Why public shaming of candidates is just not acceptable

There have been cases where candidates who do not get back to the organisation after being offered a job are shamed publically on social media.

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We have all heard of disgruntled candidates taking to social media and ridiculing a company for not having a great candidate experience. They express their anger by letting people know what happened with them. By doing so, they express their grievances pertaining to the whole HR function in an organisation. But have you ever come across instances of HR managers or hiring managers humiliating candidates in such a way? Though not very common, such cases seem to be cropping up every now and then.

Recently, some cases have been reported where the HR has stooped to the level of humiliating candidates publically. In one such incident, a candidate who was selected for the role apparently stopped picking up calls from the HR for some reason. Instead of handling the situation with maturity, the HR team, in vengeance, posted a humiliating post tagging the candidate. The post read, “After your sustained pursuit we offered you a job. You accepted and made us wait for two months. You did not show up and also did not have the courtesy to inform us. Since we are unable to reach you now I thought I will reach out here. I hope you treat your current and future organisation with a bit more dignity and respect.’

After this post, the candidate felt so humiliated that he deactivated his social-media account.

The person who posted this is a COO of a company. If we follow the ethical path, we would refrain from revealing the name of the concerned person. By ignoring ethics altogether, this COO exhibited irresponsible behaviour that is not acceptable from a C-suite member at all.

There are times when our clients refuse to give us business at the last moment. But do we treat them the same way? We don’t.

In yet another case, a financial professional behaved the same way with an organisation and the HR team decided to humiliate him in a similar manner.

Lalit Kar

“It was a very irresponsible act from the organisation’s side. Until and unless the employer and employee relationship is established, you cannot take such harsh steps. This kind of an act tarnishes the image of an organisation.”

“Privacy must be maintained in conversations that happen between the employer and the candidate. Public shaming or last minute offer drop-outs are 100 per cent avoidable as they cause inconvenience and extreme humiliation. A lot of corporate issues can be sorted through conversations and we must engage in them to understand concerns at either ends,” says Smriti Handa, regional director-HR, Reckitt Benckiser.

Lalit Kar, SVP & head-HR, Reliance Digital, adds, “It was a very irresponsible act from the organisation’s side. Until and unless the employer and employee relationship is established, you cannot take such harsh steps. This kind of an act tarnishes the image of an organisation.”

Employers in such cases fail to keep their calm and use a sensible head.

Agreed that such attitude from the candidate is very unprofessional, but taking revenge this way is certainly not right.

“Human resources can simply raise a red flag and inform every business of the company to not consider that candidate in question for any future jobs,” mentions Kar.

Handa adds, “Social media should be used responsibly and so should an open talent market offering multiple opportunities.”

Smriti Handa

“Privacy must be maintained in conversations that happen between the employer and the candidate. Public shaming or last minute offer drop-outs are 100 per cent avoidable as they cause inconvenience and extreme humiliation. A lot of corporate issues can be sorted through conversations and we must engage in them to understand concerns at either ends.”

Such naming and shaming can not only impact a person emotionally and mentally, but can also affect the morale of that person. It will make it difficult for that person to even survive in his current job. Depending on the extent to which she/he is emotionally broken, this may lead to larger repercussions.

Some people may agree that public shaming is required as an action, but the fact remains that these things are a part and parcel of an HR job, and should never be made personal.

There are times when candidates take the effort to prepare and appear for an interview , but the concerned company never gets back to them with a response, whether positive or negative. This is also unprofessional. So both the candidates and the employers should try to handle the situation in a responsible, mature and impersonal manner.

Public naming and shaming is absolutely unprofessional and immature. We would like to call out to everyone and say, ‘NAMING AND SHAMING OF CANDIDATES IS UNACCEPTABLE. PLEASE STOP IT RIGHT AWAY!’

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