I’m writing this because I have something to say that I think all employers need to hear.  I’m disgusted by the way employers are treating candidates.  We all know the market is doing well in the United States.  Oil and Gas continue to struggle, but the technology field is red- hot.  There is more hiring than there has been in years.  Even though there is hiring, employers are still treating candidates like crap.  How do I know?  Why am I writing this?  I have a story to tell.  I want to share with you what I have been witnessing.  I am appalled and you should be too.  Something needs to be said and done.  In 2016, companies and recruiters will ruin their reputation if they aren’t careful.

Is this a new problem?  No, it isn’t.  Candidate experience, however, is paramount now more than ever though.  Social media has changed the rules.  As I am writing this, I know that it will reach people that I never thought imaginable.  Glassdoor and other blogs and forums are out there.  Yelp is very important to small businesses.  Your reputation does matter.  How you treat people does matter.

Maybe I am old school.  Maybe I care about candidate experience more than most.  I believe with all of my heart though, what comes around goes around.  Period.

Over the past six months I have seen the unthinkable happen.  I have seen candidates be treated like cattle.  So, let me give you some specific examples and I’ll let you make up your mind.  Is this acceptable?  I have learned as a contingent and retained recruiter there are some businesses I will not do business with ever again.  No matter how large the potential payday is for me, I will not ruin my reputation and work for assholes.

One day I had a candidate fly in from out of town to meet the CEO, VP Sales and VP HR.  The company refused to have the candidate stay overnight although the company has more money than most organizations.  The candidate requested a nights sleep to feel rested for the interview.  The company refused.

The candidate got up for a red-eye and flew from the East Coast to the West Coast for an interview.  The company even made the candidate book their own travel arrangements.  Upon arrival, the candidate was slated for 4 hours of interviewing.  After 30 minutes, they kicked the candidate out of the office.  Literally.  He was standing in the parking lot with his suit on and sweating profusely.  I was called and asked to pick up the candidate IMMEDIATELY.   The CEO had requested the interviews to be cancelled.  No one had any explanation.

Now, this individual was a seasoned sales person.  He is someone who has run sales teams and has made over 300k, and was consistently over quota.  He knew everyone in the industry. He had phenomenal references.

Let me ask you this.  What in the hell were they thinking?  Of course I called the contacts at the company and they were conveniently unavailable until the next day.   Upon asking what went so horribly wrong THE FOLLOWING DAY to cut the interviews short and pick him up immediately, they replied “he talked too much”.  Really?  Are you going to risk ruining your reputation as a company because your “gut” said he wasn’t the right fit. This individual, mind you, had already gone through 3 rounds of interviews that went extremely well!!  Why fly someone in for a 30 minute interview?

What should have happened?

I’ll tell you.  They should have gone through with the 4 hour interview and left him feeling fantastic about the company.  About 3 years ago I interviewed with a very large company in Seattle.  I knew within the first 10 minutes it wasn’t the right fit, but I left feeling positive about the company and I would recommend to colleagues.

Why?  Why do this if you know it is not the right fit?

You do this because it is the right thing to do and people do talk!!!!  Needless to say, this person put up a horrible Glassdoor review the next day.  I would have done the same!

I had a similar situation with a different organization that was with another seasoned salesperson.  This person had gone through 3 months of interviewing with different key executives throughout the company.  He had outstanding sales records and overachieved his quota consistently.  He was recognized as an expert in his niche field.  This company too made the candidate book their own travel arrangements.

This person was in town for almost 2 full days and the company refused to do anymore than the bare bottom minimum for interviewing.  The candidate wanted to get to know the manager, the culture of the company, the plans for future hiring.  The company wanted nothing of the sort.  He asked to go have dinner with the manager to get to know them better.  The manager refused.

What did I do?  I took this candidate out to dinner.  I gave him the best damn experience I could imagine because it was the right thing to do!  He took time out of his schedule and flew into town and I wanted to take care of him because that is what a good candidate experience looks like.

Candidates in today’s economy want to be “wooed”.  They want to make sure they are making a change for all of the right reasons.  They want to feel important.  I get that.  I’m not talking to junior level people.  I am talking to executives and senior sales people.  Successful sales people.  Winners!  Winners want to work for winning teams.  Do you think that a winner will want to go work for a loosing team with a bunch of jackasses?  Hell no!

Here is what happened.  This person went through the interview process and they politely escorted him out the door.  Thank God!!  But, the 1 Senior level executive who didn’t speak to him gave him a mere 30 minutes and was THE REASON why he wasn’t hired.  Do you know that this executive didn’t even have a copy of the resume?  What an jerk!  How dysfunctional does the company look?

I’ve had it.  It is exhausting.  Help be a solution to the problem and not a part of the problem.  If this is part of your company’s culture, it needs to be changed and changed quickly.

Do the right thing.  Treat the candidate right!