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Bad news is better than no news

November 29, 2016

By Keisha Ward, courtesy of SBAM Approved Partner ASE

As a recruiter I spend a large portion of my day speaking with candidates.  I take pride in getting to know each candidate’s background, career goals and motivation.  To better understand my candidates, I ask a variety of questions. One of my go-to questions is “How are things going for you in today’s job market?”  This allows me to learn more about their “candidate experience.”  I am usually not surprised by the responses received. However, I recently took notice of a recurring response. After speaking with hundreds of applicants I have found that the area of most concern is surprisingly, not the length of time it takes to find a job but rather, the lack of follow-up from recruiters and/or hiring managers.

Job seekers are people too.
Someone once said, we should treat people the way you want to be treated and this simple guideline applies to candidate follow-up as well.  Think of the process you went through during your last job search.  As an applicant, the moment we receive a call to schedule an in-person interview planning immediately begins.  Candidates have to make arrangements to meet with hiring managers and prepare mentally and physically for a successful interview.  They invest time and money to attend the meeting and in some cases, they are risking their current jobs to be there.  

Feedback is a must.
Candidates are interested in your company for various reasons and interviewing – if done correctly, should increase the candidate’s level of interest.  Hiring managers should understand that the “Am I hired?” clock starts from the moment they leave the office.  They want to know how well they performed and most importantly, will an offer follow.  If there is no follow-up, candidates will start to think the worst.  After two weeks of no feedback, negative feelings towards the company will surface. These negative opinions can come up in casual conversations with others or even in a social media rant.  

The company brand is at stake.  
Hiring managers and recruiters are the face of the organization according to job applicants.  If these representatives do not follow-up and leave them hanging, candidates assume that the organization does not respect or appreciate its employees.  

How can we do a better job of following up?
We are all very busy, especially in this competitive market.  It’s easy to move on quickly and focus on the candidates that will receive an offer – leaving the other candidates to wonder.  Glassdoor suggests “closing the loop as soon as humanly possible.”   A personal approach is key to gently closing the door yet salvaging a relationship that could be revisited for another position down the line.   However, if time does not permit a warm and friendly phone call or a hand crafted email, your ATS system should be able to assist by producing auto generated responses that can be used to follow up.  Some systems are equipped to customize messages and send multiple emails at one time.  Taking this extra step will put candidates at ease and shows that your organization respects not only its active employees but also potential employees.   

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