Treating Candidates like Customers is the Key to a Successful TA Strategy

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December 9, 2020

Improving the Candidate Experience

Hiring new employees can be a lengthy and rudimentary process for many companies. With that said, we often overlook the value of providing a positive candidate experience before, during, and after the interview and subsequent hiring process.

For candidates, their experiences with an organization during the hiring process speak volumes about their perception of the environment and directly reflect how the organization operates if they land the opportunity to join. It will leave a certain impression that can positively or negatively affect a company’s reputation.

How can we improve our own candidate experiences? Below, we’ll be exploring ways that we as employers can improve the hiring process and leave positive impressions on prospective team members.

Providing A Positive Interview Experience

Interviews assess whether a candidate is a right fit for a job, but it can also be a chance for an interviewer to leave a positive first impression on behalf of the company.

A positive interview experience can give us the competitive advantage in landing candidates we’re interested in hiring, while a negative one will be harmful to our reputation and hiring efforts for years to come.

Create a Welcoming Atmosphere

While an interview might just be 30 minutes out of our day, it is likely the biggest part of an interviewee’s week. Most are going to be nervous or apprehensive about the interview itself.

Providing a welcoming interview atmosphere allows us to highlight the positive aspects of our work environment, and in doing so, portrays utmost respect for each person’s candidacy, and by extension, each employee that works for the company.

Provide Detailed Information

As hiring professionals, we’re responsible for providing candidates with all the necessary information about their interview prior to it taking place. This means giving them the correct address in advance, sharing who they will be speaking with, and/or sending the correct video conference link. Details matter, it shows the team is organized which is a reflection of how the work environment will presumably be if they ended up joining the team.

Be Timely

Always try to be on time. Candidates, like customers, have many other options and companies to choose from. Being timely proves that you respect their time. Don’t give them any reasons to think otherwise.

Every Touchpoint Matters

Making sure that we create a great first impression after hiring someone is extremely important to keep our reputations intact. It first starts with contacting the new hire right away, either through email or through a phone call.

Congratulating them on the offer and asking if they need time to make a decision on accepting is important. It shows our willingness to be flexible and sensitive to their current work situation, relocation details, or other opportunities they are considering. The offer stage is a balance of pleasant persistence and flexibility.

Once the job is accepted, delivering onboarding materials to get them on our team as soon as possible. Try not to bombard them with information, as we don’t want to be the type of company that overloads new hires.

Above all, provide positive reinforcement. We’re glad to have them join, and our team is excited to welcome them in. Doing so will contribute to a positive impression for the team, decrease ramp-up time, and increase productivity out of the gates.

Rescheduling Interviews the Right Way

Whether it be a scheduling error or a last-minute emergency, sometimes an interview needs to be rescheduled. While this may seem like a mundane task for us, it is important for us to remember that the candidate has put a lot of stock into the interview.

When it comes to rescheduling the right way, it can be as simple as choosing the right words. Using the word ‘Cancel’ can immediately scare a candidate because of its negative connotation. The word to use here is “reschedule.”

Canceling something typically makes us feel uncertain, insecure, perhaps even anxious. Rescheduling something feels much less detrimental and more like a restart.

If interviews need to be canceled on our end, it is imperative to let prospects know as soon as possible, and provide a valid reason. Failing to do so will cause irreparable damage to our hiring efforts moving forward.

If a candidate chooses to reschedule on their end, we should be following up immediately to find another time that works for both parties. The more time it takes to follow up and reschedule an interview, the less probability we have of landing this person.

Closing the Loop

Whether or not candidates are the right fit for an opportunity, it is imperative that we close the loop on every interview. One of the biggest complaints from candidates during the interview process is never hearing back from a company after spending their time interviewing. As employers, we have a responsibility to keep the first impression of our company and brand a positive one. If a candidate is not the right fit and we fail to close the loop, besides the negative feedback that will ensue to the community at large, we also risk losing customers. While we typically don’t view candidates as prospective customers, it’s a very real possibility that we are damaging the reputation of our brand to this person or someone in close proximity, in failing to close the loop in a timely manner.

While getting rejected is never a positive experience, most of us will retain a positive impression towards a company that was transparent about their selection process.

Land the Best Talent Today

Providing a great candidate experience is critical to the success of our businesses. We spend a lot of time, resources, and money on marketing, PR, and community outreach to project a positive image of our companies. If we fail at the tactical level to keep that image pristine, we are wasting valuable time and resources to start with. Having a strong talent acquisition strategy in place at a high level and at the tactical level is key to landing the right candidates and keeping a sustainable retention rate. Treating your candidates like customers through the entire talent acquisition lifecycle will bring the company exponential success in more ways than one.