Recruitment can be a notoriously stressful process. When you have reached the fourth round of interviews and your strongest candidates have either lost interest, or are demanding more money than you can afford, you might be wondering what can be done to make this experience less painful.
The good news is that there is a great way to improve this situation, and the key is communication. A considerable amount of work, money and stress can be saved, simply through streamlining your interactions with candidates throughout the process - from the moment they begin their application to the feedback you leave them. It's easy to see why communication is often found to be lacking. With serious competition for top talent, it can take companies some time to decide on the strongest candidate, and keeping everyone up to date with the progress of their application may not be at the top of their list of priorities. But there are a number of reasons why clear communication is so important, even when your company has yet to come to a final decision on who will be hired. Here are some of the reasons why communication should be at the forefront of your hiring strategy:
Hiring departments are always under a lot of pressure from different sides during the hiring process, and the usual tussle between HR and Line Management can be hugely debilitating to the success of the project. As stress mounts, and timeframes slip, communicating effectively with all parties in the hiring process can fall by the wayside. Judgements can be clouded and decisions rushed, leading to poor hiring decisions – or worse, losing your preferred candidate along the way due to unclear communication and sluggish engagement.
Poor communication can become a problem at every stage of your hiring lifecycle, which ultimately means that there are at least four stages at which you could lose a great candidate!
People talk more often about bad experiences than good ones, and in today’s hyper-connected world, word can spread fast. Candidates don’t appreciate being left in the dark, and regardless of any difficulties your company is facing during the hiring process it is wise to just keep them updated. Providing no, or very slow communication reflects badly on your company brand. Protect your brand. Keep talking to your candidates, even if you may not hire them today.
A lack of response to a job application can very easily be taken as a rejection, and this often leads candidates to lose interest and drop out before the recruitment process is over. Others might simply decide that they have waited long enough, and accept a rival offer. This, in turn, elongates the whole hiring project, leading not just to frustration but also to increased expense, as well as all the other downsides of being understaffed and overworked.
Such are the frustrations of a protracted hiring process that it can often lead the employer to measures such as aggressively pursuing the top candidates, to ensure that the time spent on the recruitment process is justified. But this approach can set in motion a rise in salary expectations from these key candidates, which can push your project over budget.
We've seen some of the worst effects of poor communication during the recruitment process, and this emphasises the importance of improving your company's interactions with candidates and each other. So what are some of the best ways to transform this process for the better? Here are some of the most effective steps to take.
Communication starts before your candidates have even applied, and the application stage can be one of the most problematic areas. Make sure your candidates know the details of the job and what is required of them and you can save your company a lot of work sifting through applications that are irrelevant to the job. You'll also save a lot of time and frustration on the part of the candidates if you make sure they know exactly what is expected from them if they take on the role.
Throughout the interview stage and the decision-making process that follows, keep candidates informed with how their application is progressing. It's advisable to give your correspondence a human touch so that they don't get the impression they are receiving an automated email.
Nothing is more disheartening than a rejection that doesn't give any detail as to why the decision was reached and doesn't leave any scope for improvement. With a few helpful pointers, today's blundering reject could turn out to be tomorrow's dream candidate - but only if you tell them what they could have done better. Even more discouraging are those job applications that candidates never even get a response from. Reply to all who apply - it will serve as recognition for the time they spent crafting their application and will reflect well on the company as a whole.
The inevitable discussion of salary is another difficult area of the hiring process, and a technique that can help to smooth over the communication process is to open the negotiations. Many employers give no indication of salary - or a cryptic suggestion that it is 'competitive' - leading to a guessing game that can cause good candidates to be rejected without good reason. But frequently you'll find candidates want nothing less than to be paid fairly and a lot of frustration and work can be avoided on behalf of both employer and candidate by openly explaining of your budget and how you arrived at it.
One course of action that can streamline the entire recruitment process is to look at using a direct hiring platform. By utilising a centralised hiring platform which allows direct communication between candidates and hiring managers] you'll transform the quality of communication with candidates throughout their application. Candidates can be automatically updated via status updates and messaging tools to keep them engaged in your brand and significantly reduce all of the difficulties outlined above.
Not every company has the resources to deliver perfect recruitment skills, but utilising a direct hiring platform is a fantastic solution. This will help to resolve the issues of miscommunication, reduce candidate dropout and shorten the process of hiring your next employee. This will save your company significant amounts of time and money - and, best of all, you'll find that dream candidate sooner.
Georgina has in-depth expertise within tech and innovation. You can find Georgina using her skills to help fellow creative industry leaders through inspiring research pieces or lecturing at Oxford College of Marketing.