Dubai:  When it comes to finding the right person for the role, employers need to ensure they are leaving a good impression on candidates, because after all, how outsiders perceive a company can have ripple effects that can be beneficial for the employer as a brand.

By leaving a good impression, employers don’t only ensure they attract the best candidate, they can also turn job applicants, whether they get hired or not, into brand ambassadors. However, companies in the UAE need to work on certain areas when filling vacant positions.

In a survey conducted by LinkedIn among 600 professionals in the UAE, the majority of residents (86 per cent) said they are indeed on a job hunt, but there appears to be a gap between what applicants expect during the job application process and what they actually get.

Apparently, most of the jobseekers have not heard back from a potential employer after an interview. While the majority (94 per cent) prefer to get some feedback from a potential employer, only 41 per cent experienced a follow-up from companies they have interviewed with.

Treating job applicants with respect is critical, especially since 87 per cent of the professionals who previously were not interested in the company would change their minds because of a “positive interview experience.”

“First impressions count, and this can be a pivotal moment in the relationship between company and candidate,” said Ali Matar, head of LinkedIn talent solutions for Middle East and North Africa (Mena).

A previous survey by CareerBuilder showed that job applicants who have had a bad experience when applying for a new job are less likely to seek opportunity at the same company again. They are also more likely to discourage friends from buying the company’s products or services.

"Today's candidates expect ongoing communication from companies during the application process, and when companies fail to meet this expectation, it can be bad for business," said Rosemary Haefner, chief human resources officer of CareerBuilder.

"Candidates remember when companies don't respond to them, fail to update them on the status of their application or don't follow up after an interview. Not only do these experiences make candidates less likely to apply to the company again, but they also make them less likely to purchase from the company as customers."

About eight in ten applicants (83 per cent) polled by LinkedIn said they would be discouraged by a potential employer if the interview did not meet their expectations, even if they like the company.

More than half (53 per cent) said they consider the first meeting with their prospective manager as the most important interaction during the interview process.

When it comes to providing feedback, nearly eight in ten (77 per cent) said they prefer to receive good news on the phone, while 65 per cent would rather receive bad news via email. Job applicants, however, also don’t like being contacted outside working hours or on weekends.

Money is another key factor in the decision-making, with 56 per cent of the respondents saying that they would accept or decline a job offer based on the salary package offered, more than professional development (30 per cent) and work-life balance (28 per cent).

“It’s clear from this data that there are some simple changes companies can make to their interview process that will not only help them attract the best talent, but also ensure unsuccessful candidates leave with a great impression of the company,”  said Matar.

“With the growing importance of employer branding to employers worldwide, this is an easy win for companies looking to improve their reputation among talent in the region.”