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Leaving candidates hanging is an easy way for an organization to undermine its talent acquisition efforts. Perhaps unwittingly, that’s what many companies do. Even after more than two or three months have passed since the moment they applied for a job, a majority of applicants never hear from the organizations to which they apply.

Receiving nothing more than an automated “thank you for applying” email, these candidates can quickly develop a poor view of the organization and express their frustration on social media. In addition, an organization that doesn’t communicate with candidates misses the opportunity to expand its talent pool with applicants who could fill future openings, if not current ones.

In Communicating with Candidates, Part 1, we explained that successful recruitment programs focus on creating a positive hiring manager and candidate experience. The cornerstone of both is clear, consistent communication, as demonstrated by one client in the healthcare industry that has partnered with IBM Talent Acquisition Optimization for 15 years for a recruitment process outsourcing (RPO) solution.

 

Tips for delivering a positive candidate experience

The IBM RPO team collaborates with this client to keep candidates well informed and engaged throughout the entire recruitment lifecycle. Over the years of our partnership, we’ve established processes and touchpoints to create a positive experience for their candidates. Here are four of the most important:

1. Monitor the requisition. Working under the guidance of a lead recruiter, who serves as a liaison with the hiring manger, the recruiters build relationships with applicants through every step of the candidate journey.

Recruiters also monitor the requisition so that it doesn’t over-generate candidates, which can occur if a requisition is left open too long. If that happens, the client could receive applications from quality candidates who applied after other qualified candidates are far along in the process. A candidate who applies too late, but doesn’t realize it because the job is still open, could be discouraged from applying for another opening.

2. Emphasize the personal touch. IBM recruiters receive “personal touch” training to help them maintain timely communication with candidates. For example, when a recruiter calls a candidate to schedule an initial phone screen, the goal is to conduct the interview within 48 hours of the call if possible. During the call the recruiter explains the position and the interview process, describes what a typical workday is like, and tries to determine if the job, and the team with whom the candidate would be working, is a right fit for the applicant.

Every IBM team member who interacts with candidates includes a brief statement below their email signature—it might indicate their hobbies or interests, for example—so that candidates instantly know something about the recruiter. This helps makes the overall recruitment process more personal and less intimidating.

3. Follow up. After initially speaking with a recruiter, the candidate receives an email that provides the candidate with the recruiter’s contact info and explains that the recruiter is the main point of contact for the candidate throughout the process. The email also summarizes information about the job, benefits, and more.

4. Ensure quality. The IBM recruiting team hires more than 24,000 employees for this client a year; recruiters work with 25–50 reqs at one time. To execute our deliverables flawlessly at this scale requires we have quality assurance built in to every step of the process.

For starters, everything that recruiters do is reviewed by their talent acquisition manager weekly. In addition, recruiters are responsible for reviewing and taking action, if necessary, on two reports—one that tracks how long a candidate is in each step of the application process, and one that indicates whether candidates have heard from the recruiter at each step of the process.

The reports hold recruiters responsible for timely, appropriate communication with candidates, which is imperative for this client.

 

Help yourself

No matter what your recruitment needs are, your organization can benefit by communicating promptly and clearly to all applicants. It’s a simple but effective way to create a positive impression with candidates and build your talent pool.

Talent Acquisition Optimization

Talent Acquisition Delivery Executive

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