There are many stages of communication along the candidate's path to being hired. A candidate will be reading messages through email, social media sites, job boards, applications, pre-screening paperwork, interviewing, and as they onboard to their next employer.
Even after being hired, a candidate's communication cycle continues... up to and including resignation. That's why it's important to look to others (internally and externally) to help optimize how we engage our candidates throughout their employment journey.
There a three critical contributors to help create a better candidate experience: The Candidate, The Internal Players, and The Future Alumni. Let's now consider how best to communicate a message that resonates with our candidate/employee.
Let's take a look at how we are talking with our candidates. Are the sourcing and recruiting processes transparent? Are we being proactive in the outreach and follow-up segments of the hiring process?
The idea of "closing the loop" is a great way to think about your communication strategy with candidates. As a candidate takes action in your recruiting process (i.e., visit your career site, apply for a job, interview with a hiring manager, etc.) they should receive an appropriate reaction from your company at each point. Whether it's a customized automated response or a personal email from a recruiter or hiring manager, these types of communications tell the candidate that you notice and appreciate their interest. It also enables you to set up what will happen next in the process, and therefore keep that interest level up.
The best communications will set proper expectations for candidates: frequency of contact once they join your talent network; who they can expect communication from; and a potential timeline of each stage of the hiring process.
While communication with candidates is important, it's also essential to be on the same page with our hiring managers and internal business partners. We need to remember that hiring managers are ultimately our clients for talent acquisition. The better we understand their needs and communicate with them throughout the hiring process, the better the experience will be for both the business and the candidate. We need to give the internal players a sneak peak into the candidate's journey, before the resume lands on the hiring mangers desk.
So what does this internal communication look like? First, prior to beginning your recruiting project, you should set up a meeting with the hiring manager. This meeting should cover job expectations, performance expectations, personal characteristics, and a detailed account of the job functions and qualifications needed. Second, this meeting should be a review of the company culture, and the unique benefits of working at your company. Finally, review all that is covered prior to the interview with the decision maker; this is the sneak peak. This entire process should be spelled out prior to the candidate's arrival. The last thing you want is a meeting where not everyone is on the same page.
There are a lot of companies who still do not know how to treat team members who are leaving their company. If this is you, then it's time for HR to implement change in the exit communication process. The candidate experience, despite its name, does not end when a candidate turns into an employee–it spans the full lifetime between that individual and the organization. The candidate who became an employee, and then retires... may continue to refer qualified talent and be an advocate for your company. The same goes for an employee who had a seamless and warm resignation. However, an employee who had a great hiring experience, and a few great years, can quickly change their tune if your company shows resentment or worse, apathy, during their exit.
Communication guidelines are key to developing a clear and valuable employee exit process. Ensure the transition and terms are reasonable, provide the employee a forum for feedback, and offer ways to keep in touch if they're interested. Overall, after a candidate has moved on, you should feel comfortable reaching out to them for future opportunities. This can go a long way to building up your employer brand and overall reputation as an employer. Plus, you never know when their skills, or experiences could be needed again.
The organizations that focus on communication and connection with potential, current and past candidates can truly affect their business results and company culture.
M4 Workforce Solutions is a specialized recruiting firm focused on engineering, technical, and office professionals. For direct hire and contract hiring needs please visit our website or contact me directly.
--Posted by Kelly McCool, Managing Director at M4 Workforce Solutions.
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