Beware the silent treatment: 3 essential approaches to your hiring process

Hey A Advisor,

I need your help improving my recruitment program. We only have a few positions to fill, and even though we’ve seen some great applications, we haven’t had much success in bringing those candidates into our organization. Our problem seems to be somewhere in the interview process: it can often take a week or so to have an application approved by our leadership team, and almost every time we become excited about a new candidate they’re no longer interested by the time we contact them. I don’t think that our interview process is unreasonably long, and we’re a desirable company to work for, so I’m not sure why these possible hires are so hard to bring into our company.

I hope you can shed some light on the situation!


Slipping Through My Fingers



I have a pretty good guess what the problem is: communication.

Picture the situation from the point of view of the applicant: you apply to a position you’re very interested in and you know you’re a strong candidate; you don’t know when the company’s cut-off date for accepting applications is so you wait for two, three weeks to hear back; you get a first interview that you think goes well, but then you don’t hear from the company for another two weeks. By the time the company lets you know that they’re interested in you, you’ve been waiting for over a month. Even though you were very excited about this position, you looked for other opportunities during the radio silence and now it’s too late.

Communication during the hiring process is frequently overlooked, and it’s no wonder that this oversight is so detrimental to the successful hire of top candidates.

Dr. John Sullivan breaks down the factors of a successful recruitment program, and effective communication plays a prominent role: Sullivan recommends timely feedback, easy access to information for your applicant and personalized updates.

I want to supplement Dr. Sullivan’s guidelines to help you gain perspective on the problem. Here’s what you should keep in mind when revamping the communication in your recruitment program:

  1. Applicants are taking a risk. Even when applicants are referred for a position, they are putting themselves up for scrutiny by complete strangers. There can be a lot riding on a job application, both in economic and interpersonal terms. Timely communication will let your top candidates know that you value their application; they will be more likely to prioritize the position your company is offering during their job search if they are reassured that they have a strong chance of securing the position.
  2. The application experience is a PR opportunity. Even candidates who don’t fit your organization will come away with an opinion of your organization, and you want it to be a good one. Clear and thorough communication will facilitate a positive experience even if you don’t go through with a hire; leaving candidates in the dark will produce a negative experience every time.
  3. Applicants are looking other places, too. Very few people on the job market are only applying to one company. Even in a difficult economy, a strong applicant is still a hot commodity. Keeping your top candidates up to date in a timely manner doesn’t just let them know that they’re valuable; it lets them know that you value them. A positive interview process will make your company stand out above the rest.

I hope that these perspectives will help to improve your communication during the hiring process. Good luck getting those top candidates to stick with you all the way to the finish line!


The A Advisor

How do you approach your hiring and referral program? Do you have any other tips, tricks or perspectives? Let the A Advisor know how to help with your employee-engagement-related questions!

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