A guide to the candidate experience for hiring managers
Lately there has been a lot of commentary around something called the ‘candidate experience.’ Personally I think this is just common sense, but I’m coming from the perspective of someone who works with candidates and hiring managers all the time – as a matchmaker. Everyone is busy – really busy this year. The interview process is typically an additional weight placed on hiring managers who already have 50 hours of work to do each week. This is especially true in emerging organizations where executives are wearing more than one hat.
Creating a positive candidate experience means that you are making each person who approaches your company about a position feel positive about the company, you, your team and your opportunity. That doesn’t mean you have to hire them or like all of them – but it does mean they should walk away thinking, “Wow! What a great company!”
Why is this important? Every person you encounter has a circle of influence (think FaceBook). That circle of influence contains potential employees, potential business partners, potential investors and potential customers. When you leave a candidate feeling good about their experience with you and your company – they will tell others. Need I say more?
How do you create a positive ‘candidate experience?’ It’s so simple – do unto others what you would have them do unto you – sound familiar? Here are some tips:
1. Pretend you are looking for a job at your company. Go ahead and read the website. How does it make you feel? Read the career page. Would you want to work for your company? Are the positions posted accurate? Are they interesting? Submit an application and resume for a particular opening. Is it easy? Do you feel like someone will actually read it? Did you receive a thank you when you completed the process? Does it take more than 10 minutes?
2. Make sure the person in charge of screening candidates has some domain knowledge of the position. It’s very frustrating for a candidate to phone screen with someone who can’t answer their questions or has no idea what they are talking about
3. Set realistic expectations. Sometimes the interview process just takes time – not ideal, but so be it. If you have a lengthy process, or you are struggling with travel schedules for interview team members that’s fine – just let the candidates know up front. They will appreciate that you respect their time
4. Be gracious. When you invite someone into your home, you are the host. You are on time, kind, polite, offer them some of whatever you are having – you know the drill. When you invite a candidate into your company – the same rules apply.
5. Keep your word. If you ask a candidate to follow up – expect that they will. If you commit to following up, making a decision or getting them additional information – then do it. If you can’t meet your commitments then call them and let them know.
6. Be honest – kindly. Looking for a new job is a very emotional experience for most people. Honest and kind feedback is really important to their professional development. If there is something they should improve, let them know. If they are a strong contender but you selected someone else, let them know you will keep them in mind for the next position. If they aren’t a good fit with your company, tell them straight. In all cases, if you can offer them suggestions for other companies or positions please do so.
Creating a positive candidate experience is not difficult. Establish a hiring process that you would enjoy, treat each individual with respect and thankfulness. After all, their circle of influence can absolutely have an impact on your company.
Let me know if you’d like more ideas on creating a candidate experience – I am full of ideas!
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