As the national employment numbers continue to improve, job seekers across the country unfortunately still express frustration over the lack of communication in the interview process by hiring managers and companies. The “black hole” has been a commonly used term by candidates to describe the pit in which organizations seemingly hold all information related to the interview and hiring process. The black hole seemed to grow enormously during the Great Recession, frustrating candidates and recruiters alike. Today, precious informational nuggets like “feedback,” “updates,” and “next steps” seem to be imprisoned by many hiring companies, seldom being released to see the light of day.
As staffing professionals, we need to be a beacon of light for our candidates into this black hole and make a communication commitment to them throughout the entire submission and hiring process. Here are three quick ways to keep a communication commitment that benefits not only your candidates but your clients as well.
Communicate Expectations Upfront With Candidates
Once a candidate has agreed to be submitted to a client for an open requirement, make sure to provide that candidate with as much information as possible regarding the client’s interview and hiring process. This can be based on previous experience with the hiring organization or hiring manager, or it can be gathered as part of the original requirement discussion with the client. Letting a candidate know how long the interview process historically has taken for your other candidates, the number of steps in the interview process, or how long it normally takes the client to generate an offer can be invaluable information for the active job seeker.
Candidates tend to appreciate recruiters who communicate frequently with them throughout the interview and hiring process. Staffing professionals should not contribute to the black hole problem. The “no news is good news” adage is not helpful when a candidate is anxiously awaiting word on next steps. The interview process is often a very stressful period for your candidates. A sympathetic phone call (versus an impersonal email or no communication at all) to inform the candidate that they’ve not been forgotten can go a long way to establishing a professional connection that the candidate will value – whether they get the job this time around or not.
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Open and Honest Communication
Candidates want to know where they stand in the hiring process, and how their performance is viewed at each interview stage. While many clients hold this information close to the vest, it’s important for you to provide open and honest feedback as best you can to the candidate. Whether it’s a phone screen, an in-person, or a team interview, candidates need to know how they were perceived. Strengths, weaknesses, and how they stack up against other candidates involved in the process are critical feedback points. They can help a candidate prepare for next steps and keep them mentally engaged during a long interview process. Feedback can also alert candidate to areas needing improvement before they head into other opportunities for which they may be a better fit.
As staffing professionals, we need to make the communication commitment to our candidates as a key part of the value that we provide them by working with us. Not only will we gain loyalty and appreciation from our candidates, but our clients will benefit as well by our keeping applicants informed, engaged, and committed during the interview process that can ultimately lead to a productive and happy new employee.