The recruiting process sets the tone for job candidates’ relationships with an employer. And as with any great relationship, communication is key. In order to create a positive experience for job seekers, it’s important for recruiters to communicate in a friendly, yet effective manner.
However, it seems candidate’s don’t feel like most recruiters are doing a great job in that respect. A 2016 study from CareerArc found that 65 percent of job seekers say they rarely or never hear back after applying for a job.
Maybe it’s time to get back to the basics. Here are five experts’ advice on communication techniques to avoid during the recruiting process:
1. Using ineffective communication methods
The best way to communicate with candidates during the interview process is by phone or video. There is no other way, besides in person, to completely and smartly listen to someone. Truthfully, almost no one has the time to meet, especially if you are working with out-of-state candidates, making phone or video the best of the best.
When reading and replying to emails, the reader tends to add their own tone and commentary, which at times can be way off base. In order to also make sure they understand the process, to answer their questions, and to of course, find out if they are interviewing somewhere else, phone or video is the best option. And it will help you gain the trust of your candidate.
2. Keeping candidates in the dark
Candidates simply like to feel informed about next steps and items they need to do in preparation. They must feel comfortable and supported enough to reach out with questions. Typically, candidates do not mind one reach-out a day or more. The job search process is scary enough without feeling in the dark. Candidates mainly want to know what the next steps are and tips about how to prepare for what’s coming.
3. Infrequent communication
The biggest mistake a professional could make when communicating with candidates is to communicate infrequently. The hiring process is one of the most important interactions that a candidate will have with an organization.
When a professional doesn’t communicate frequently with a candidate or when a candidate feels that they have to track down their point-of-contact for the hiring process, this may leave the candidate with a negative perception of the company. This, in turn, can lead to decreased morale and a negative outlook about the company before the candidate even starts. Because it is important that candidates start work with a positive outlook, professionals must be sure to communicate with candidates as frequently as they are able to.
4. Leading candidates on
The biggest mistake recruiters and hiring managers make is signaling a next step that does not ultimately materialize. This erodes trust and creates noise in your employer brand, and perhaps in your consumer or B2B brand. Only commit to what you can deliver. If you are the recruiter and you are going to present the candidate’s resume to the hiring manager, just say that, don’t hint that the candidate will be invited in for an interview until you are ready to book an appointment.
If you are the hiring manager, don’t say that an offer is coming if you know that the offer has to go through an internal approval process. Instead, tell the candidate that she is your lead candidate, and that you are working internally to propose a draft offer and seek required approvals from your boss, finance, and HR. Make sure that each touch point for the candidate is a milestone closer to getting hired or a polite sign-off.
James Celentano, Founder, EnterGain LLC
5. Impersonal communication
The communication should always include the name of the candidate with a greeting, as well as reference the opportunity the candidate is seeking (e.g. job title) and the name of the employer.
In this age of automation and mass emailing of application status updates, applicant tracking systems do include basic personalization capabilities. Organizations that care about promoting a positive employment brand will go to great lengths to customize the communication process so that it creates an engaging experience for the individual.
What are some other communication mistakes that happen during the recruiting process? Share in the comments below!