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March 6, 2023

5 Ways I try to Show Candidates that I Respect Their Time

To avoid losing out on great talent, here are a few steps I take to keep candidates engaged and show them I value their time. For hiring managers…you may already be doing these things, but it never hurts to audit your hiring process and ensure every candidate has a positive experience with your company. 

A number of people have shared their own experiences of lengthy interview processes, as well as their thoughts on what companies can do to be more respectful of candidates’ time. While this is always important, in a candidate-driven market, it could be the difference between a company snagging the talent it needs and losing out to a competitor. If candidates feel like there’s no end to the interview process in sight, they may be more inclined to accept another offer, even if they were excited about your company.

1. I share the salary range as early as possible

No matter how enthusiastic they are about a role, salary can be a deal breaker for candidates. They need to know whether the role will pay enough to support them and, potentially, their family. If it won’t and they only discover this halfway through the process (or, worse, at the very end), they may feel like their time has been wasted.

I always share a salary range in my job descriptions or share this information during initial phone screenings. In LinkedIn’s Global Talent Trends 2019 report, 54% of talent professionals who share salary ranges with candidates say it filters out those who would decline, and 57% say it streamlines negotiations later in the process.

Increasing transparency around salary ranges can also help to close pay gaps, with 55% of those surveyed for the report saying it ensures fair pay. Candidates will appreciate your company’s candidness, even if they ultimately decide not to move forward.

2. I outline what the process will look like upfront 

Having a multistep interview process isn’t automatically a negative in candidates’ eyes. For more senior or specialized roles, most people will understand the need for a more complex hiring process. But if candidates only find out about this when they’ve already invested a lot of time and effort into the role, they may feel like the wool was pulled over their eyes. 

I share information upfront about what the hiring process will look like to signal to candidates that I’m committed to transparency. Some companies do this by outlining the different steps involved in their job descriptions or on their website. I even tell my candidates that the negative part about submitting them for this role will be the lengthy interview process. I let them know what to expect up front. I have my candidates store my cell phone # in their cell phone as we will be in contact for the next several weeks or over a month and I want them to be able to reach me every step of the way.

3. I do wish my clients would keep the number of interviews involved to a minimum 

Companies think they are building processes that ensure picking the right candidate. I don’t think that’s true. I think it’s due to fear of picking the wrong candidate. I think it’s fear they will not find the next unicorn. I think it’s fear of wasting time that ends up wasting more time.

Research from Google backs this theory up. The tech giant’s interview process used to involve over a dozen rounds and could last up to four months. But when the company looked at its interview data over a five-year period, it found that four interviews were enough to help the team accurately predict a new hire’s performance 86% of the time. What’s more, conducting more interviews beyond that produced rapidly diminishing results.

Time after time I have candidates call me and say “Heidi, I have another job, my current job! and I can’t keep interviewing with these managers during my day, as it’s affecting my job and my work.” I get calls saying ” I can’t keep doing this, I’m losing interest”. I get calls saying” I have been in process now for 3-4 weeks, I’ve got another offer from a different company I have been interviewing with and I am going to take it.” Time kills all deals. I wish my clients would stop trying to make my candidates prove them selves to 6,7,8 and 9 different people in the company. It’s exhausting for everyone. 

4. I prepare and roleplay with my candidates for interviews and tests

If I know that my candidates with have to take a predictive Index test, I go over do’s and don’ts with them. I send my candidates multiple documents to prep them for the interview and again roleplay with them to help them along the way.

5. When I get a generic rejection emails , I always respond thanking them for letting me know they are not interested.

After taking the time to engage with a candidate, if I receive a generic rejection email or hear nothing at all, I am many times left wondering why I put in the effort. 

As a Recruiter, I think how I would feel if I was a candidate. Since 94% of candidates want to receive feedback after an interview, sharing a few pointers can be a good way to demonstrate that you valued their time and want to help them find the right role.

I feel the same way, I want to know that they are not interested or know of someone that may be a great fit for the role. I always try to provide feedback to my candidates if they don’t make it through the interview process. I as a recruiter want feedback when I send out opportunities to candidates that I think they would be a good fit for.

I do try to acknowledge every candidate that applies and messages me on LinkedIn. Now if your background is completely off base and you had no business applying for the position, I stopped replying as it is a waste of time for both of us. Ex. a Forklift operator with no degree and no outside sales experience or B2B applying to be a Medical device sales rep, I just can’t waste my time responding to this person.

Final thoughts: Being respectful of candidates’ time can create lifelong fans

When candidates feel a recruiter or company has wasted their time, they’re apt to share this experience among their friends and network. This may make others less likely to apply and could potentially damage a company’s employer and consumer brand. 

By contrast, when companies and recruiters are respectful and appreciative of the time and effort that goes into applying and interviewing, candidates often feel more connected to the brand — even if they don’t ultimately get the job. So, if you haven’t evaluated your hiring process in a while, there’s no time like the present. You might find that some steps could be tightened up or have become obsolete as your company has evolved — and by cutting them, you can save valuable time for both candidates and your team. 

I encourage the owners of recruiting firms to ask their recruiters “Do you ghost your candidates? “Do you not return their calls and messages for days and days?” If the answer is yes…Maybe that is not the recruiter you want to keep. I pride myself on being different. I know my clients will agree and so will the candidates that I have worked with the past 5 years.

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