- Communicating with candidates helps foster a positive applicant experience and boost your organization’s reputation.
- Keep candidates up to date with the application process, offer feedback, and send responses regardless of the final hiring decision.
- When possible, conduct interviews in person or schedule video conferences in lieu of phone calls.
Applicants may be drawn in by trendy technology and mobile-friendly applications at first, but as they move through the recruiting process, they’ll start to value quality communication and face-to-face interactions more. Your competition may use the latest technology and follow every trend, but if they don’t communicate well with their applicants, they’ll end up losing talent.
The second portion of our technology and recruiting series covers the ways you can reach out to develop human connections with applicants. In a digitized world, understanding the importance of these communications and face-to-face interactions is what can set you miles ahead of your competitors.
Despite the ease of communication these days, 75% of applicants never hear back from potential employers. Without even a note to acknowledge that their application was received, candidates are left in limbo. They haven’t gotten an interview request, but they haven’t gotten a rejection letter either, leaving them with a small spark of hope that eventually fizzles out.
This lack of communication frustrates applicants immensely, making it the most common contributor to a negative applicant experience. But you know that communication isn’t as quick or as easy as applicants think. You’re often reviewing applications while juggling multiple projects and dashing to meetings – you just don’t have time to sit down and write emails to every applicant. Still, if your organization wants to attract the best candidates, you’ll have to make communication a priority. If you don’t, talented candidates will fall through the cracks and they could take your organization’s reputation with them.
These tips can kickstart your candidate communication to help you become one of the few organizations that respond. Trust us, your applicants will notice.
Send Responses to Application Submissions
When candidates complete an application, they want to make sure the employer receives it. While a confirmation email can be easily automated, many organizations still fail to send them. Whether it’s a lack of time or awareness, a competitor’s poor response rate can be an opportunity for your organization to stand out. If an applicant applies to four jobs and your organization is the only one to respond, you’ve already made a better impression than your competitors.
Anytime you receive an application, send a response to the candidate to confirm that their application was received and thank them for their time. This email doesn’t have to be long, but it should be informative and encouraging. As mentioned above, this email can be templated and automated so that applicants immediately receive a confirmation of receipt in their inbox.
But if you have the time to write and send emails yourself, that’s even better. Using personal replies (instead of canned responses) shows candidates that you’re taking the time to address them as a person, not a number. Regardless of what you do, include the following information in your email so applicants feel seen and know what to expect moving forward:
- Address the candidate by name (avoid generic phrases like “Dear Applicant”).
- After confirming that you received their application for a specific position, explain the next steps, including when they can expect to hear back from you. Many letters fail to include this, leaving applicants to think, “Okay, they got my application, but now what?” Not only does this information help applicants feel more secure, it can also save you from answering emails that ask the same questions over and over.
- If there’s any additional information you need from applicants (like portfolios or sample work), this email is also a great place to request those supporting materials.
Prepare Applicants for Interviews
As candidates continue through the application process, maintain regular communication. If they’re scheduled for an interview, send them the information they’ll need, with everything from driving directions to dress code and who to ask for at the door. They’ll already be nervous for the interview itself, and there’s no need for them to stress over these details when you could easily relieve their worries. Your attention to detail won’t go unnoticed and it shows applicants that you care about properly preparing them.
Conduct Personal, Face-to-Face Interviews
Up to this point, you and your applicants have likely been communicating with a screen between you, either via email, direct messaging, or a resume sent through your job portal. Interviews let you ditch the tech and meet your applicants face-to-face – an opportunity you shouldn’t miss.
For applicants, face-to-face interviews transform your organization from an abstract concept or logo to a specific name and face that they can form a meaningful relationship with. In-person interviews also give the applicant a chance to experience the physical workspace and culture of your organization. They also give you a chance to gauge the applicant’s personality and sincerity in a more natural setting.
If a physical interview isn’t possible, use a video conference. Even though you’re still interacting through a screen, you’ll be able to see valuable information, such as body language, mannerisms, and smiles, that you’d otherwise miss on a standard phone call. Common video conference platforms include Zoom, GoToMeeting, and Google Hangouts Meet, but there are plenty of others that can help you connect with interviewees face-to-face.
After the interview, thank the applicant for coming in and continue to update them at set intervals so they know where they stand. Interviews vary widely depending on the organization and position, but simply making interviewees feel welcome can go a long way in building your reputation and creating a positive experience, regardless of your final hiring decision.
Offer Feedback After Interviews
If you decide not to hire a certain candidate, let them know that you’ve decided to move on with other applicants. As unbelievable as it may sound, 60% of candidates never hear back after an interview, which is an almost surefire way to sour an applicant experience that may have been fine otherwise.
Take the extra step by sending candidates a polite rejection letter and offering constructive criticism if they interviewed with you. When giving feedback, remember to balance criticisms with compliments. Maybe the applicant lacked the technical knowledge of a specific platform, but was a wonderful conversationalist. Including both the applicant’s strengths and weaknesses prevents the email from sounding too negative and helps candidates review their performance. They’ll appreciate your time and genuinely value any constructive criticism you can give them.
Constant communication and face-to-face interactions may seem like small details in a much larger process, but each email and interview contributes to the overall applicant experience. When less than half of potential employers respond, applicants appreciate any honest communication that lets them know where they stand. Even if they don’t get the job, applicants with positive experiences are more likely to recommend your organization to their friends, family, and social media followers, extending your brand’s outreach and bringing more talent your way.
In the coming weeks, look for the last post of this series, which will cover how to use the latest technology and labor market trends to retain the talent you acquire.
At Sentric, we value personal communication, which is why all of our clients receive personalized training and the option for one-on-one sessions with our product experts. To learn more about the services and support we provide, schedule a demo today!