Striving for the golden rule is admirable and really challenging.
I spent 12 years running recruiting organizations, in both the corporate and agency worlds.
While, a bit of an overarching review, throughout the hiring process, agency recruiters are much better at keeping their candidates up to date than in-house recruiters are. That’s probably because they are better incentivized to do so.
What all recruiters agree is that candidates should not be allowed to fall into black holes in the hiring process. But sadly, we’ve all been there.
By black hole I mean when candidates apply for positions or even get through some interviews only to be left in the dark and not hear any news back from the organization.
If you’ve ever been a recruiter, you’ve done it (hopefully unintentionally) to candidates, and as a candidate at some point in your life, you’ve definitely been in the black hole. In all honesty, you’ve probably been there multiple times.
No recruiters want to leave candidates in the dark, but unfortunately recruiters are overworked and under-resourced.
And when candidates fall into black holes, everyone loses.
The reality is that most recruiters who I’ve ever worked with or talked to, do want to try and deliver on the Golden Rule. We’d all really love to treat candidates the way that we’d want to be treated as candidates ourselves.
What It Really Takes To Change Your Recruiting Practices
Here’s a quick framework for recruiting teams who want to polish their approach to how they treat and communicate with their candidates.
Own the Mindset
It all starts with having belief and owning it. You have to want change the way the game is played. You have to believe that when you change the way that you both approach and do your job, it will change the way that candidates are treated. You have to believe that when candidates are informed, aware, prepared, excited and engaged with your interviewing process, that there’s a much much higher likelihood that they stay engaged with your hiring process. In the end, you have to believe these actions will make your candidates value your offer more than other competing job offers. Or at the very least, they walk away with a positive view of their experience with your hiring brand (and hopefully they continue to do business with your brand or would up for interviewing with you again down the road). It’s a way of thinking that will permeate the way that you act and specifically the way that you prioritize your day and setup the processes and structure around how you do your job.
Create a Process That Can Scale
Recruiters desks, their tools, to include specifically most ATS’, are not set-up to easily help them be productive. In fact, most recruiting desks are set up to be run in a very manual, one-off activity, kind of way.
Communication Is Key
Over time, you’ll want to implement a process aimed heavily at communicating with candidates because a lack of communication is the sole cause of candidates falling into the black hole.
You want to figure out where the most critical points of communication are within your hiring process. These are the points where it’s most important to create awareness and preparedness for candidates. Your list probably includes some of these communication tasks:
- Welcoming candidates to your hiring brand and providing a map of the interview process
- Letting candidates know that they are still under consideration and where they stand within your hiring process
- An update when there’s a delay in momentum
- Getting candidates prepared for critical rounds of interviews with hiring manager information, what’s going to happen during that round, etc.
- Requesting scheduling information
- Providing feedback
- Surveying candidates to get their feedback on their experience (all candidates, not just candidates who were hired)
Ideally, your whole team is working together on evolving the communication with candidates. Start with implementing one new communication step in the process, make that work for a month and then start adding the next, and scale it from there.
Taking the First Step
It’s easier to introduce one new step than to completely reinvent your approach overnight. You may decide that an email template will make it work at one stage, or that text messaging may work at another. There are some good candidate communication solutions out there for you to help with some or all of these communication needs.
As you build upon your communication strategy, measure how your approach is working and the impact it’s having. Surveying your candidates today, will give you a baseline of how they feel about your hiring process. Use some kind of easy scale, and let them provide some qualitative feedback about their score. Then as you implement your additional new communication approaches, continue to measure the awesome improvements in the scores and see their comments improve!
The devil is in the details. As you implement each new step, be precise with the process you are running with and hold yourself accountable to actually doing it, every time, with every candidate.