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Improving the Candidate Experience: Communication is Key

Posted by James Patrick Kahler on August 15, 2014

The clock is ticking. You hit the refresh button on your computer multiple times and there’s still no reply. What gives?

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This is the feeling most job candidates experience while going through the interview process with a company. It’s an uncomfortable feeling that can be off-putting, giving candidates a negative outlook towards that company. Why does this happen? As the Captain from Cool Hand Luke once said, “What we got here is…failure to communicate.”

The candidate experience is so important during the hiring process. Poor communication with a candidate reflects a company’s reputation negatively; which can potentially cause a wildfire of undesirable PR on the Internet.

So, how can hiring managers avoid this situation with candidates?

Since we can’t interview Paul Newman, we decided to talk with our very own Director of Marketing (and experienced interviewer), Erin Borgerson, for some communication tips with job candidates during the interview process.

Q&A with Erin Borgerson

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Hireology: What’s the most important key to communication with candidates in-between interviews? 

Erin: Timing! Always be prompt with your responses to candidates and never keep them waiting. This is for two reasons: 1. It's respectful, they are looking for a job and your company might be a dream position for them and not responding promptly will put a bad taste in their mouth. 2. If you delay your responses to candidates they may accept another job offer or assume you aren't interested.

Let’s say you have a great candidate that you like, but isn’t quite qualified as another or simply isn’t the best fit for the job. However, since you are impressed with the candidate and would like to consider he or she for another position in the future, how do communicate with that person? 

I am always honest. I reach out and tell them that other candidates have the exact experience we are looking for so we won't be moving ahead in the process with them, however we would like to keep their information on file for future positions.

Do you have an example of this situation? If so, please share.

Before we had the funds to hire a graphic designer on full-time, we were interviewing interns. One intern candidate was a great culture fit but didn't have the experience we were looking for, so we hired another candidate and passed her off to our sister company. When the internship ended, we were looking for a full-time graphic design hire, and ended up hiring the intern that we originally turned down. If she hadn't been accepting and thankful to our honest rejection initially, she would never have secured a job 6 months later.

What are some red flags of candidates, with regards to communication, during the in-between part of the hiring process? 

Candidates who don't respond within 24-hours of an email, candidates who email a response to a phone call, candidates who are too pushy and call daily to see if you are interested in them.

What communication advice do you have for Hiring Managers with candidates during the interview process? 

Be prompt, timely, honest, and thorough ALWAYS!

 

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Interviewing Help, Recruiting, Hiring Tips, Hiring


James Patrick Kahler

About the Author

James Patrick Kahler is Hireology’s Copywriter & Content Specialist. He is a graduate of the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University and has over four years of professional experience writing for various industries. Outside of the office (and sometimes inside), he has a passion for comedy, advertising and his Cleveland sports teams…all of them.