Recruiting In 3D

Candidate Experience for Dummies

Everyone seems to be talking about candidate experience these days, and the noise surrounding this perennial talent

trending topic has become deafening, even though most of that banter ultimately falls on deaf ears throughout the recruiting universe.

I’m a little self conscious even writing about it; after all, no one needs another post on what’s become a pretty tired topic.

After all, I’m not sure anyone’s really an “expert” on candidate experience, but I’m damn sure that I’m by no means any sort of definitive authority on this subject. Read More

TMA’s Social Recruiting Summit Recap

Last week I attended the TMA Social Recruiting Summit in New York City. For a kid from New York, any trip there is nice, because in addition to being able to see some family while I am up there, I pretty much eat pizza every day and twice if I can find an excuse. Being able to cover the event gave me the ability to view the conference from a different perspective, where I could actually listen to all thecontent, while also taking in how the crowd is reacting to it.

The event itself was well attended by about 125 people, and it was nice to see that the attendees’ experience levels and industries varied greatly. This was particularly refreshing, because it brought out some of the challenges that are definitely unique to certain industries, while other times attendees were secure in knowing everyone else faces the same struggles. TMA did a really nice job on including speakers and content that spanned recruiting, sourcing, marketing and employee branding. It’s a tough feat to successfully cater to an array of audiences in a smaller conference, and it worked. Read More

Zen and the Art of Candidate Maintenance

Recently, thanks to the remarkable and inimitable Amy Ala, I was lucky enough to score ringside seats for a fascinating follow up conversation to a seemingly simple question a candidate had posted to Quora, asking for advice on which of two outstanding job offers they should accept.

The resulting firestorm of impassioned opinions and inflammatory commentary about which option the candidate should choose served as a fascinating real time case study into the world of online recruiting and talent acquisition today. Read More

Workshop Recap: Build Your Agency’s Talent Pipeline

I had the opportunity to attend a workshop last week, sponsored by DiceTMP DiceGovernment and the Partnership for Public Service, which centered on how to effectively build talent pipelines for your agency. Much of the content was centric to the federal sector, but as always it contained some relevant information for public and private alike. In addition to a lineup of well-informed speakers, they also included a panel of young professionals that helped drive home the message of the day: Recruiting needs to keep evolving. Read More

Candidate Experience: To Call Or Not To Call

As we all know by now, candidate experience is all the rage, and rightfully so. When the lifeblood of your career in this industry is based on your relationships with the people you interact with, this is exceptionally true.  But ensuring each candidate gets 1:1 personal treatment can be a daunting task, and in many cases, so overwhelming that communication gets ignored completely. And closure (of any kind) is important to a candidate. After all, it’s stressful to be in a full-on job search. Not hearing anything back only compounds this stress.

From a recruiter’s perspective, we ideally want to be able to provide that personal touch and experience for all candidates. However, reality can set in, and being able to personally call or talk to each candidate who has applied becomes nothing more than fantasy. But for many of the people we connect with, knowing where they stand is just good enough.  Don’t believe that? Sift through the results of any of the last few years of the Candidate Experience Awards data. It matters

And when closing the loop, how do you decide when to call and when to just email? Sadly, it’s not an exact science. But then again, recruiting isn’t an exact science either, which further muddies the waters. There aren’t rules, only guidelines, and the guidelines can vary from recruiter to recruiter and industry to industry.  So, here’s a sample framework for knowing which method of response to use when closing the loop. Your individual preference may vary.

Scenario 1: Candidate Application – No Contact – Rejection

Depending on the size of your company, the amount of openings you have, the size of your team, and how broadly you post your jobs, your candidate flow will vary. Candidates who aren’t even remotely qualified will apply for your jobs. It may not be realistic to reach out individually and personally to each person.

If they’ve applied, but there has been no direct contact, it’s OK to close things out with an email. It’s even acceptable if it is a form email. It’s something. And it’s even better if the email from your ATS (or Outlook?) comes from a real person’s email address.  Yeah, you’ll get the occasional crazy, but they are the exception and not the rule. And what if you get a referral for this or another role, just because they were impressed that you took the time to respond? This is worth it for the positive perception it builds with candidates. From a candidate’s perspective, the relief comes in knowing “hey at least they let me know I didn’t get it”

Side Note: Your internal practices may dictate additional steps, based on the structure of your company’s Employee Referral Program, so keep that in mind.

Scenario 2: Phone Interview Rejection

Let’s take it a step further, and say that they had a 20-30 minute call with you, the recruiter. But after speaking with them and reviewing your notes, or discussing their profile with the hiring manager, they are determined to not be a fit. In this case, you’re probably covered if you just send a personalized email saying that you are not moving forward, but would keep them in mind for the future opportunities. You’re fostering some trust with the candidate, and that is valuable in 3 months if they are a great fit for a new role.

On the other hand, if the candidate has had a phone interview with the manager, you can go either way. It really depends on your experience and relationship with the candidate. There isn’t a hard-and-fast catch all for how you should play this. That said, any written communications should be personalized and definitely not form emails. After all, they did spend anywhere between 30 and 90 minutes cumulatively talking with you and the hiring manager, so if you need to email, make it personal.

Scenario 3: In-Person Interview Rejection

Without question, this is the easiest one of the bunch. This is always a personal call. Always. Always. This person came in for several hours to get grilled by the hiring team. There’s a good chance they probably did the “Superman Change” if they were headed back to their job, and they took time off work to come meet with your company. Call them and explain that they didn’t get the job. Provide feedback if you are able (and if you are comfortable with this). Essentially, you want to provide them the soft landing that you’d want for yourself. Few other things in the candidate experience realm can be more damaging to your reputation as a recruiter and a company than to not provide any response to someone who came in to meet you. Unless of course, you used the form email.


Because candidates matter. Because your professional reputation matters. And most importantly, one day you’ll likely be in that same spot looking for some type of closure about a job.

This post first appeared on SourceCon on January 8, 2015

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