It’s hard to find available workers with skills that are in high demand. Recruitment marketing, the right job ads, and bonuses attract more applicants, but it takes a while to convert the best candidates into new hires. In an increasingly competitive job market, it’s more important than ever to optimize your hiring cycle. Discover how to improve your overall candidate experience and close on your top candidates every time.
Improving the overall candidate experience
Lots of minor changes will help you retain more qualified candidates, but there are two top priorities:
Shorten your hiring cycle
People are ghosting all over the place, from dating apps to job interviews, and an application is not a commitment. You need to move from first contact to interview and job offer quickly because that applicant could take a job elsewhere at any time. Attention spans are shorter and social norms are changing, so HR departments need to adapt.
Most candidates assume that your company’s silence means rejection. Transparency is helpful throughout the hiring process, and it can start with the auto reply to their first contact form submission. Even when you’re making an offer to someone else, give candidates an idea of when they can expect to hear back from you.
Tips for improving candidate experience and closing on your top job applicants:
Know the job market
Keep track of the overall hiring market in your industry and region. Your pay needs to be competitive with other employers, taking into account the benefits that might be offered elsewhere.
It’s a good idea to leave a little wiggle room for salary negotiation. Make sure your starting offer is still a fair reflection of the job requirements, but know that salary could be a sticking point for some candidates. Don’t lowball by setting the initial offer too low, since that could cause candidates to walk away.
In the era of pay transparency, hiring managers need to be prepared for some candidates to want the top possible pay.
Be upfront and honest
Some details cannot be shared publicly, like client details, but honesty is always the best policy during the hiring process. If they ask specific questions about benefits, year-round DEI initiatives, or other policies, then there’s a good chance that those details make a big difference to the applicant.
When you’ve onboarded a new hire and their paperwork goes through, it’s polite to let the rejected applicants know that the position was filled. They’re more likely to apply again in the future if you treat them fairly and honestly.
Get to know each candidate
It’s a no-brainer to learn the name on each job application, but you should also try to learn about the goals and desires of each applicant to improve overall candidate experience. You can build rapport and trust by including some more casual getting-to-know-you questions. Obviously, you also need to make sure they have skills and abilities that match the job requirements, but the interview shouldn’t feel like an interrogation.
Be punctual and professional
It should go without saying, but don’t be late for the job interview. Even when you’ve pivoted to remote and virtual recruiting online, make sure you’re punctual with video calls and correspondence. Emails and phone calls should be timely, not coming as a surprise after weeks of radio silence.
Your company culture may embrace casual banter in emails, but don’t get too casual with applicants who haven’t been hired. Casual and friendly language can be misinterpreted to suggest that you aren’t taking their application seriously.
Showcase meaning and purpose
Younger workers want jobs that serve a higher purpose. Some essential industries like logistics can still feel impersonal on a large scale. Nobody wants to feel like a cog in a machine, even if the cogs are well compensated.
Company culture can be a big selling point when it aligns with an applicant’s personal values. Make sure that candidates are aware of your workplace giving program and any frequent community involvement.
For better candidate experience, make sure you’re asking important questions, not just icebreakers. What are their deal breakers? If they really need generous parental leave or another benefit you don’t currently offer, then it’s better to be transparent about potential roadblocks.
For big talent, you might be able to find a workaround or talk to the CEO about expanding benefits. Ask the candidates about what’s most important to them. Is that something your company can provide?
Describe how their specific skills will fit
The job opening naturally involves specific roles and responsibilities. You can flesh out that picture by showing a candidate how they’ll fit into their team as well as the whole company.
If you’ve learned about the interests and talents of individual candidates, then you might be able to see how they’ll get along with particular colleagues. When you get to the interview and office tour stage, you can make a few introductions with established employees.
Make them feel wanted
Your prompt replies shouldn’t be mechanical or impersonal, even when you’re sending out batches of form emails. Make sure each candidate feels valued, even when they know your company is weighing and comparing options. Experienced professionals understand the realities of running a business, but they still don’t want to be treated like a number.
Build anticipation by talking up perks like special amenities or a free onboarding lunch. Company swag like a mug and T-shirt can make a new hire feel like part of the team.
Keep in close touch
The mantra “ABC: Always Be Closing” is immortalized with Alec Baldwin’s speech in 1992’s Glengarry Glen Ross. But it applies to recruiting almost as much as sales.
Even when you don’t make a job offer to candidates, you can still give them a positive impression of your company and find out how much they expect in compensation. When you find qualified talent, you need to make an offer quickly, before they start getting offers elsewhere. Optimize your selection and interview process to boost your local reputation and make a big impression.
How can your company exceed expectations? A lot of employee review questionnaires ask workers to go “above and beyond,” but not many companies hold themselves to the same standard of “wowing” their workers. New hires always appreciate the quality (and usefulness) of swag they receive. A catered lunch for the department could make a new hire make friends with their team members.
Have a backup plan
The “Always Be Closing” mantra doesn’t work with 100% of the candidates you want to hire. Without stringing along the other interviewees, give yourself a window of time to reach out to your second or third choice. Keep things positive, and ask for permission to contact qualified candidates about future openings.
When you have backup options, you’ll be more confident in setting boundaries. If your preferred candidate expects a higher salary than you can offer, then you can hire the backup instead.
Discover how Netchex can help you recruit better by improving your company’s candidate experience:
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