Every hiring manager has experienced challenges in keeping qualified candidates engaged. In the time it can take to consider all applicants, narrow the field, and prepare an offer, it’s not uncommon for the once-interested front-runner to have moved on to another opportunity. Here are some tips you can implement to keep your best candidates engaged throughout your hiring process.
Prepare for success
Always look for ways that you can take an active seat in the hiring process and drive it forward. From the start, make sure your interview team is on the same page regarding what a successful candidate looks like for the role in terms of skill set, personality, leadership style, past experience, etc. Ensure that the team will be asking the right questions, both culturally and technically. Setting a timeline with action items not only helps the team make a timely decision, but lets the candidate know where they are in the process and approximately when they can expect a decision. Putting these measures in place upfront will help set the stage to be able to move towards a decision quicker.
Find the obstacles in your process and address them
Does your talent acquisition process take four weeks or more? If it does, many of your applicants may grow frustrated and ultimately move on. The following are a few common obstacles to a smooth and timely process:
- Are quality applications trickling in too slowly? Try increasing your visibility by getting your opportunity out through new channels, such as job boards, professional recruiters, LinkedIn connections, networking, etc.
- Are you spending too much time on in-person interviews? Try narrowing down the field with less time-intensive methods such as phone or video conferencing interviews. In addition, keep in mind that you don’t need your entire department to interview each candidate. Determine who has the most valuable insight and trim out the rest.
- Are there long delays in getting interview feedback? Scheduling a follow-up meeting or hard deadline for feedback will keep the timeline on track for all parties involved, including the candidate.
Consider what the candidates may want
Your interview process – for better or worse – defines how your company will be perceived as a whole. If you make the interview process all about your organization’s wants and needs, your candidates may think working for you will be very one-sided. Make sure you provide ample time to turn the tables and allow the candidates to ask questions.
It’s also important to give them real-life examples of your company culture and what they might expect. What are the best aspects of the role and the team? What aspects may cause frustration? Being honest will keep the candidates that are a good fit for your culture more engaged – and allow for the ones that aren’t to self-select out of the process.
Increase the frequency and transparency of your communication
Check in with your candidates weekly, and not just through email, regardless of whether you have an update for them. A simple, personal reminder that they’re still being considered is enough to keep most job seekers engaged. In fact, 81% of job seekers say employers continuously communicating status updates to them would greatly improve the overall experience.
Using automation tools to set reminders for following-up will ensure that you don’t have any long lapses in communication. Too much time between the interview and feedback on next steps can make candidates anxious, which may cause them to feel that the company is disinterested or raise concerns about the corporate culture of decision making.
In the event that you do not have a concrete update, you could share the following:
- Update them on where you are in the interview process (conducting additional interviews, coordinating in-person interviews, etc.).
- Explain extended gaps between interviews (be sure to admit if travel, a company transition, or any other unexpected event has temporarily put the process on hold).
- Share any significant company news or information that gives them more insight into the company culture.
- Inform candidates how they can prepare for the next steps.
Create continued interest in the role
Every interaction with the candidate is an opportunity to engage them with the company and get them excited about the role.
- Include office and/or plant tours either in person or virtually to show off the best parts of working in your facility.
- Ask the hiring manager to reach out to the candidate(s) directly to keep the level of engagement high, especially if the interview process is taking longer than expected.
Don’t be afraid to make an offer early on
A highly qualified candidate will look just as enticing to your competitors as they do to you. If that person checks off all your boxes, don’t hesitate to aggressively pursue them. Remember, if you don’t, someone else will.
Be willing to negotiate
Salary negotiations should almost never be the reason a top candidate walks away. You’ve put the time and energy into getting them this far along in the process, so don’t throw that all away with an unwillingness to negotiate. If you set expectations up front, you can transform this stage into more of a painless formality than a hostile contest.
Having an experienced recruiter on your side can make this process even easier. A recruiter can discuss salary details on your behalf, provide reference checks, and offer negotiation assistance in the event that any counter-offer situations arise.
Partner with a premier search firm
As a full-service executive search firm, Curtis Food Recruiters is in a unique position that allows us to independently evaluate food manufacturing and grocery retail companies’ hiring processes, from the perspective of both the talent acquisition team and the candidate. Contact us today and we’ll leverage our vast industry experience to ensure you not only attract—but keep—the best talent on the market.