The Candidate Experience!!!
Some time ago, about a month, I put on my blog a post about "The Candidate Experience". The gist of it was that for varying reason allot of companies and people have forgotten about it. For varying reasons, they have been treating candidates poorly. It starts with just being rude on the phone, to not following up or communicating with the candidate. I myself have been a victim of this and other poor treatment at the hands of companies, recruiters, and hiring authorities who seem to feel that they can do whatever they want. I am telling them here and now that it will come back to haunt them, whether it is simply a posting on "Glassdoor"(a site where you can post your feelings and insights on companies and their interviewing) or just a totally disregard for your openings. Word will get around, and you will have what I call the "The Employer of Dischoice" syndrome. Basically it is the opposite of being an "Employer of Choice", that everyone wants to work for. Instead you will be the employer none wants to work for. This is not a good place to be.
So once again below is my feelings on how to treat a candidate and ensure that, even if you do not hire them, they will still view you as an "Employer of Choice".
The candidates experience is one of the most important parts of recruiting and staffing. You must remember the experience a candidate has interviewing(this includes phone interviews) will go a long way in determining whether the candidate would accept an offer. The key is to remember as much as we are interviewing the candidate, the candidate is also interviewing us. Of course we must also remember that the candidate will tell others of their experience, and those others will tell still others and so on. A bad candidate experience can go a long way to defining what the reputation a company will have with regards to recruiting and such.
It all starts with the first call or email. You need to be sure you are polite, professional and positive, or as I call it the 3 P's of first contact. Be sure to not read from a script, ensure you make the candidate feel you are thrilled to talk with them, genuine and excited about your company. Make sure you find a connection with the candidate, this will help you gain their trust and make asking questions so much easier.
The next step in the candidates experience is either next interviews or having to tell them no:
If you have to tell a candidate no, be sure to try and do it over the phone not in email. Try to not do it on a Friday or a day before a holiday. Wait till the following work day. Trust me telling a candidate no, will bring them down, the last thing you want to do is ruin their weekend or holiday. Believe me they will appreciate it. Make sure when you tell them no, you give them as much info as you can. Of course some things you cannot and should not say, but you can let them down gently. Of course here is where you can really score some major positive candidate experience points. Besides just telling then no, and telling them as much as you can. Go a step further. Answer any questions as best you can, even go so far as to help them with career advice, resume writing, interviewing techniques. In other words put on your career counseling hat. It may sound like a huge investment in a candidate you turned down, but trust me "what goes around, come around". I have done this allot and have been rewarded in allot of ways for it. anything from, just knowing you helped someone, to a nice thank you email or card, to being recommended to other candidates, and more. Remember treat everyone the way you would want to be treated. Above all make sure you get back with the candidate. Do not just let them hang, thinking they will figure it out. Even in this economy with so many candidates you want to let everyone you interview know their status. If not it will come back to bite you. The economy and candidate pool , are like the tide, there is high tide (lots of candidates), and there are low tides ( few candidates). Trust me candidates will remember and will talk. So when low tide comes, if you treated them bad, you will struggle to get them willing to interview.
Now on to the next step candidates. The candidates that come in for face to face interviews require the most amount of attention. Prior to actually coming in you should , provide them some interview coaching, as much info on the job, team, interviewers as you can. In other words set them up for success as much as you can. Make sure if they are from out of town, their transportation, rooms, etc.. are all taken care of. Whether local or out of town ensure they have their schedule in advance. Try to be the first person on the interview schedule. Be sure to try to relax them as you interview them. remind them to turn cell phones off, see if they need a drink or anything. As I said earlier treat them the way you would want to be treated. Tell them what to expect from their experience. Make sure when it is time you walk them to the first interview and introduce them. Ensure that each interviewer will do the same for the following interview and that at the end they are brought back to you. When they are brought to you at the end of the interviews, ask them how it was? Alleviate any fears or concerns they might have. Make sure you let them know what comes next and when they might hear from you.
So you have a decision. If it is a no, follow the same guidelines as what you did for a no after a phone screen. If it is yes. Then you need to make the offer and again, just treat the candidate the way you would want to be treated.
Now every company should have an on-boarding process(see blog on subject). A recruiters involvement varies, but remember at a minimum you should check in with your new hire with in the first 90 days.
Follow these guidelines and you can count on your candidate having a great experience. Remember the key with the candidate experience is to "treat each candidate the way you would want to be treated", do that and you will be golden.