In today’s candidate-tight market, it is more important than ever to streamline your company’s hiring process and present an offer to desirable candidates in a timely manner. However, that is not always possible. Sometimes the size of your company, the complexity of the position, or the availability of your hiring managers can mean that the hiring process lasts for several weeks or more. In cases like this, the best thing you can do to keep candidates interested in and enthusiastic about your opportunity is to prepare them for your estimated timeline and keep an open line of communication throughout the entire hiring process.
Set Clear Expectations
At the very beginning of the hiring process, you should have a clear plan for how long the hiring process will take. If a candidate knows from the beginning that they can expect updates at predetermined dates and times, they are more likely to handle extended wait times with more patience and less frustration. For particularly motivated candidates, you may even be able to request an agreement wherein they will not interview with other companies until your hiring team has reached a decision. An informed candidate is a happy candidate, when it comes to the hiring process.
No News is NOT Good News
No matter what your reasons are for staying quiet during the hiring process, the reality is that no one assumes the best from silence. If you have not followed up with a candidate within 24 to 48 hours of a conversation, the candidate is going to start thinking that you are not interested in their candidacy. They might move on to new interviews, or they might simply become frustrated from the lack of information. Either way, your chances of successfully hiring an enthusiastic new employee have plummeted. Stay in "courting" mode throughout the process, and continually remind candidates of your interest. At a minimum, you need to be in touch with all prospective candidates on a weekly basis to keep them up-to-date on hiring decisions and other relevant information.
Be a Team Player
Whether you are working with a third-party recruiter or an internal talent acquisition team, your lack of communication during this critical period can put the middleman in an awkward position. If a recruiter is required to continually reassure a candidate of interest on your part, it is only a matter of time before trust unravels. The goal is for hiring managers, recruiters, and candidates to work as a team, and when one team member is not pulling his or her weight, it puts strain on everyone else. When trust erodes, there is very little chance of earning it back by the time an offer is extended. Even if the candidate accepts an offer, you risk starting off on the wrong foot.
Competition is Fierce
In this construction market, it is unlikely that your company is the only one interested in a strong candidate. When you put off making a decision, you increase the chances that someone else is going to pursue or even submit an offer to the candidate. This can undermine any offer you do decide to extend, and you may need to increase your starting salary or improve your benefits package in order to stay competitive. Staying in regular contact with the candidate can help prevent them from window-shopping with other firms before your offer is submitted.
Keeping an open line of communication is a simple way to ensure that the hiring process goes as smoothly as possible, even when the process needs to take longer than either party would prefer. The more you communicate your interest and progress to the candidate, the better your chances of hiring an enthusiastic employee at a price that fits your budget.