The Key to Candidate Experience

No news means good news, is that really always true in the recruitment process?

You are probably wondering what I mean by this statement?  Well as a seasoned recruiter I know the famous last words are (or at least one lot) “I will let you know the outcome, whatever”. How many times have you been left in the lurch?

The days and weeks pass by and still no feedback from your CV submission, the conversation you had with the recruiter or even the interview you had with the client.  It makes me mad, and some of our fellow in-house recruiters are the worst culprits (yes you know who you are!). The trick to beating this thing is C O M M U N I C A T I O N.  Its meaning is as follows:

Communication – a Noun

  1. The imparting or exchanging of information or news.

  2. A letter or message containing such news or information.

We all have busy lives and find ourselves relying more and more on email and text. It is also becoming more acceptable to use these methods in order to communicate with out candidates, and even our clients, rather than picking up the phone as we used to do. Candidates are always the ones who get left out in the cold, having no clue as to whether the client has any interest in them. A lot of the time they really don’t even know if their CV has been downloaded off the latest all singing all dancing candidate tracking system. All it takes is a few simple words and communicating is oh so easy.

Communication is a vital part of a good recruitment process. Its effective use can make or break relationships at all stages. We use it to make contact with candidates and clients. We keep them all posted with updates throughout the process. We say ‘thank you for your CV’ or ‘thank you but not this time’. We communicate to arrange interviews. We tell the client when the candidate is no longer interested in the job, or when the client is no longer interested in the candidate. We give feedback after an interview. We communicate the offer details, and we tell the team that there is someone new starting. All these tasks require some sort of communication. Some forms of communication are better suited than others, or several different forms of communication may be used to deliver the same message. A phone call and then an email to confirm the details; this is now very standard practice in recruitment. Whichever you use, you are imparting or exchanging information or news with others.  As they long as they are clear and concise and deliver the required message, then you can be assured that your method of communication has been successful. So, why is it that so many of us fail to communicate properly? Are we lazy, do we not want to pass the latest update to the candidate, do we not have the right information to pass on, and so the list goes on. Select any one of these, and it really does not matter. What is important is that we communicate either way when we know something, or we still communicate - even when we don’t know something.

The saying “no news means good news” is never that simple in recruitment; usually it means negative news, or something that your candidate or client probably do not wish to hear. Either way, it is our job to deliver that message by communicating. With the added bonus of all this wonderful technology around us there really is no excuse not to communicate. I have recently sent out a number of emails, or called individuals with negative news – i.e. thanks but no thanks, on this occasion. The number of thank you’s that I have receive always amazes me, but it makes it all worthwhile, as I know that I communicated with that person, so they know exactly where they stand.  Timing is also massively important. Why delay telling a candidate that they didn’t get the job, or they won’t be getting an interview. The longer you leave it the worse it gets, and really all that our candidates or clients want is some good old fashioned communication. I always try to work with one principal on this, (other than communicating to everyone in one way or another) and that is to communicate before I am asked to, i.e. get there first! Don’t do tomorrow, what you can do today.

The benefits of communicating will pretty much always outweigh the detriment. Firstly it is only courteous to give your candidate an update on where they are, especially if you have promised it. Secondly, even if you give someone news that they would prefer not to hear, then they will respect you for the fact that you have given them something, and you will have a candidate you can contact again in the future, thus creating your talent pipeline.

Communication is a great way to protect your brand. If your candidates have a great experience and you have communicated all the way through, then they are almost always going to say good things about you. They won’t even worry that they didn’t get the job, or even the interview, but they will remember that you communicated with them all the way through and will not think twice about praising your brand. It doesn’t matter whether you are a locally based business or one of the FTSE 500, it is all the same. The detriment of not communicating with clients and candidates alike is that they will then come to their own conclusion about you as an operator. Your employer brand could easily be damaged, after all we all know how quickly bad news travels and sticks especially in the social media age. Candidates become very disillusioned and will never want to hear from you again. Clients will feel undervalued and the damage caused will be much harder to repair. Fortunately it appears some organisations are aware of the value of improving communication.

In the increasingly demanding recruitment environment where talent is becoming harder to identify, we as recruiters need to ensure that communicating is at the heart of every client and candidate relationship, for the benefit of future business and for the sake of being courteous and fair to our candidates. Identifying talent and formulating a talent pipeline takes time and to allow it to lose its value by communicating poorly in this way should be criminal. Be courteous and communicate efficiently and you will have happy clients and happy candidates who want to talk to you again and again. 
So then, no news is not good news.


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