How Recruiters Can Better Manage Job Seeker Expectations – Part 1

From the moment a candidate clicks on a job posting, visits a company careers page or corresponding social profile, and applies for a job, they have an expectation of what happens next as part of the candidate and employer relationship. If the right expectations aren’t established right away, the two parties can diverge pretty quickly, which results in frustration, anger, and other miscommunications.

These miscommunications can lead to lower candidate offer acceptance rates and job seekers withdrawing themselves from the recruiting process. The biggest opportunity to set the right expectations when it comes to effective communication and engagement between candidates and employers is during the interview and selection process.

Your Recruiting Process Sets the Stage for Every Employment Interaction with Your Company

Your recruiting and hiring process sets the stage for the employee-employer relationship to come. It’s a crucial first impression for both parties that creates expectations for every single employment interaction, from training to leadership to employee engagement, going forward.  Ensuring that you make the right first impression and start the employer-relationship relationship off on the right foot is no different expecting a candidate to arrive at an interview dressed in a suit and tie versus their workout clothes

I’m not suggesting that you set unrealistic expectations although a large number of employers actually do. According to a 2013 study by Glassdoor, 61% of employees say the realities of their new job differ from expectations set during the interview process. Employers should be honest, upfront and realistic about their hiring and recruiting processes and timelines.

The problem here isn’t just that good candidates can be left hanging in a drawn out hiring and recruiting process, but that all candidates have expectations of you that should be actively shaped and managed. One of the most important parts of the hiring and onboarding process is introducing candidates to your company culture and processes, shaping their expectations for what is to come by reflecting it in those first interactions.

When candidates get soured on you because of a slow hiring process or even just crossed wires, it can have a bad impact on your brand or your ability to hire and retain the best. But all it takes to solve this problem is a little planning and communication.

Provide Ongoing Communication to Your Job Candidate

In order to recruit the best candidates and build a solid and sustainable talent network of potential future hires and alumni, you need to manage job seeker expectations throughout the hiring process. But in order to that, you first need to manage and keep on top of things. Having a smooth hiring process without bumps in the road is the first and most important step in managing candidate expectations – you can’t manage them until you’ve managed yourself.

A slow hiring process creates opportunities for your top hiring candidates to look elsewhere. But more fundamentally it leaves all of your applicants in a state of anxious anticipation that can easily turn to bitterness. That can have a long term impact on your ability to hire the kind of people that you want, especially since candidates are increasingly relying on employer review sites and their personal networks to vet employers prior to accepting a job offer.

Start by creating a strong and detailed recruiting process defining specific milestones and points where the recruiter will follow up, message or touch base with the candidate. The second step is to put that process into action and meet recruiting goals and timelines. Recruiters should think about their hiring processes like a series of project management activities centered around hiring and recruitment.

Recruiting project management technologies, like Comeet, remind you and your team of crucial decision and communication points. Set and assign team members (or yourself!) to follow up with interviewees. Establish deadlines for completing reference checks or making the final decision to hire – and stick to them. The first step in managing candidate expectations is managing your own work.

This is part 1 of a three part series that dives deeper into managing candidate communications as part of the hiring and recruiting process.

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