A corporate recruiter is typically the first point of communication a candidate will have with your company — and you know what they say about first impressions. As a recruiter you are the face of the company, and it is important for you to provide a positive candidate experience throughout the recruiting and hiring process. After all, you want candidates spreading positive buzz, not chorror stories.

To ensure candidates are going through the best experience possible, follow these four suggestions:

4 keys to providing a positive candidate experience

Respect the Candidate’s Time

Be flexible and considerate. Your “typical” hours may be 9am – 5pm, but if a candidate can only speak early in the morning or after work, either arrive a little early, stay late, or try to catch them on a lunch break.

A lot of great candidates are currently employed and are not exceptionally available throughout the day. In addition, make sure you schedule phone interviews. Even if a candidate actively applied, schedule at least one day out in order to give him or her time to prepare and conduct any necessary research to interview properly.

Lay Out the Next Steps

Make sure candidates are aware of:

  • The typical length of the process and the length of interviews (ex: some hiring managers may prefer one full day interview and that is important to note from the start)
  • The stages of the interview process (ex: phone interview, in-person interview, final interview)
  • Who they will be speaking with during each stage

By setting these expectations, candidates won’t be left in the dark about their status. It will also save time on both ends if they don’t feel the need to constantly check in about next steps. Another recent OpenView blog goes into more detail on how to create a positive experience once candidates are invited in for an interview.

Receive Critical Feedback and Relay the Information

As my colleague Carlie recently blogged about, establishing a feedback loop from the get-go with hiring managers is critical.

In addition to enhancing your sourcing efforts, prompt feedback from hiring managers allows you to alert candidates who are waiting to hear back about their status sooner. It’s not the best experience if after a first interview it takes a month to find out they have not been considered, or even are wanted in for another round. Think about it – a candidate is typically excited at the prospect of a new job opportunity, but if she takes the time and effort to interview and then…..radio silence? It’s not a good look.

Of course, even the most consistent feedback loop will have its flaws. The best way to handle lack of hiring manager feedback (on the candidate side), is to keep candidates “warm”. Check in and let them know they are still being considered, but that you are still waiting on official feedback from the hiring manager. You can also use this as an opportunity to gauge the candidate’s interest level and keep them excited about the job opportunity.

Provide Timely Rejections

On that same note, it is critical to let all candidates you have been in contact with know once a job has been filled or they are no longer being considered for it. The best way to go about rejections is to create a template. It is nice to make rejections personalized, but there are certain compliance issues you do not want to cross the line on. For example, it is actually illegal to tell a candidate he or she has too much experience, or that the hiring manager decided to go with a candidate who lives closer.

Usually the best way to avoid any red tape is to thank the candidate for his time and interest, and explain that the hiring manager decided to move forward with a candidate whom they believed best qualified for the job. If he probes, it’s okay to let him know you actually do not have any details or further information, but will certainly keep him in mind for any future job openings.

By following these guidelines, a candidate will likely only have good things to say about your company even if he or she didn’t get the job. And at the end of the day, that’s the overall goal — to create a positive experience that will then create an overall positive view of your company.

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