Employers today face a changed hiring landscape. Now, despite best efforts, employers are finding that people scheduled for interviews—even later rounds—simply don’t show up about half the time. And even of those who are offered a position or hired, many don’t come in for their first day. It makes recruiting even more difficult.
One thing employers can try to get more applicants to stay for the whole process is to improve their communication. Let’s take a look at a few communication tips specific to the hiring process:
- Communicate often. People like to know where they stand in the process, even if the update is just to say that there’s no change in status yet but they’re still in the running.
- Tell someone when he or she has not been selected, no matter the stage in the process. This includes telling the applicants who are not contacted for an initial interview that they will not be progressing in the hiring process.
- If you do not get a response with one type of communication method (such as calling), try others, like texting or e-mailing. Consider communicating via more than one method for every message you send to ensure the message is received quickly. (This can also ensure you don’t leave someone out who does not utilize a particular type of technology; not everyone texts, for example.)
- Be professional, even if an applicant is not. This will impact your future employment brand—especially because there are a lot of ways for applicants today to leave online reviews of prospective employers. New applicants read these reviews when considering your organization.
- Be prompt. Things move fast in this market. If you don’t communicate and respond quickly, the chances increase that the candidate will no longer be available by the time you do. This tip is relevant at every stage of the process. Try to keep candidates engaged every step of the way.
- Provide information about the organization. While most candidates will be able to search for more info, it’s useful to provide it upfront. It’s even better if your online information shows what it’s like to work at the organization.
- If you find the organization is inundated with more applicants than can be replied to personally, consider using forms of mass communication or automated options to assist and ensure each person is still reached.
- Personalize the communications whenever possible. If you have options, go for the one that is more personal, such as a phone call rather than an e-mail when appropriate. The extra personal touch stands out. When everything else is automated, that personal communication can be a point of differentiation.
- Tone matters. Appropriate tone will convey professionalism and warmth to prospective employees. Tone is tougher to achieve in written communications, so it’s a good idea to have messages proofread by others to be sure they won’t be misinterpreted.
- Be clear, especially about expectations, details, and instructions.
Not only does good candidate communication help with hiring and retention, but it can also even impact sales.
Many times, applicants are also customers, which means a bad experience can make someone not only not want to take a job with the organization but also perhaps not even buy from it anymore.
Bridget Miller is a business consultant with a specialized MBA in International Economics and Management, which provides a unique perspective on business challenges. She’s been working in the corporate world for over 15 years, with experience across multiple diverse departments including HR, sales, marketing, IT, commercial development, and training.