August 9, 2019
Six Tips for Creating a Positive Candidate Experience – by Jennifer Graham, Cambridge Consulting Services
In a job market as tight as this, employers must look at every aspect of their hiring process to make sure that they can attract the top talent they need. A common mistake of hiring managers is to view the interview process as one-sided. “Is this the right candidate for us?”, while ignoring the other–equally important– side of the exchange; candidates are asking “Is this the right position for me?” as they look for the right company, position and manager. Remember, you are in a battle with other companies, including your competition, for the best and the brightest the market has to offer. These candidates are observing you to evaluate what kind of manager you would be.
Below are some basic tips for presenting both your opportunity and yourself in the best light.
- Provide feedback on resumes and interviews in a timely manner. To keep candidate interest high, stay in regular contact. Don’t allow their enthusiasm to fizzle while they wait for word from you. Candidates often tell us how much they value being “kept in the loop” while under consideration for a position. Frequent contacts help them stay patient and interested if the process is slow. Show them that you are interested.
- Honor your commitments. If you tell a candidate you will send benefits information on Thursday, do it! If you don’t have the information you need by then, reach out to let them know when to expect it. One of the best ways to impress a candidate is to tell them early in the process how and when each step will unfold and then for the candidates to watch everything happen exactly as/when you said it would. Avoid frustrating their expectations. If you break a commitment, apologize or at least acknowledge it. Show them that you are credible.
- Thank them throughout the process…for their time and for their interest in your job. After all, they don’t have to consider your company. Any top candidate is getting regular calls from recruiters with lots of exciting opportunities. Show them that you appreciate them.
- Respect their time. The best candidates are very successful, which usually means they are also very busy, efficient and organized. If you set a call for 3PM and ask them to set aside one hour, don’t call at 3:15 and expect the candidate to be available until 4:15. After all, if the candidate is still working, there is an existing obligation to his/her current employer. You probably don’t want to hire someone who will let their current responsibilities lapse so that they can interview with you. Show them that you respect them as professionals.
- Be careful of your questions. Avoid anything that might be against the law or considered unethical—such as asking for proprietary information. For example, some states have laws that prohibit asking what a candidate’s current salary is. If you are not sure what topics might be unlawful, speak to your HR professional. Also, avoid speaking negatively/ or oversharing about others in your organization, other companies in the market place or your recruiter. Show them you are ethical and trustworthy in your speech.
- Especially for face-to-face interviews that involve more than one person, make sure that the format is structured and that the transitions between interviews run smoothly. Provide a written itinerary in advance with all of the information the candidate will need to find your location and to prepare. If the interview runs over meal time, provide a meal. Schedule water and bathroom breaks throughout a long interview day. Show them you are organized.
If you follow these basic guidelines, you can be assured that your thoughtful, respectful, well-organized interview process will be a selling point, rather than a hindrance, in getting the best candidates excited about coming to work for you.