Candidate LOVE

Unemployment is on the decline. Competition for the best candidates is on the rise. Now more than ever, it's essential to treat every candidate well!

So show your candidates a little "love." Make these simple changes to your recruiting process -- and make a big impact on your results:

Expedite Your Processes

Top talent is only on the job market for a short time -- and they expect that time to be valued and treated with respect by recruiters. The best candidates have confidence in the availability of job options, so they won't sit around passively waiting for a callback. Instead, it's on to the next!

Prevent candidates from slipping through the cracks and getting snatched up by the competition by keeping your entire hiring process as short and sweet as possible (without sacrificing quality):

  • Review your hiring process, from the initial application to post-placement check-in. How long does it normally take from the first point of contact to making a hiring decision? What are the various steps and what does it take to advance in the process?
  • Look for any bottlenecks or gaps that prevent decision making and communication with candidates. Does it take too long to complete online applications or schedule interviews?
  • Streamline processes. Get the technology or extra help you need to expedite processes, while maintaining quality. For example, if it is taking a long time to sift through received applications, investigate applicant tracking software or partner with a reputable staffing agency to relieve administrative burdens.
  • Establish an applicant follow-up communication system and adhere to it. Show candidates that you value them by keeping them in the loop:
    • Communicate with every candidate each step of the way and let them know where you are in the hiring process. Regular updates prevent candidate drop-off due to impatience and uncertainty.
    • Respond to every applicant you reject, even if it's with a standard email. Not hearing back is one of the most common candidate complaints.

Build Relationships

Think long term with each candidate. Even if he's not a perfect fit for a current opening, he can be an invaluable source of referrals -- and he may be right for a future position. So instead of cutting ties with a promising individual who you can't hire immediately:

  • Be honest and direct. If a candidate is not a good fit, respectfully let him know this instead of brushing him off (or worse -- giving a "politically correct" vague or overly positive response).
  • Share your insight. Offer truthful but constructive feedback about why the candidate is not a good fit. While you may be concerned about an uncomfortable interaction, it is actually more of a service to let the candidate know what to work on.
  • Help him become a better candidate. Job seekers are typically left not knowing why they aren't hired, so provide practical advice on how the candidate can become more employable.
  • Suggest skills to develop or classes to take, for example. While rejection is difficult, the individual will remember how well you treated him and may even reapply in the future as a stronger candidate.
  • Ask for referrals. Talented people usually know other talented people. Make it clear how much you appreciate each candidate's application, and make it easy for them to refer others to you.

Keep Public Image in Mind

With the advances in social media and other online review sites like Yelp, Google+, and Indeed Reviews, a company's public image is no longer just the marketing department's issue to handle. Candidates who have bad experiences with recruiters are more likely than ever to let others know about it.

A candidate service disagreement can quickly escalate to a public relations nightmare if a scathing review is among the first results on a search engine. Handle your candidates with care to protect the image of yourself and your company:

  • Treat every candidate interaction as if it is occurring in public. With our online society, seldom anything remains private. Don't exhibit any behavior toward candidates that you wouldn't be okay with seeing in print. A terse reply to an overly aggressive candidate can live on long after the fact if the story is retold in text for the entire world to view.
  • Monitor your online reputation regularly. Scour review sites for mentions of your firm. If you spot a dissatisfied posting, take control -- it is now an opportunity to smooth things over with the candidate, but also to demonstrate to those reading it that you care enough to do so.
  • Ask satisfied candidates to consider leaving feedback. People are more likely to believe others' opinions about your company over anything you have to say about yourself -- so take advantage! Bad reviews can be neutralized with the addition of positive ones. If a candidate expresses gratitude to you, ask if they'd be willing to write an online review to show his appreciation.

Treating your candidates like customers isn't just "nice" or "the right thing to do." It's smart business! So show your candidates some love. As the talent market continues to tighten, a consistently exceptional candidate experience will set you head and shoulders above your competitors -- and help you land the best talent, time after time.