You Might Want to Check On that Candidate in Your Lobby: How to Create a Positive Candidate Experience
Have you ever experienced bad customer service? Whether it’s from your cable provider, mechanic, airline, or whatever, doesn’t it make you frustrated and not want to utilize their services anymore? At the very least, you gripe to your peers about how mistreated you were by the company.
So why would a candidate’s experience with your company be any different? If candidates are walking out your door thinking anything other than, “Wow, that would be a great place to work,” you are doing something wrong.
There are a few elements that comprise your candidate experience:
1) Was the candidate expected, and was he or she greeted?
How awkward is it for a visitor or candidate to have to linger in the entryway to your office waiting around for someone to acknowledge his or her presence? Make sure someone is there to say hello and direct them to the right person. If you do not have a receptionist, then the person meeting with them should be there to greet the candidate. No excuses.
2) Have an agenda
Sometimes I cringe when I speak with people who went in to interview at a company and they tell me “whoever was available got pulled into the interview.” Yikes. There should be an agenda set for the candidate to meet with your employees who are involved in the hiring decision. Make sure you’ve coordinated a time when the candidate can meet with everyone involved in the hiring process in one day. Not only is it a better interviewing experience, it also avoids having to ask the candidate to come back multiple times. Remember, each consecutive time you ask your candidate in to meet with yet another person ups the perception that you are unorganized and not valuing their time. Be mindful of this.
3) Have a feedback loop — or don’t have a requisition
When you are creating the job description you should simultaneously be establishing the feedback loop for your candidates. This means you need to have a timeline set for the stakeholder to give his or her input on each candidate. This should not be a lengthy timeline. It should be given the next day, if not immediately following. Within 48 hours of interviewing, someone at your company should make contact with the candidate. This includes telling the candidate that either they are not moving forward in the process, they are moving forward in the process, or that there is no new information and you will reach back out to them in ___ amount of time.
By establishing a feedback loop you can increase your chances of not losing a candidate and also not having to chase down hiring managers for feedback.
At the end of the day you need to make sure that you are respecting candidates throughout the interviewing process. A company cannot afford to have bad candidate experiences at any stage, but it is especially true for expansion-stage companies. Think about it: every candidate could be a future customer, investor, influencer, or evangelist. You can’t hire everyone, but you can make sure everyone who interacts with your company has a positive experience.