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Improve Your Hiring Process: Communicate With Applicants

How often is your recruiting department fielding unsolicited calls from applicants that are inquiring about the status of their application with your company? Too frequently? Well, its time to proactively communicate with your candidates so they don’t even feel the urge to pick up the phone or shoot off that next email inquiry.

In the fourth installment of this “Improve Your Hiring Process” series, I talked about managing your pipeline of applicants effectively. A major component of that is keeping your applicants informed as they travel through your selection process. Otherwise, you will likely find yourself fielding numerous phone calls and/or emails from applicants wanting to know if they’re still being considered, what are the next steps from here, etc.

Similarly, this also ties in with the idea of protecting your brand — both your employment brand and your business/consumer brand. You don’t want to give people the ability to take shots at your organization. But if they feel their resume/application goes into a “black hole” or if they hear back a month after their interview (or not at all) that they’re no longer being considered for your position, you’re feeding the most common frustration of applicants. That complaint? Not hearing from you!

Keep Applicants Informed of Recruitment Progress

Now, if you fill 3 positions per year and only receive 5-10 resumes/applications per position, you likely don’t have this problem. You can keep your applicants up to date pretty easily with email and/or an occasional phone call. At the same time, if this is your situation, you probably lost interest in this topic long ago!

The more common scenario is that you have dozens (or hundreds) of applicants per position and multiple positions open at any given time. In this scenario, you have three options for keeping your applicants informed:

  1. Ignore the issue because branding isn’t applicable to your situation.
  2. Keep your applicants organized in a spreadsheet and utilize Outlook or Gmail templates to correspond with those applicants as you move them to different steps in your recruiting process. This is pretty involved and requires a good deal of effort, but it can be done.
  3. Use an applicant tracking software tool to automate this process for you.

This happens to be a pretty big sweet spot for quality applicant tracking system tools. Because you now have all of your applicants in a single spot, including where they are in your process at any given moment, the chore of logging that data is taken care of for you. From there, a good tool of this sort will allow you to automate mass emails in a one-to-one format to applicants as they move through your hiring process. You save time, applicants are kept posted as to where things stand, and you dramatically cut down the phone calls and emails asking for updates — everyone wins.

Next up is the final installment in this series — Bringing Objectivity to Your Hiring Decision.

Image Credit: By Einar Faanes (Own work) [GFDL, CC-BY-SA-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

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