Helbling Insight

Crafting a Positive Job Candidate Journey

by Katie E. Rodgers
Recruitment wordgram

Over the course of the last decade, we have seen websites such as Glassdoor provide insight into company cultures as well as overwhelming negative aspects regarding candidate experiences. Ultimately, negative perceptions during the interview process impact an organization’s brand. Without warning, a company may find itself slipping into the talent acquisition abyss. As search consultants, we understand this first-hand and offer the following simple suggestions for developing and maintaining a positive job candidate experience.

1. Be consistent with the objectives of the role.

One thing that is crucial to realize is, if the description of the role is perceived differently by those involved in the hiring process, it is likely to cause confusion for a candidate and, quite possibly, your team. Without consistency and transparency, added stress and pressure is placed on a candidate simply because he/she is not sure what the position truly entails. To eliminate room for assumptions, make sure to:

  • Get everyone involved in the hiring process on the same page by outlining the objectives and the responsibilities of the role. If appropriate, allow interviewers and other stakeholders to provide feedback.
  • Outline where each task has potential to carry over into something else.
  • Provide a timeline and agenda for interviews and possibly even generate standard questions.

2. Communicate the organization’s culture.

When assessing candidates, companies should definitely focus on whether or not the individual will fit in with the culture of the organization. However, cultural fit is a two-way street. Candidates want to feel like they have grasped an understanding of whether or not the organization is a fit for them, which in turn, lays the groundwork for a healthy, respectable partnership. Most of us know what it’s like when a near-perfect employee quits after a mere six months. Not only is this costly financially, but it can also have a negative impact on the organizational culture. To properly communicate the culture and create mutual understanding, take the time to consider and do the following during the recruitment process:

  • Show the candidate around the office and department in which he/she may be working.
  • Explain the core values of the organization and how they are put into practice (i.e. volunteer work, charity, training courses, goal-setting initiatives).
  • Provide insight on how the candidate may be able to contribute to other aspects of the organization (i.e. future company initiatives that could benefit from certain skills of the candidate).
  • Describe situations that allow for flexibility and those that do not.

3. Balance the organization’s history and stability with its innovation and advancement, and incorporate the role into the overall vision.

A true measure of growth is looking back at the history of an organization, along with looking forward toward new horizons. As much as current employees like to hear and see both, so does a potential new hire. As a candidate, learning the history of a company builds credibility, making him/her feel comfortable with the prospect of working for the organization. On the other hand, if the history is provided without direction, or a vision for the future, the candidate may feel that the company has become stagnant and unsure of its long-term goals. Today’s generation wants to know how an organization is adapting to change. Incorporating the following can support this: 

  • Describe how the organization supports and ensures diversity.
  • Progressive technologies recently implemented and how they have affected internal operations.
  • New technologies that are being explored and how they will be introduced internally.
  • A path for the specific role to evolve within the organization and what impact it could make.

4. Listen and provide feedback.

If the previous points have been done, it is likely that the organization and position have been clearly spelled out and you have accomplished initially attracting the potential hire. Now, it’s time for the candidate to align themselves to the company’s vision, core values, and job description. Ask about and listen closely to the individual’s accomplishments as they relate to the organization as it is now and where it is heading. Listening doesn’t just mean letting the candidate talk, it is interpreting factors such as:

  • Facial expression.
  • Body language.
  • Tone and inflection.
  • Ways in which they present their thoughts and the content itself.

If you’ve listened carefully, at the conclusion of the interview, provide positive feedback and don’t be afraid to bring up concerns. One might think voicing concerns at this stage may be “too much too soon.” However, it affords the candidate an opportunity to respond and address potential issues. There is always a chance your question was simply a misinterpretation, which the candidate may be able to clarify.

5. Learn to respectfully reject candidates. 

It is difficult to inform any candidate that he/she is not the right fit for a role or for your organization. But, the way in which you handle giving rejection can say a lot about your organization, and mitigate any negative feedback on Glassdoor and other sites. Therefore, we highly recommend:

  • Letting the candidate know as soon as you determine that he/she isn’t the right fit for the role and for your organization.
  • Calling them personally instead of writing an email.
  • Avoiding an explanation of how they compared to other candidates.
  • Talking to the candidate about what he/she did well during the process so they can keep doing it in their job search.

In conclusion, it is important to put yourself into the shoes of a potential new hire. By doing the above, you will put a candidate in a comfortable position where he/she is attracted to your organization and  inclined to be more open and honest with their skillset, areas of improvement, and ways to enhance the company’s vision. Cultural fit is as important to them as it is to your organization and, at the end of the day, we all just want to fit in.

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