You’re sorting through hundreds of resumes and scheduling dozens of interviews when you receive yet another email from a candidate asking when you’ll make a decision. It’s tempting to just hit delete — there’s no denying the hiring process is stressful — but then you consider the candidate’s perspective. The job search is also overwhelming.
In fact, in a 2017 survey from CareerBuilder, 73 percent of job seekers said the job search was one of the most stressful times in life. Some job seekers end up burnt out and even if they’re perfect for a job, drop out of the hiring process. As a hiring professional, you have a choice: do you allow your process to contribute to candidate stress or do you actively try to alleviate it?
When you take steps to make your hiring process less cumbersome for candidates, they form a better opinion of your company and are more likely to stick it out to the end.
Here are four tips from hiring experts for how you can help prevent candidate burnout:
Check for alignment early
I had a candidate once who applied to one of our positions and I was not sure if their experience aligned perfectly. Before having them come in to interview, I wanted to chat about the position and find out if it was exactly what she was looking for. I also brought up compensation and said that I just wanted to make sure we were in the same ballpark range so that we didn’t waste her time.
The candidate was very open about what she was looking for and I was in shock. She was being completely underpaid. At the end of the conversation we decided that the position wasn’t going to be a good fit for what she wanted, but we had a great conversation about compensation.
Vanessa Brulotte, talent acquisition partner and recruiter at BambooHR
Reduce the number of interviews
One thing that causes a great deal of stress is having to come into the office for more than three interviews. I know of some companies that have candidates come in for up to seven interviews for every single position. That is a ton of interviewing and time spent stressing.
Ask the why behind every piece of your interview process. Do you need seven in-person interviews? Why? If you make candidates come in several different times, there are three negative things that are likely to happen.
- First, great candidates are taken off the market very quickly so you risk losing them. It’s competitive out there so you have to get the ball rolling.
- Second, it creates a bad candidate experience. Candidates sacrifice a lot to come in to interview, especially if they are currently working. Making them come in so many different times can put a bad taste in their mouth.
- Finally, the cost of hiring goes up for the company because of how long the process is.
The book ‘Who: The A Method for Hiring‘, by Geoff Smart and Randy Street contains 10 voodoo hiring methods that managers make the mistake of doing in their hiring process. You can totally change the candidate experience by simply paying attention. Are you asking the right types of questions? Are you utilizing the time well? Understanding the voodoo methods and figuring out which one you tend to fall into will help you change it and create a better experience.
For many job seekers, the two most stressful times are waiting for the phone to ring for the initial interview after applying for the ‘perfect’ position and waiting for the phone to ring after hearing ‘We will get back to you soon about the next steps.’
Stay in touch with the candidates, respond to their inquiries, and let them know the status in a timely manner. Even if it is just to let them know there are still more interviews being conducted, certain decision makers are unavailable, or the process is on hold for an extended period of time. It is better to know than be left in limbo. It is the ‘not knowing’ and the lack of response to inquiries that is frustrating and discouraging to candidates.
Madelyn Mackie, CCMC and career activator at MadelynMackie.com
Inform candidates who aren’t chosen sooner
Organizations should ensure timely feedback, especially for unsuccessful candidates. If a candidate hasn’t heard anything for three or more days after an interview, the prospects aren’t looking good. If someone is not suitable, organizations will have made a decision by then. But rejecting candidates is not the priority because organizations focus on the candidates they like.
Speeding this piece up can alleviate stress and improve that company’s image in the process. Often, candidates stay interested in companies far longer than they otherwise might have due to this communication.
Karla Reffold, founder and managing director of BeecherMadden