represents the “black hole” into which candidates feel they are drowning when never contacted.


As organizations and recruiters well know, poor applicant experience can drastically damage employer brand. It can also harm market share – particularly for consumer brands whose applicants are likely customers. In fact, 32% of respondents to the CareerBuilder survey say they actively avoid purchasing from a company that fails to communicate something as simple as “We have received your application – thanks!” Poor experience does indeed include candidates who accept a job offer and become part of the organization, in addition to those who eventually leave. No professional forgets their experience with the job-seeking process – with social media, job review websites and word of mouth, reach is quite literally endless.

As Recruiters, Be an Asset – Not a Liability 
From talent acquisition to talent management, here are 3 simple ways recruiters can ensure dedicated service excellence and positive experiences:

Responsiveness is the Ultimate. Eric Schmidt, Executive Chairman of Google and author of new book, How Google Works, shared the No. 1 email habit for most effective people.“Respond quickly: There are people who can be relied upon to respond promptly to emails, and those who can’t. Strive to be one of the former. Most of the best – and busiest – people we know act quickly on their emails, not just to or to a select few senders, but to everyone.”Being responsive reinforces the culture a company or recruiter wishes to establish. Responsiveness builds trust, credibility and accountability.

Poor Writing, Compromised Brand. According to Monster, 75% of surveyed job seekers say they frequently see “grammatical issues and jargon” in job ads and on company websites. Worse, 57% say this turns them away from applying for a role. As a recruiter, whether you have a hand in writing job ads or strictly promote them via your social channels, make sure to proof all social posts and the material you are posting. The No. 1 thing that damages job seekers’ opinions of a brand on social media: “poor spelling or grammar” (Disruptive Communications). Don’t let your organization or your personal brand become a statistic.

Bridge the Disconnect Between Recruiters and Hiring Managers. According ERE’s 2014 State of Recruiting study, 1,300 surveyed hiring managers gave their organization’s recruitment function a C+ grade. When asked why, four of the top-five answers given had to do with a communication disconnect between hiring managers and recruiters. At a recent roundtable held by Cielo, organizations in attendance agreed that effective talent acquisition and talent management hinges on hiring manager education. Though not solely a recruiter’s responsibility, savvy recruiters leverage their expertise, the data in front of them and past experiences to educate hiring managers on the importance of certain strategies, improve communication and become a trusted partner.

Recruiters represent their organizations as brand ambassadors, customer service representatives, truth seekers and talent identifiers. Whether talent comes, stays, leaves or returns/boomerangs, continue helping your organization rise above through your dedication to service excellence.

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