SmartRecruiters Blog

Applicants are People. Be Kind, but Honest.

Biz writers often refer to stakeholders in organizations. Stakeholders go beyond those who “own” the company, to those who have some kind of interest in an organization: vendors, customers, stockholders, community members, and employees. Organizations show their concern for stakeholders by creating comprehensive mission statements. Many require new employees to memorize the mission statement and to be prepared to recite it at a moment’s notice.

Employees’ investments in their organizations extend far past the commitment of most other stakeholders.  Employees invest most of their waking hours, and their intellectual capital, to forge their livelihoods. They hope to reap more than just a salary: they look to increase their value as they add value; they seek meaning and connection in their work; an employee’s association is a source of pride.

Potential employees, or candidates, are unique stakeholders. They are often members of the local community. They may be customers. They often are connected to other stakeholders, especially employees.

Those who want their human capital (employees) to drive competitive advantage think about their employer brand and pay close attention to the candidates’ experience in the hiring process. In this post, I offer a candidate experience mission statement:


We treat applicants as potential employees. We make it easy to find our openings, learn about our company, and apply for jobs. We describe our openings clearly, describe our hiring process, and let applicants know where they stand. We provide feedback to help improve job hunting skills, even if we decide not to hire someone. We value our employees and are committed to hiring the best to join us.


Guy Kawasaki, in his book, The Art of the Start, promotes the advantages of a mantra over a mission statement. Here is a mantra (maybe a bit long) that is easy to remember:


Applicants are people. Be kind, but honest. 


EndNote Commentary (this is a gut check—consider yourself forewarned):

A mission statement is nice. But, I often wonder, as I give applicants feedback on how they can improve their resume, or their interviewing skills, (for which they thank me profusely) why this is so hard for companies to do? I think it is because they are afraid of being sued for discriminatory hiring practices. But, if you hire fairly, basing your decision on knowledge, skills and abilities that are related to the job, you have nothing to fear. And, giving applicants feedback can indicate what a great workplace you have, where expectations are clear and feedback is frequent and fair. Of course, you have to have that kind of workplace, don’t you??


Pat SharpPat Sharp, The Talent Architect blends strategy, technology tools, and assessment tools with marketing magic to create unique talent solutions. Past and current clients include: Motorola, Deloitte, TiVo, and Cloudscaling. Photo Credit EmpowerPeople

How can the Candidate Experience be Improved? Attend ”SmartUp: Candidate Experience” on Aug. 8 to create discussion with CEOs, influencers and candidates.

Panelists will be Co-Founder and CEO of Simply Hired Gautam Godhwani, Founder and CEO of SmartRecruiters Jerome Ternynck, HR and social media Author and Consultant Jessica Miller-Merrell, 2 Job Seeking Candidates, and of course, The Talent Architect Pat SharpGet your SmartUp Ticket Today!


Talent Architect Pat Sharp

Pat Sharp, The Talent Architect blends strategy, technology tools, and assessment tools with marketing magic to create unique talent solutions. Past and current clients include: Motorola, Deloitte, TiVo, and Cloudscaling. Visit The Talent Architect or drop her a line at

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