Recruiters can quickly get sucked into their own world, meaning that filling the position is all they see at the end of the tunnel. And that’s a great Key Performance Indicator, after all, recruiters depend on getting “butts in seats.”
Whether you’re corporate or agency, the mark of a good recruiter is finding the right person for the job. In fact, analysts like Kevin Grossman at TalentCulture.com have gone so far as to say that retention is a recruiter’s responsibility.
We might not go that far, but it is important to pay attention to the candidate experience, which quite often gets left to the way-side. In fact, a recent Careerbuilder survey showed that over 75% of jobseekers hadn’t heard back after application. So what you say? The same survey said 60% never heard back after an interview!
The pressures of time-to-fill and getting the job done can lead recruiters to forget that there is a person on the other end of that phone call or email. Keeping in mind what candidates want, and having a foot in their world has a positive ripple effect starting with the individual and reaching out to the betterment of the employer brand because what candidates want ends up being what employees need.
They Want to Know What You Want
As candidates have their first contact with the company, whether that be through a job ad or the company career site, expectations should be as clear and thorough as possible. Useless jargon, cryptic job titles and vague job descriptions don’t tell the candidate anything except, “Maybe this isn’t the job for you.”
Letting the candidate know what you want should be a theme throughout the hiring process. From when and how to communicate to skill expectations, constant transparency saves time and sanity. And needless to say, if you’re giving them a laundry list of requirements, open up about salary, benefits and culture.
Hiring processes have stretched out over time. The fear of a bad hire, mixed with this slow rise from the recent recession has left hiring managers reluctant to pull the trigger on new hires. In 2009, the average time-to-fil l was 15 business days, compared to today’s 23 days.
If you’re going to require 4 or 5 rounds of interviews, tell your applicants right up front. If those interviews are to be conducted once per week, spell that out in the first interview. If you have a candidate who needs a job before that 90-day mark, they have the opportunity to opt-out or let your hiring team know not to lose them if they’re a hot commodity.
Furthermore, candidates would much rather know that they didn’t get the position than wait around for you to find time to send a simple email. 65% of candidates who were unhappy with their experience stated lack of communication and regular updates on their application as the reason. There’s not really an excuse for this one, as many, MANY applicant tracking systems have email and social safeguards built right in (AHEM!)
We know you can’t overhaul your process overnight, but unless you are hiring for the CIA, you don’t need to keep it top secret.
They Want Their Time to Matter
The hiring process is taking longer and longer. Recruiters (and hiring managers!) are adding interview rounds and meanwhile, this candidate is spending more time traveling, preparing and not bringing home that all important paycheck. Some are working another job, or filling in with temporary work so they can make ends meet, which reduces their available time to interview.
Even if they don’t get the job, the candidate needs to leaving feeling like their time mattered. How can you accomplish that? Forge a professional relationship, connect on LinkedIn, give them constructive and helpful feedback, and if they’re suitable in any way, encourage them to work with the company in the future. All of this ties back to the employer brand and ambassadorship. Being a brand ambassador is an important part of the recruiting role.
They Want an Efficient Process
This all ties back to a smooth and efficient process. From the look and ease of navigation of the career site or portal, to the online application process, your hiring tools should work flawlessly. If the candidate has to create a new email address, fill out 50 fields, do three flips and hit “apply”, you probably need a new system. Taking a look at your hiring lifecycle start to finish, from an applicant’s perspective, makes flaws in the process stick out like a sore thumb. Do your best to fix or “smooth” these issues for incoming employees.
Of course, you are probably sensing a pattern here. All of these things we’re trying to infuse into the hiring process will assist when these bright young applicants are walking through your door every morning, as employees. In effect, your talent acquisition foundation becomes your talent management strategy. By actively incorporating expectations, communication, time management and engagement — you set the stage for a successful partnership, right from the start.