During the selection process, job candidates take a lot of cues from your behaviour as a selection panel.
Do you know what applicants for your vacancies think of your organisation? Whether they are internal or external, how candidates are treated through the selection process can present a strong message about how you value people.
And you thought it was just about finding the best person for the vacancy….
Advertising a vacancy puts an organisation out in the market place. How candidates are informed and responded to, even if they don’t make it to interview, will improve your chances of continually getting quality fields of applicants. Candidate care is a critical element for any selection process.
Remember, most of those applications are from people who have put a lot of thought and a great deal of hope into presenting themselves for your vacancy. This hope will be highest when they first submit their application, and, guess what, they will notice if they get a prompt response acknowledging it.
If it then takes months to hear anything more, impressions turn sour and your image is blackened. Imagine, however, if you applied for a job and, within a week, someone called you to make sure you had a good understanding of the role, to pass on some insights and to advise how the selection process would proceed. I am not suggesting you do this for all candidates, but those you identify as matching your role requirements could be further engaged by such a call.
Even if this is not possible, quickly assessing the field and progressing those shortlisted to the next stage will have a positive impact.
Now you have a person in front of you at the selection interview. Don’t just thrust some pre-prepared questions at them and ask them to present their responses, nodding your head sagely at key points. Engage them! Interact! That is what an interview is about. This is your only chance in some cases to assess how they communicate, their thought processes and knowledge base. I know that some interviewers believe they must use identically structured interview questions, but anyone who works with people will know that everyone is different. While you may have a core structure, expect each interview to be tailored to the candidate’s style and experience level. It is even likely the good candidates have a few questions to ask of you. This is the most visible stage and the applicants will certainly take away an impression of you and your organisation from this selection process.
Afterwards, don’t leave candidates hanging. If it took a candidate effort and conviction to decide to apply, attending an interview is a significant investment in their future career. Respect this and make contact about the outcomes as soon as is possible.
Candidates genuinely want to know how they have gone, and especially where they can improve. Offer feedback sensitively but honestly and candidates will appreciate this. It only needs to be a point or two, and remember to give recognition where it is due.
Finally, close the selection process with a formal acknowledgement and for the successful job candidate link them in to others in the organisation as soon as possible to facilitate their onboarding.
Following these few steps will not only assist your chances of recruiting the best person for the job, but will have a big impact on your reputation as an employer and your capacity to attract strong job candidates in the future.
At Merit Solutions, we understand that job candidates can develop negative views of an organisation if they are not treated with respect and courtesy. We ensure timely and accurate communications, assisting our clients to enhance a job candidate’s experience by:
- valuing all job candidates
- making a good impression
- being available and responsive
- keeping candidates informed.
Selection panels need to be very conscious of how they treat job candidates during the selection process if they are to become an employer of choice.