With national unemployment hitting a 17-year low, the pool for available talent continues to shrink. While this may be great news for the economy, it certainly isn’t the best news for companies looking to grow their teams. Competition for top talent is fierce. And with so many businesses looking to hire, if you don’t treat your candidates well, your competitors will.
So how can you connect with top talent to build a strong team? Of course, it’s important to create stellar job postings and get those postings in front of the right eyes. But what’s even more important is providing candidates with a positive interview experience. Here are three ways you can make this happen.
1. Project a Positive Image with the Job Description
Think of every job description you write as your first chance to make a positive first impression. When you’re short on time, it can be tempting to grab a boilerplate job description from the web. Resist this urge. Your organization is unique, as is the position you want to fill and the candidate you want to hire. So you want a job description that speaks to the type of candidate who you know will thrive in the role.
One way to attract strong candidates during a search is to craft job descriptions that are more like sales pitches. Think about your own experience within the organization. What benefits are most attractive from a candidate’s perspective? Lead with these rather than listing the job requirements and other criteria.
Also, make sure the postings reflect the company culture. Another result of candidates having the freedom to be choosey is that they look at benefits beyond salary and vacation days. Candidates want to work for organizations with values that align with their own. Make sure to include your policies on inclusion and diversity at the very least.
2. Live by the Golden Rule of Communication
The Golden Rule of Communication is this: Communicate with others as you would want to be communicated with. Put yourself in your candidates’ shoes and consider how you can communicate in ways that will add value to their experience with your organization. We’ve all been there. Regardless of how confident you feel about your odds of finding the right position, the interview process is inherently stressful. Candidates always appreciate transparent and regular communication from hiring teams.
Besides contributing to a positive candidate experience, communicating well benefits your organization. If you allow long periods of time to go by without checking in with candidates, that virtually ensures that your top choices will get swooped up or simply lose interest. It can help to institute a communications policy for searches. Something as simple as setting up email automation letting candidates know that they have successfully submitted parts of the application can eliminate a lot of confusion and unnecessary worry. Always give candidates an estimated timeline for big decision points and send updates every 48 hours to those who make it to the onsite interview stage.
Lastly, make sure to take the time to formally reject candidates who you don’t plan to hire. No candidate, no matter how many options she has, appreciates being ghosted. Additionally, when you take the extra step to appropriately explain why a candidate wasn’t the right fit, you increase the chances of getting referrals and hearing from the candidate for other positions in the future.
A phone call rejection is an especially kind gesture. We often shy away from conversations like these because we think they have to be awkward. But if you set the tone for a positive candidate experience from the beginning, even this becomes an opportunity for a mutually beneficial result.
3. Put Candidates at Ease
You can do a lot to ease the tension many job candidates experience during interviews. Take the time to explain the interview process ahead of time. Be transparent about the types of questions candidates should prepare for and who they will meet within the organization. Remember to explain the basic roles of these people and how they fit into the organization’s structure too.
By providing these details, you put candidates in the best position to succeed. They will ask more thoughtful questions and be better able to speak to whether and how they can contribute to the organization’s overall success.
In addition, be mindful of where candidates are coming from and how you can meet them where they are. Imagine that the interview process is a candidate’s main introduction to your organization. Your job is to facilitate her or him in getting to know your team and making the best decision she or he can with the information available.
When you focus on providing a positive candidate experience, your goal will be for each candidate to leave the interview with a positive feeling regardless of the end result of the process. If everyone who interacts with the job candidate is onboard with this goal, you will stand out as one of the top places to work and top talent will find you.
Creating a positive candidate experience can attract top talent to your company, but it is only the first step. Potomac Recruiting is proud that our candidates stick with the companies that hire them. Our proven process places executives in C-Suite positions in a wide-range of industries and our retention rate after one year is 93%.
Contact our talent specialists today and we’ll show you how to provide a positive candidate experience in line with your organization’s needs for your next search.