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How Candidate Communication Strategy Impacts Your Brand

Oct 30th, 2018 • tami@hrdadvisors.com

A recent survey conducted by Talent Board asked participants to rate their likelihood of referring others based on their most recent application/interviewing process. Nearly 50% of those surveyed (44%) indicated they would “Definitely Not.” Take a minute. Let that sink in. Now think about what the candidates you’ve been in touch with in the last 90 days would say about your organization? Sobering isn’t it?

“Ghosting” is on the rise. You know, when you have a conversation with a candidate, decide they’re not the best fit and then just never talk to/respond to them again? Or you have a candidate in the interview process and you fail to inform them that they are not moving forward in the process or the role has been filled/closed? It happens, even to the best of us. It does make me wonder though, if there were more AUTHENTIC candidate care woven into our approach, how significantly this percentage would decrease?

Candidates entrust us with one of the biggest decisions in their lives…making a career change. The best recruiters (corporate or firm) are effective advocates for their candidates AND their organizations. As such, we owe candidates the courtesy of timely, honest & transparent communication.

As recruiters, we often experience difficult to manage circumstances, like hiring authorities who don’t provide status updates, feedback on interviews or strategic insight into what is guiding their decisioning processes. Regardless, it’s our responsibility, as search leaders, (no matter the level of role) to create urgency for the hiring authorities around the search, particularly in a talent market as tight as this one.  Lapses in communication can very quickly sour a candidate’s perception and create a poor candidate experience. That experience is a DIRECT reflection of not only the personal brand of a recruiter, but the corporate brand as well.

Don’t believe me? The same Talent Board survey found that 95% of respondents believe the way they’re treated in the interview process is a direct reflection of how they’re likely to be treated as employees. What we do in the interview process matters…ESPECIALLY for those candidates that don’t get selected. We interact with far more people who don’t get selected for the roles we work on than do. What they think about us & our organization(s) is FAR more important than we often give it credit.

More and more I hear how candidates appreciate just being kept in the loop, EVEN if there isn’t a substantive update. It’s A LOT of work but it is our responsibility to manage our candidates’ experience.

Here’s a few tips I have found helpful along the way…

  • During the intake – confirm the urgency in hiring the role – plan out the timeline and expectations – MANAGE to that timeline – this will allow you to set expectations around providing feedback, next steps AND gives you permission to stalk (Yes, STALK!) the hiring manager/HR when you do not receive it.
  • Push your hiring authorities to make decisions – candidates should not sit in limbo for weeks without knowing where they stand, because in this market, they don’t have to. Besides, who wants to stay excited and engaged with a brand when they have no idea where they stand in the process?
  • Candidates traditionally have more than one opportunity – the more we are able to keep in touch, understand what is happening in their career search the better advocates we become for them and for our company. These folks can be our biggest fans in the future!
  • Represent your personal brand – as recruiters and leaders of our searches, our personal reputation is on the line. We diminish our value by not doing what we say we will do. We all know things can change with a search, but the simple act of communication will most certainly brand you well.

 

I’m not saying this is a fool proof methodology of eliminating “ghosting”. Recruiting is a crazy business and we deal with the human factor. My hope is this will empower you to take control of the process, communicate and provide each candidate the same experience you would expect if you were on the receiving end.