Finding qualified candidates for open positions in the strong job market we find ourselves in today can be challenging. At the management and key hire level, the number of open positions is far greater than the number of qualified candidates, who may be hesitant to switch jobs when they’re feeling secure and being paid well. As a result, once top candidates are identified, employers must be able to target, cultivate and then close them in a timely manner.
Here are a five tips to keep candidates engaged in your hiring process:
1. Set Realistic Expectations
When talking with candidates, provide a realistic description of the position. Not only is this the right thing to do, most candidates would rather know the positives and negatives of a position during the recruiting process rather than being surprised when they start a new role. Talk candidly about growth opportunities and challenges. Candidates will sniff out marketing speak and hyperbole from a mile away, so be honest!
2. Share Your Company Culture
Make sure candidates have an opportunity to learn about your company culture. Provide opportunities for candidates to talk with multiple people about the organization and how it is unique. Tell stories that will give candidates a feel for your organization. Even better, provide opportunities in the recruiting process for candidates to experience your culture first hand. For example, give the candidate a tour of the office. Show him or her your common areas. Introduce him/her to people in the organization — the way you would if he/ she was starting work there. This helps the candidate imagine what it would actually be like to work for you.
3. Interviewing Is A Two-Way Street
Don’t make the mistake of focusing solely on whether a candidate is the right fit for a position while neglecting to consider if the position is the right fit for the candidate. During the recruiting process, it is key to find out your candidate’s interests and goals. Offer opportunities for candidates to ask questions and to learn as much as they can about your organization. This allows the candidate to discern if the position is the right fit for them.
4. Be Responsive
Keep candidates updated on progress throughout the recruiting process. If a candidate reaches out to you with a question, provide a timely response. Make every effort to keep the recruiting process moving forward. If there is a delay in the process, continue communicating with candidates regarding the position status. Regular, honest communication will help to keep candidates engaged; on the flip side, process delays can result in a strong candidate who loses interest or accepts another position with your competitor!
5. Show Appreciation
Give sincere appreciation to candidates for participating in the recruiting process. Candidates invest a significant amount of time in the recruiting process, and employers should appreciate this investment. Have you ever thought of sending a thank you letter to the candidate, instead of him/her sending one to you?
As you prepare to recruit your next top talent, review your hiring process and see how candidate-friendly it is. Put yourself in the candidate's shoe. Ask yourself: "If I was considering changing jobs, what would I be looking for from my hiring company?" By building these five elements into your recruiting process, you will have more success keeping candidates engaged, and thereby put yourself in a position to make an offer that your ideal candidate can not refuse!