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Make Applicants Feel Valued

Ask The Expert

By Barbara Mitchell

Q: We’re working hard to make the recruiting process as efficient as possible, and we also want to make it a positive experience for applicants. What are the latest trends in the candidate experience arena?

A: You’ve hit on a current best practice in recruiting. The days of unlimited available talent are over—it’s a candidate’s market. Organizations are focused on making the candidate experience as positive as it can be, not only because talent is in short supply but also because it’s the right thing to do.

Start by looking at how you currently treat applicants. If you can, put yourself through the process, from applying online to getting an offer. Did this experience make you want to get the job or run for the hills? How well did the technology work? Is your platform mobile-friendly? How long did you wait between submitting the application and a hearing from the organization? Did each person who conducted an interview make you feel valued and ask relevant questions that would yield useful information?

More and more employers are revising their online application process so that applying for a job is more like creating a LinkedIn profile. In fact, many organizations allow applicants to import their profile directly into their system, saving the candidate time but also giving you information that your application probably doesn’t ask for, like interests and hobbies. With that information, you can personalize the rest of the process by asking some questions about that interest. This gives you a chance to see the candidate in a new light as they talk about something they’re passionate about, and it sends the message that you’ve personalized the hiring process for this particular applicant.

Put yourself through the process, from applying online to getting an offer. Did this experience make you want to get the job or run for the hills?

Now that you know something about the candidate, start thinking about what your organization has to offer this person. Think beyond what they would bring to the job; ask yourself how the job you have open could meet their needs. You can build value by researching the applicant on social media. He or she will see that you’re invested in them as a person and, therefore, will be more likely to want to work for you.

Of course, your interest in a candidate must be authentic and respectful. Don’t get too personal too quickly, but treating each applicant as a unique individual should pay off by increasing your ability to hire the best talent available.

Barbara Mitchell is a human resources and management consultant and author of The Big Book of HR and The Essential Workplace Conflict Handbook. Do you have a question you'd like her to answer in "Ask the Expert"? Send it to [email protected]

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