Hiring managers are busy – we get it. Your focus shifts from day to day. That incredibly qualified candidate you interviewed yesterday may be the furthest thing from your mind today.

But that candidate is actively thinking about the meeting and wondering when a decision might be made – hopefully in their favor.

As a hiring manager, you’re used to calling the shots and having your team follow along. It can be easy to forget that, for candidates, your schedule doesn’t matter. While you may be going on vacation or waiting to meet with one or two more candidates before you make your decision, you should balance these considerations with the possibility of losing yesterday’s prospect because you took too long.

How do you plan to keep candidates “warm” and excited about the process if the process drags on and on? How will you ensure the candidate experience remains great?

For better or worse, things have shifted. While you as a hiring manager have decision-making power, the candidates with options aren’t going to stick around while you drag your feet. If you come across as unorganized in your search – as if the role isn’t a priority – then you’re turning potentially great hires into dissatisfied customers for your brand.

It’s a Candidate’s Market

For a while now, companies have been struggling with the balance of power, which has shifted considerably in the job market. Traditionally, candidates had to worry about impressing employers. Today, company also have to worry about selling themselves to candidates – especially top talent.

TogetherThat means you have to impress candidates every step of the way until a decision is made. Constant delays, rescheduled meetings, and unresponsiveness are all things that will make a less than stellar impression on your candidate. Not only does that mean the candidate will be less likely to seek employment with you, but it may also mean that the candidate is going to share some negative views of your company on social media or in the form of a review.

You must be sure that you, your company, and everyone involved in the hiring process are constantly upping the game in terms of the candidate experience. Here are seven ways to do just that:

  1. Your candidate experience starts with your application process. That includes your website and job postings. Make information easily accessible and relatable to prospective candidates. Write your job postings in a way that connects with them. Better yet, go beyond the post and get candidates excited about your organization with a great recruiting video.
  2. If you’re going to send form emails, make them enjoyable to read!
  3. Greet your candidates on time when they come to interview.
  4. Be excited to meet candidates when you interview them. Say something positive to them about their background and why you are interested in them for the position. You’ll make them feel more at ease – which means they will talk more openly during the interview!
  5. If you request additional materials from the candidate or ask them to do work that is representative of what they will do when hired, send feedback and send it in a timely manner.
  6. Be consistent. Have one person manage the candidate and be their point of contact. That way, the candidate will feel they have a real relationship with someone in the company.
  7. While it can be challenging to respond to all applicants, you should respond to as many as you can. At the very minimum, you should at least personally respond to everyone who got to the interview round.

The way you handle the candidate experience will be the difference between a candidate falling in love with your organization and a candidate who breathes a sigh of relief when you don’t offer them the job. The more positive an impression you can leave on your candidates, the more goodwill they will spread on your behalf. They’ll not only be excited to be considered for future opportunities, but they’ll also inspire others to want to work for you as well!

Michele Mavi is Atrium Staffing‘s resident career expert.

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