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Tips for Improving the Candidate Experience During Your Recruiting Process

We continuously consult with our clients regarding the “candidate experience.” It’s a hot topic with important implications, whether we are providing feedback directly from candidates or our client is asking for our recommendations. Why? With two job openings for every unemployed person, it’s an extremely tight job market, and you don’t want to lose the best talent because of things you could have done better.

The candidate’s experience throughout the recruiting process is often perceived as what they may expect on the job itself. In many cases, that proves accurate. If you connect the dots, this should tell you as the hiring manager to mindfully put your best foot forward to positively represent yourself, the position and your organization. That doesn’t mean misleading the candidate. It’s about understanding the impact you have on the candidate’s overall feeling about your company and opportunity.

Recruiting is a two-way street, after all. As much as you expect candidates to come prepared to interviews, candidates expect you to be prepared for the recruiting process—and all it entails—when you post and start recruiting for a job.

6 Tips to Help Employers and Hiring Managers Prepare:

Have a clear job description for posting.
We could have an entire blog about job descriptions. Often there is a formal version you use internally and another that is used for advertising/ posting. For the job posting, the shorter, the better, but be sure some key points are clear (e.g., the key functions of the job, the “must-haves,” and what makes your company stand out.) If fun is a core value for your company, make sure that’s known through an engaging job posting.

Have a clear and outlined interview process.
Candidates want to know what to expect. It’s ok if your process changes as long as you’re communicating with the candidates, either directly or through your recruiting partner.

Identify a main point of contact.
This makes it easier for all parties and ensures the candidate knows whom to go to for answers and updates.

Identify a rough timeline for filling the role.
Again, candidates want to know what to expect. This doesn’t have to be an exact date; however, a general timeline is often helpful. Candidates want to know if you’re ready to hire now or if you’re starting the process early.

Think of questions you would want answered if you were interviewing for that job.
This helps you anticipate questions that might come your way and formulate answers. You may not have all the answers today, and that’s ok.

Get aligned internally.
Often there are a few key stakeholders involved in the hiring process for a position. Are you all aligned on what you’re looking for? For example, the true “must-haves” vs “nice-to-haves?” This will be important in ensuring you’re targeting the right people, and it helps candidates understand why they are or aren’t a fit.

4 Best Practices for Interviewing:

Make sure your interview process isn’t too cumbersome.
We typically recommend no more than three interviews, not including an initial phone interview/screen. However, we know this can vary by the level of the role. Some clients like to include a panel interview or even a presentation (e.g. for a sales role). This is perfectly appropriate as long as you keep in mind the time you’re asking of the candidate and whether your process steps take into account interviewer availability, potential travel required, etc.

The longer the process is, the harder it may be to keep a candidate engaged and excited about the role. They could easily get another offer if the process is taking too long.

You may also add an assessment of some sort. Keep all steps in mind when mapping out the process that’s best for you. It’s good to be thorough, but you don’t want to add unnecessary steps that drag out the process and leave the candidate frustrated.

Clear, transparent, and timely communication.
We’ve all been there—you apply, and then wait; You interview, and then wait; You get an update, and then wait. In a world of instant gratification, we all like a good and timely update. Many candidates have told us they appreciate us letting them know the result even if they weren’t a fit for the role. The sooner you tell them, the better.

Don’t be afraid to tell the whole story—the good, the bad, the ugly—during the interview.
Ok, maybe not all the ugly, but candidates want to know what to expect on the job. There’s nothing worse than starting a new job and getting the shock of “the ugly.” This starts the employee/ employer relationship off with a lack of trust. That said, be sure to include what you’ve done to correct the pain points and/or what you plan to do. You certainly don’t want to scare anyone away unnecessarily. There’s a fine balance between being transparent and still “selling” the job and company.

Be enthusiastic and sell it!
If you’re not excited about the job/ company, why should the candidate be? Be positive and engaging throughout the process to demonstrate what the candidate can expect and why they should want to come work for you.

Just remember, your interviewing process doesn’t have to be perfect. But the main takeaway is this: Communication is key. If the process changes, the timeline gets extended, or the role changes completely, the candidate may not be thrilled but they’ll be grateful to be given a heads-up so they can adjust their expectations accordingly.

If you’re seeking a recruiting partner who can provide you with more great tips and help you to find candidates who best fit your organization, reach out to Grey today. We’re always looking for awesome companies to partner with!

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