The Candidate Experience

Recently, there has been a big push for companies to review their recruitment processes, wanting to make sure that potential candidates can easily find and apply for open positions. As the “highly qualified” candidate pool is decreasing, companies need to engage in a number of creative tactics to attract and entice the applicant, falling just short of putting up neon signs with flashing red arrows that point directly to job descriptions and application sites.

Companies are evaluating the “follow up” protocol, like staying in touch with the candidate during the interview process or letting a candidate know they were not selected after the interview. With a much narrower candidate pool, it is imperative that the recruiting team uses every measure to form strong bonds with their candidates. The interview/hiring process can be arduous and lengthy and it is difficult to keep the candidate engaged, but having no contact with them will lead to complete burn out and disinterest on their part. In the long run, not only will this candidate walk away, but may be inclined to “blog” about the negative experience to sites like “Glassdoor” and everyone will know about the bad experience.

In 2016, I see more “hand-holding” and more personal interactions. It will not be uncommon to text a candidate or even send frequent, short emails that just have “follow up” or “checking in” in the subject line – something to show you care, you are on top of it, and you really want them to land this job. We need to be a companion during the “waiting” period, be their friend and show we care, because if we don’t, someone else will.

If the candidate is not selected for the job…as uncomfortable as it is, companies must delicately and professionally handle that message. Candidates want to know right away so they do not continue to hold out hopes for the position, and they will want to know why. How a company handles this process is a direct reflection on them. It is in their best interest to be insightful and offer any advice or assistance deemed fit for each situation. Remember, you have formed a bond so continuing with professionalism will ensure that you can always call on this candidate at another time, for another role, for referrals or for some expert advice.

When a candidate receives an offer, the process can be confusing – filled with paperwork, drug tests, and other activities requiring time-sensitivity on the candidate’s part. Getting them onboard needs to be smooth and effortless; it is an exciting time for a candidate to embark on a new career or project. Your team must expertly guide them through all of the “pot holes” and “hairpin turns” that they might encounter.

The trend is towards more attentive and caring recruiters. Instead of just building a pipeline, they will be building relationships with job seekers. This bond should last for years.