The Cost of Poor Communication During the Hiring Process

By Jerry Wilkins on April 6, 2017

One of the most frustrating problems we are facing in today’s hot candidate market is also one of the easiest to fix: a lack of communication.

Imagine that you go on a date. Things go well, and at the end of the night, your date promises to call the next day. Instead, a week goes by, and all you hear is silence. Chances are, you’re not thinking “The date went so well that they’re putting together an elaborate plan for our second date! This is so exciting!” It’s much more likely that you’re second-guessing whether the date went well after all; you may be wondering what you did wrong, or you may even be upset at the lack of follow-through. Even if you get a call back a week or more later, the chances that you’re open to and excited about accepting a second date are slim.

Silence Isn’t Golden, But It Is Costly

Those same principles apply to poor communication during the hiring process. The reality is that when communication fails, people tend to assume the worst. If your company interviews a candidate and does not follow up in a timely manner to give feedback or determine next steps, that candidate is going to assume that you are not interested. On the other hand, if you are a candidate who does not respond promptly to interview requests or provide feedback from your end, the interviewer is going to assume that you are not fully committed to the hiring process. In both cases, the priority level for both parties drops significantly, and the chances for a successful outcome plummet. How you communicate during this initial phase of working together speaks to how you do business on a daily basis. If you are disorganized and unresponsive during the interview process, that will reflect poorly on you as a potential manager or employee.

Reap the Benefits of Good Communication

There are many benefits to developing good communication practices. First and foremost, you’ll be able to keep everyone on the same page. If both the company and the candidate know exactly when and how to expect feedback, they are less likely to lose interest or get frustrated. Open communication also demonstrates professionalism and helps build trust and respect, all of which are key to a successful business relationship. Together, you’ll be able to agree upon a clear end goal. If you’re working with a recruiter, remember from day one that you’re all on the same team. Make sure all three of you are kept up to speed, and you will cut down on misunderstandings and increase the likelihood of finding the right long-term fit.

Here’s the good news: good communication is free, and it’s simple to implement. At the beginning of an interview cycle, establish a communication policy between all the parties involved. It can be as simple as saying, “If I call or email you, I would appreciate it if you could get back to me within 24 hours. I promise I will do the same for you.” Then, follow through on that promise. It will be both time- and cost-effective for you to draw up and stick to a clear schedule for interviews, follow-ups, and hiring decisions. Whenever possible, skip the texts and pick up the phone; this personal touch increases clarity of communication and strengthens your working relationship. If you are using a third-party recruiter, I have found that it is most efficient for you to trust that person to coordinate these interactions as much as possible.

Communication Is the Key to Success

Whether you are a candidate who is looking for a great career opportunity or a company that is looking for a long-term professional on your team, communication from start to close is essential. Regardless of what side you are on in the process, do what you say you are going to do by staying true to dates, times, calls, meetings, etc. Based on my experience, I estimate that the simple act of committing to positive, consistent communication can improve your chances of securing a successful hire by up to 50%.

It is currently too competitive of a market not to communicate, and communicate well to get the best result. Once the first conversation takes place, the clock is ticking. Make sure it’s counting down to a quality, long-term hire!

The Author

Straight from the desk of

Jerry Wilkins

Jerry Wilkins

Executive Vice President

Jerry began his career at Kimmel & Associates in 2001. He earned a BS degree in Education from Western Carolina University. Upon graduation, he spent 20 years as an educator and head football coach in the public school system. The former coach’s discipline, planning, and ability to develop the talents of many around him have served Jerry well at Kimmel & Associates.