Perception matters in hiring. While employer brand will help you attract candidates, the main way a candidate interacts with your company is through the hiring process. And their experience during the process can make or break their decision to work at your company.
Candidate experience is a popular buzzword in the recruiting world, with tons of articles and blogs giving tips on how to improve candidate experience, suggesting everything from storyboarding the candidate experience to hiring a Candidate Experience Manager.
While these tips are mainly good, they make candidate experience seem more complicated than it is. At its core, candidate experience is about making sure your candidates are treated with respect during the interview process.
Luckily, there are many easy fixes that will help you win over candidates, even if you don’t have a ton of resources or time to dedicate.
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Many of us have experienced the frustration of interviewing with a company, never to hear back again. Or going through three, four, or five rounds of interviews that cover the same topics.
These are issues that seem to plague companies of every size and stage. Recruiting is a tough gig that requires juggling tons of competing priorities, so keeping all candidates up-to-date at all times can be exceptionally challenging.
But for those companies that communicate well, it really sets them apart. Here are a few easy tips to better communicate with your candidates:
Explain your full process at the first phone screen.
It’s OK if you expect the interviews to take two rounds but may extend it to three, or if you’re not entirely sure what the full process looks like. Still, explain as much as possible about how many steps and how long the process usually takes.
Continuously set expectations about the timeline.
After each interview stage, let your candidate know when to expect to hear back, and stick with it! Even if it’s going to be longer than you’d like, letting candidates know that they will hear back in a week puts their minds at ease.
When in doubt, over-communicate.
More information is almost always appreciated, even if it’s a quick check-in to remind them you haven’t forgotten about them.
Treat Your Candidates Exceptionally Well
Don’t just be nice, be thoughtful.
Early in my career, an engineer I was working with told me a story about interviewing with a large company. It was six hours of interviews starting at 10am, with no break for food. By mid-afternoon, he was absolutely famished, and asked his interviewer if he could stop by the vending machine down the hall.
I believe that this level of oversight is relatively rare, but being diligent about treating your candidates well can definitely set your company apart.
If your candidate is meeting more than one person, check in with them throughout the day. This is super simple. Make it a point to check in with them, make sure everything’s running smoothly, grab them a cup of coffee, etc.
Find ways to go above and beyond. Is your candidate traveling to interview with you? Send them recommendations and tips for things to do in your city. Do they seem really excited about your company? Send them home with a t-shirt.
Keep in touch. There are always candidates that aren’t a fit right now - they decline your offer, you don’t have a team to put them on, or they’re too junior. Keep in touch with these folks! You may end up interviewing or hiring them again. Check in with candidates you really like, take them out to coffee or lunch on occasion, or invite them to events at your office.
Move Quickly (Within Reason)
The sales adage that time kills all deals is also true in the recruiting world.
In my experience, candidates view a speedy hiring process as a sign that your company is organized and on top of things, making them more likely to accept an offer. Even if the recruiting process is only a small reflection of your company, it’s one of the main insights candidates have into how your company operates.
Larger companies with hiring committees and multiple levels of approvals can move slowly when hiring, so for any startup or small company that doesn’t have a complicated process - use this to your advantage! Moving quickly will help you close candidates.
What it comes down to is putting yourself in the shoes of your candidates. Finding small ways to make your process less painful and more clear will go a long way in improving your candidate experience and increasing your offer acceptance rate!