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Hiring Mangers, Here’s Why You Always Have to Close the Loop with Your Job Candidates

It’s probably the most common complaint we hear from candidates: They submit their resume to an employer, but receive no response. They visit the company for interviews, follow up as promised, and receive no response. They email or call the hiring manager and HR to check on the status of their application and receive no response.

Think of it from their point of view: They’ve worked hard to prepare for their interviews, put in hours researching your company, your industry and even the people they’re scheduled to meet. They may have taken time off from work and battled the area’s traffic to arrive on time. To hear nothing after all of this effort is discouraging and can significantly influence a candidate’s opinions of your company.

Many companies treat candidates this way, and it’s a shame. One of the simplest things you can do to stand out as an employer is to communicate promptly with job seekers.

Silence speaks volumes.

Job seekers understand there are no guarantees. Interviews, after all, are where managers and candidates get a feel for each other and how they might fit together. The day seems to go well, the candidates say they’ll check back in a week, shake hands and say good-bye. The next morning they send a thank you note to everyone they met. The following week, they reach out to see if there’s been any reaction to their visit and get only silence in return.

Even in strong markets, job-hunting can be a frustrating experience, and that frustration is made all the worse when candidates do their part yet find themselves left in the dark. Companies say they are simply too busy to respond to every communication from every job-seeker. That’s a short-sighted view.

Leaving candidates incommunicado gives them the impression your company isn’t particularly engaged with its people. It’s also risky. You may very much like a candidate, but you’re not giving them any reason to think they should scale back on their conversations with other companies.

They’re talking about you, too.

Besides all that, candidates today talk at unprecedented levels. Social media and websites like LinkedIn and Glassdoor give them an array of avenues to share their impressions of your people, your culture and your hiring process. In this environment, leaving job seekers in the dark can have real consequences. We’ve had people decline interviews because they’d heard too many negative stories about how a company treated candidates.

Unfortunately, far too many employers fall into this type of behavior. That’s good news for those who do make the effort to stay in touch, for those who let candidates know where they stand, even when that means delivering bad news. Those companies show themselves to be the kind of organizations professionals want to work for. When hiring managers or HR communicate, they show their company prioritizes and respects people.

Your recruiter can help.

When you’re thinking about feedback, don’t forget the recruiters. Sharing your impressions of the candidate with your recruiter helps them refine their search so they send you professionals with the qualifications and personality you’re seeking. When you provide specifics about why a candidate may not have meshed, you help us clarify your view of the role. In fact, the act of articulating those specifics may help you refine your own thoughts about the solution you need. Additionally, if you have trouble delivering not-so-great news to a job seeker, your recruiter is there to do the heavy lifting for you. Give them the feedback to pass along; skilled recruiters know how to deliver bad news in a way that will not crush the candidate’s spirit.

The bottom line: Communicate with your candidates. Keep them updated on their status. Respond to their queries. Have clear expectations around candidate interactions, and create a system for making sure they’re met. Doing so can be one of the most important ways of ensuring that job seekers develop of favorable impression of your company, whether you hire them or not.

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