A Matter of Manners

I’ve been part of the team assessing candidates at assessment centres recently for posts in our charity shops. I have been asked twice, once by a candidate and once by an existing member of staff, if we ‘bother’ to let unsuccessful candidates know the outcome?

I’m really quite taken aback by this question. (Although I’m not naive, I know this happens a lot...) 

·       Our candidates have taken the trouble to tailor an application for us.

They’ve done on line relevant ability tests.

They have given up a day to join us for the assessment centre.

They have been shown around, participated in discussions and been interviewed. All with our values to the fore.

We and they have made quite an investment in the whole process.

So why on earth would we simply ignore anyone who we assessed on the day as not quite the right fit to carry out this post, at this time?




Three things spring to my mind immediately:

1.       It’s a matter of good manners. Not getting in touch is simply rude. Politeness costs nothing, well a few minutes of our time. And if we are genuinely in a business concerned with people, feeding back, even when it may not be the outcome the candidate wanted, can become a really constructive and positive conversation – on both sides.

2.       We live in the Social Age, and have our ‘brand’ to consider. Even if we were impolite, or inconsiderate people by nature (which I certainly hope we’re not) acting in a positive and polite manner is good for business. How many people are candidates going to tell about their experience? They might even share what they thought of us on social media. Gosh, that sounds cynical, but it is true. And by the way, as these were retail posts, customer service and experience featured highly in the interview…

3.       Building on 2 above, I work for a local charity. We rely on strong and positive relationships with all of our supporters, on whom we rely for much of our income. Without them we would not be able to provide the valuable services that we do. Recruitment is often called the organisation’s ‘shop window’. This is so true. I followed the back channel of the CIPD’s Recruitment Conference last week and was struck by some of the tweets such as the sharing of Jon Stanners’ ‘think fans, not candidates’ and the thoughtful and well communicated Chester Zoo recruitment approach. There is a very real probability that unsuccessful candidates will develop real affection and loyalty for us as an organisation. This could manifest itself as supporting fundraising events, shopping in our charity shops, donating unwanted items, volunteering, applying again for a different post etc.

Finally, I need to say this. There is no such thing as ‘just a job in a charity shop.’ Learning about charity retail has been my biggest and most interesting learning curve since coming to work in the charity sector.







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