Through my years of recruiting, I have heard many times from candidates that they didn’t know where they stood in the hiring process. I hate to say it, but many times they were right. The feedback about how their interviews went with the company was usually very slow in coming back to me, the recruiter. There were even times when the hiring manager knew that this person was going to be the candidate selected for the job, but the final decision-making process was so inefficient that sometimes it took weeks instead of days. Below are some ideas of how to make a candidate feel more like an asset rather than a number during these long processes.
- Communicate often. Communication is the very foundation of maintaining a positive relationship with a candidate throughout the entire interview process. Don’t be afraid to contact them a couple times a week if you know that the hiring process may drag out longer than expected. A quick e-mail or voicemail can go a long way to keeping a candidate interested in your opportunity.
- Be Honest. There is nothing worse than stringing a candidate along. If you know that a candidate is not going to be considered for a specific position, tell them as soon as possible. This is not a fun job, but a necessary one! It can be uncomfortable telling someone that they are not going to be considered further for a position, but more times than not candidates really appreciate knowing sooner than later. The sooner they know whether they are in or out of the running, the sooner they can make plans for the future.
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- Narrow the pool. Once you have completed the interview process narrow down the field of candidates as quickly as possible so that you can focus on the top candidates for the position. By focusing your efforts on the top two or three candidates, you will ensure that these candidates will remain interested in your particular opportunity. Once the pool of final candidates has been established, let them know where they stand and what the expected timeline on making a final decision will be. I can’t stress enough how important sharing this information can be.
- Be realistic. When communicating with your group of final candidates, set realistic expectations. There is nothing worse than telling a candidate that a final decision will be made on Monday, when in reality it could be two weeks from Monday. Treat these final candidates with the respect that they deserve by setting the proper expectations of when decisions will be made. By being realistic you will gain trust and loyalty from these candidates, which will be very important during the offer stage. If you have played your cards right during the process, you will have two or three highly qualified candidates who are dying to come work for your company.
As you can see, treating candidates like a future asset to your company during the selection process can go a long way to establishing a strong relationship. If a positive relationship can be established during the selection, you will be well on your way to creating a long and happy relationship.