Don't let job applicants wither on the vine

With more than a million young people claiming unemployment benefit in the UK, it's time companies helped get them back into work.

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Last Updated: 15 May 2013

Companies need to begin thinking about how they can help every candidate applying to them; what training, help and advice they can provide in order to create incentivised, enthusiastic and self-empowered potential employees.

Together, we can create systems of training, insight and feedback that ensure every candidate that applies for a position gains value from it, and that every employer has access to brilliant, ever-improving talent.

A strong and agile talent pool should lead to a vibrant economy filled with opportunity and competitiveness, just as a depressed and unmotivated workforce would lead to the exact opposite.

Here are some tips to transform your recruitment process in a way that doesn’t hang applicants out to dry:

1) Always provide feedback and constructive criticism to unsuccessful candidates. It doesn't have to be long, but it does need to be specific (e.g. the candidate hadn't done enough research about the company / didn't seem very motivated / didn't emphasize what they would give to, rather than what they would gain from, the position). This will set the person in better stead for their next interview. 

2) Be open-minded and inclusive in what you're looking for. Excluding candidates just because they don't have a 2:1 from a top-10 university is unnecessarily restrictive for most jobs. Their personality traits may offer your company a lot more than the paper credentials. Academic prowess is no guarantee that a person will be the right fit for the company’s culture.

3) Give people the opportunity to learn and to gain experience, and you'll reap the rewards. The old catch-22: you can't get a job unless you have experience, and you can't get experience until you have a job. But if a company invests in the right kind of person - rather than someone with oodles of experience - then training this person in necessary skills will be a pleasure rather than a chore, and should be seen as an investment with potentially huge return.

4) Create a transparent process.  If you’ve given the process some thought beforehand, providing detailed, useful feedback will be much more straightforward. If your systems are opaque and make it difficult for just one person in the company to judge a candidate’s performance, then of course it will be a chore to e-mail the unsuccessful ones with any feedback. Keep it simple, get a note out to the runners-up.

5) Do your homework.  Find out what schemes are out there to help people work on areas where they need help and team up with them to filter your unsuccessful candidates through. 

Rajeeb Dey is the founder/CEO of Enternships.com, and co-founder of national enterprise campaign StartUp Britain.

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