It’s a hiring manager’s nightmare: Someone on your team–perhaps a higher-up–alerts you to a new review on an employer review website. You cautiously click, and it’s an all-out roast of the organization, its people, and its culture. What is possibly more shocking is that the review wasn’t written by an employee. It was written by a job candidate who was brought in for a couple of interviews but ultimately not hired for the role. It’s bad enough to lose a great candidate because of a poor showing by your organization. It’s another level to have your brand eroded by poor interviewing practices.
What many organizations don’t realize is that candidates are unofficial members of their marketing team, for better or for worse. If they have any interaction with your organization, they will tell their friends and family, and possibly even leave public reviews on sites such as Glassdoor.com. Recent research from CNBC finds that job seekers who have a bad experience with a company will avoid applying for roles at the company later on, and will also avoid purchasing their products and services. In this age of the online review, it is easier than ever for people to broadcast their impressions of a company for the public to read immediately. In fact, 95% of people report having told others about their negative experience with a company, often through social media channels. This can potentially drive away talent in the future, and also hurt your sales and jeopardize future partnerships. You also don’t know where candidates may land in other organizations and how their opinions of you might impact your business one day. Most directly, great candidates can be hard to come by–so don’t lose a good one by providing a poor candidate experience.
- Get specific about who will succeed in the role. Take inventory of the responsibilities of the role, and speak with the people on your team who will be working closely with this person. Doing so will help you develop a clear picture of who will thrive in the role, and will allow you to zero in on candidates with high potential for success. This also prevents wasting candidates’ time and ensures that anyone who is brought in the door for an interview will feel qualified and competent. And it will prevent you from wasting your own time.
- Make it easy to apply for roles. When you post an open role on your organization’s website, make sure the description is clear, and include as much relevant information as possible, including compensation and benefits. Also make sure that there is a clear way to submit resumes or a form for applying. It never hurts to double-check that your links work. Providing a clear scope of the role and making it easy to send in an initial application will expedite the early stages of the process and will create a good first impression of your organization.
- Have a structured interview process. Get everyone involved in the process on the same page and inspect and revise your current flow as necessary. Set up a timeline for getting each candidate through the process. Make sure you and your hiring team know each step of the procedure, exactly what each step entails, and the schedule for doing so. Investing time in this early pre-interview stage will save time and frustration further down the line, and gives candidates a positive experience because you can tell them what to expect at every step along the way.
- Send prompt communication for inviting and scheduling interviews. Stay in frequent contact with your candidates and thank them for participating in each step of the process. Keep the candidates in the loop about where they are, who will be contacting them next and when, and be forthcoming about any delays in the process.
- Align your team on the interview process. Don’t keep your team in the dark about your search for new candidates or about when and how it will take place. This can create discomfort among employees if they run into the candidates on a tour of the facilities, which will leave a bad impression. Being transparent is always the best course of action, for your team and for potential hires.
- Ensure your hiring team is on the same page. Hold a meeting with everyone involved in the process to make sure they all know the specifics of the role, the qualities of the ideal candidate, the hiring procedure, and their individual responsibilities within the hiring process. Be creative and bring other members of the team into the process who wouldn’t normally be involved, such as receptionists, who can observe candidates outside of the formal interview setting and also put the organization’s best face forward.
- Make in-person events positive interactions. Make sure the positive aspects of your brand and culture are intentionally demonstrated. Remember, your brand is what people say about you and not what you say about yourself. Be polite, be organized, be prompt, and be hospitable to every candidate in every in-person interaction.
- Send news of rejection quickly and kindly. One of the most common complaints candidates have in interview processes is being ghosted by an organization with whom they have gone through several steps of the hiring process. Don’t go dark on a candidate, no matter which step of the process they are in. Be gracious, professional, and forthcoming about any bad news, and always express gratitude for their time and efforts.
- Invite candidates to provide feedback on their experience. Creating a candidate experience survey with structured questions, and which the candidate can submit online, can help you fine-tune your process. It also shows that you value the candidate’s time and their impressions of your organization. Topics to include in the survey are the clarity of the role description in the job posting, the communication with the hiring manager or other team members with whom they interacted, and their impressions of the facility and employees. Finally, inquire how you might improve your hiring process.
We hope these tips will provide some insight into how to give candidates a positive experience. If you have used other strategies to achieve this goal, let us know in the comments section below. We would love to hear about your experience and learn from you. And, for more helpful content published right here every week, don’t forget to subscribe.