The often-overlooked recruitment essential: Creating a positive candidate experience

A company’s greatest resource is its people. Your team is the cornerstone of your brand, the living database for your institutional knowledge, and the most important asset your organization has. Recruiting and retaining the right people for that team is crucial for success.

While most companies value retention and make efforts to keep their existing staff happy and loyal, there is an area of people management that too many overlook. That is the experience of potential employees. Every applicant to your open positions is an opportunity to create a personal connection. It is possible to build affinity and boost your employer and consumer brand – even with those candidates that you do not hire.

You can do this by focusing your recruitment process on the candidate’s needs. Make sure all the information applicants require is readily available. Candidates appreciate a transparent process. Be consistent, transparent, and timely in your communications from the outset.

Recruiters need to think like marketers. A substantial part of recruiting is reaching the right candidates and enticing them to apply for (and accept) the job. Let candidates know what’s in it for them, why you’d be a great place to work. Valuable talent will walk away from clueless or discourteous interviewers.

Be sure to treat applicants with courtesy and respect at every phase of the hiring process. Make your job application process simple and clear. Train your interview team to be highly effective and professional. Respond to every applicant in a timely manner and always let interviewees know if they got the job without too much delay – or at least what the timeline is.

A recent survey showed that more than half of applicants never heard back at all from the employer after their most recent interview. Not only is that rude, but it is also short sighted. A job seeker may be disappointed at not being hired, but a candidate who feels they have been treated poorly will become a vocal detractor of your brand. (And they are also potential future customers of yours, so there can be a revenue impact as well.)

Every interaction a candidate has with your company (whether they are hired or not) is an opportunity to promote your brand and spread genuine positive word of mouth about your organization. Make the most of these.

Successful recruitment isn’t about replacing people who leave, it’s about creating an enviable work environment and a talented team that grows and sustains itself into the future. Your reputation as an employer – and how you treat applicants – is an important part of this.

It starts with treating potential employees with same professionalism, courtesy, and respect as your current team. That way unsuccessful applicants will continue to perceive your organization as a great place to work, watch for future opportunities, and recommend you to others. (As opposed to thinking something to the effect of, “I dodged a bullet by not working for those jerks” – and warning others to steer clear as well.)

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