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Want to Attract Top Talent? Remember the Golden Rule

In today’s digital age, it’s easy for anyone to become a company’s advocate or critic. No matter your industry, the internet has given a new voice to the masses. 

When thinking about your company’s hiring practices, it’s crucial to consider the experience your candidates are having — from start to finish. There will come a time when they share their experiences with the people in their networks, and you want them to have good things to say.

Word Travels Fast

For companies looking to attract top talent, it’s important to recognize and understand the impact that sites like Glassdoor and Vault have on potential job candidates.

Furthermore, there’s a very real trickle-down effect that happens when candidates share their experiences on social platforms such as Facebook and Snapchat. In addition to considering a company’s work, salary and culture, candidates evaluate opportunities based on how they have been treated during the interview process. This makes it critical for companies to develop, implement and refine processes, from recruiting to onboarding, that create positive experiences.

Think about how quickly word travels within your industry. Now think about what happens when job seekers leave interviews feeling mistreated. There’s a good chance that their friends and colleagues will eventually hear about it — and that could mean future candidates swiping left on your company’s opportunities.

Candidate Experience and Employee Experience

A bad candidate experience can create the perception that working for your company would be as negative as interviewing with your company. The interview experience is often thought of as a test drive for the job itself, and if job applicants feel mistreated or left in the dark during the interview process, it’s unlikely that they will want to accept your offer. This ultimately hinders your ability to attract talent, especially in a tight market where talent is at a premium.

Say No With Respect

Always treat job applicants with respect — even those who just aren’t the right fit. Those who don’t have the right skills for a job may still know people who do. People who feel good about an employer despite not landing a job are far more likely than people who were treated dismissively to pass along a good word to friends or colleagues who are on the market.

How to Improve the Candidate Experience

Improving the candidate experience at your company is simple and doesn’t require a lot of resources. You can make improvements with small changes in the way candidates are viewed and treated. My No. 1 tip for keeping candidates engaged and happy is to always remember the Golden Rule: Treat job seekers the way you would want to be treated — or the way you would want your parent, sibling, child or best friend to be treated. By treating candidates with respect and professionalism, you’re guaranteed to make the entire process positive.

Here are some simple steps you can take to develop a strong candidate experience:

  • Overcommunicate. It’s important to be responsive and avoid the “black hole” of job applications. Professionals applying for a position at your company should always receive timely responses.
  • Set and manage expectations early on. When you’re interviewing candidates, let them know what your timeline looks like and how often you will be in touch. Whatever the response, it is crucial to have the expectations clearly outlined. The factors that give candidates negative impressions of companies vary, of course, but poor communication consistently tops the list. Job applicants expect a level of communication that they often do not get.
  • Make it clear you value their time. Do your best to make the in-person experience as seamless as possible. Candidates often take time off work to come in for interviews, so it’s inconvenient if they’re left waiting for an unreasonable amount of time or are asked to reschedule at the last minute. It sends the message that they are not valued — even if that’s not your intention.
  • Be helpful. Whenever possible, try to offer candidates a bit of free advice, even those you aren’t likely to hire. Give them tips for improving their resumes or point them in the direction of helpful blogs or websites. If they leave feeling that you were helpful, even if you didn’t hire them, it will pay off in the long run.
  • Be transparent. We hear consistently that candidates hate being strung along. If you don’t think you can work with a candidate, be honest. Most job seekers would rather interact with someone who is upfront and direct.
  • Don’t forget to listen. This may seem obvious, but hiring managers and recruiters just don’t listen more often than you would think. If a candidate expresses frustration over something that happened during the hiring process, start by listening. Let candidates tell their stories without interruption, and avoid being defensive. Then follow up with an apology — it’s almost always helpful to tell candidates that you’re sorry.

This article was originally published for CMSWire.

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