My mom had minor surgery this week. At first glance, that would seem to have little to do with applicants or your hiring process. However, there is a tie there.
The surgeon did a great job and my mom is recovering nicely at this point. However, she experienced quite a bit of pain (medical professionals always refer to it as “discomfort”) after she came out of the recovery room. This was a surprise, as no one really prepared her (or our family) for this, despite discussions with both the surgeon and a consultant at the hospital prior to her surgery.
Thankfully, her pain wasn’t overwhelming. But, it made me think about how important it is to set good expectations in many areas of life — both personally and professionally. That’s what led me to the tie with setting expectations in the hiring cycle.
Far and away, the biggest frustration voiced by applicants is poor (or nonexistent) communication from potential employers. Resumes or applications are submitted for open jobs, often with no acknowledgment or followup. Likewise, many new hires are quickly disillusioned when they find their job is quite different than what they understood it to be in the hiring process.
Below are three areas where setting good expectations with your applicants can save you time and protect your reputation:
Be truthful when putting together the overview of the position that applicants will see. I’m not suggesting that you highlight the negative aspects at all — “Please note this position will require you to perform some menial tasks” isn’t practical, but “We believe that no task is beneath any of us here at ABC Company and are looking for people willing to pitch in wherever they’re needed” may be. The point is to make sure you aren’t glossing over things that may cause a new employee to feel like they were misled.
Be sure that each person who applies receives confirmation that his/her application/resume has been received. If you use an applicant tracking software tool, this is usually done for you. Even if you don’t, use an email template and/or use the bcc: feature in your email tool so that this is done. You’ll avoid the phone calls and emails from candidates who want to know if you’ve received their application/resume. Likewise, you’re more likely to avoid good applicants losing interest or pursuing another opportunity, as they now know when they should expect to hear from you.
Next steps in the hiring process
Whether applicants are out of consideration early in the process or they make the final round of interviews, let them know what’s next. Again, good applicant tracking software makes this pretty easy. Absent that, taking the time to do this via regular email is a great way to make sure you build a reputation as an employer of choice and an organization who respects people.
Be aware that not doing these things likely isn’t going to result in applicants pointing out their frustration to you. Instead, it’s more likely that they’re sharing those frustrations with others. Just like marketing your products/services, it’s often the things you don’t hear that have the potential to cause damage to your brand. So, set good expectations and protect your employment brand.