I work with both passive and active candidates on the market, at different levels and junctures of their careers. As part of my role on a weekly basis I must regret candidates when they have been unsuccessful after interview. These calls are never enjoyable; some people are pragmatic, some disappointed, but generally all are happy to close out on a process and get some feedback.
Unfortunately, “candidate ghosting” is still a regular occurrence, and by this I mean candidates who have attended an interview and then hear nothing following their meeting from the employer or the recruiter. On a personal level, I think we can all sympathize with the frustration and bad-will that develops when an interviewer doesn’t follow through with any sort of feedback following a meeting.
From having the birds eye perspective on the market, across many industries and companies, I get to hear and see the brand damage that this does to a company when it happens. I do understand that recruiters and hiring managers don’t do this on purpose, and there are many cogs in the wheel that delays or confuses processes, leading to an “ostrich in the sand” mentality of just doing nothing.
These challenges are most commonly:
- High volume of interviews
- Lack of systems or controls in place
- Company cultures that don’t properly value the time invested by candidates
- Chasing line/ hiring managers for feedback
- Changing internal structures or the job itself
- Other priority roles taking over
- Lack of decision at senior level
However, as a business if you can find a process that means you can get back to applicants who have been for interview, in good time and with respect, you will truly differentiate yourself as a business.
Based on our view of the candidate market and best practice from our clients, I put it to the team here to get some “top tips” on how employers can differentiate themselves and leave all candidates with a great experience.
- If you can’t give feedback, give a timeline as to when you can provide the outcome
- Keep in regular touch with your recruiter – When you work with an agency, they are representing you and their hands are tied if there is no response! We tend to be strong communicators, so even if feedback on your end is fuzzy we have a knack for diplomatically delivering the message
- Most specifically for niche or senior roles, where it is possible – catch up for a coffee to discuss feedback. The candidate doesn’t always want this, but the offer and investment of time is invaluable
- Genuinely go above and beyond for the candidates who weren’t successful – do something different! I recently had a client who sent the two unsuccessful candidates their psychometric tests and had a 10 minute phone call per candidate giving some specific feedback. The candidates were 3-4 years experienced and this meant a huge amount to them
- When giving feedback, be thoughtful about the means of communication – a phone call can often be worth a huge amount more than an email
- A lot of firms offer a simple “no” weeks after the interview. Speed of response and constructive interview feedback are the obvious differentiators. If a candidate has made the last two, and the firm may look at them again in the future, then a call from the hiring manager directly goes a long way. There are people and firms doing this and have the edge!
- One thing is that it gives you a talent pool with pre-qualified candidates who still want to work for you (and will do a better job in future interview). So if they have a positive experience, they are definitely more likely to re-interview in the
- Go the extra mile to mention at least one personalized detail. One specific detail based on the candidates performance is so important. E.g.: “the candidate did an excellent job of explaining how they previously implemented process x” or “one thing the candidate can learn from is how to get their experience with xyz across in the next interview”
- Build it into company SLAs/ agreements that every candidate must be responded to within an agreed amount of time after interview
No process or person is perfect, but minimum expectation is to follow up with everyone who has attended interview! These candidates are your potential brand ambassadors, customers, future employees, but most importantly just normal people who have invested their time pursuing your company – give them your A game back!