Stay in Touch: How to Improve the Hiring Process with Better Communication

We’ve all been there. 

We’ve all been on the job search at some time or another. We’ve all spent hours perfecting resumes, writing cover letters, and scouring job boards. 

We’ve all felt the pre-interview jitters and experienced how slowly time can move when you’re waiting to hear back about a job you really want. 

Thinking back on your past experiences, it’s probably not very surprising to hear that in a recent survey, we found that candidates want more communication in the hiring process.  

Now that you are on the employer side of things, it’s up to you to effectively communicate with your candidates during every stage, from an accurate job posting all the way to your final offer or polite rejection. Making communication a priority will improve your hiring process and your chances of attracting and hiring the right people. 

The importance of communication according to candidates 

Communication throughout a hiring process can make or break the candidate experience, which we define as the interaction a candidate has with you from the job posting to the offer stage. 

As it turns out, a positive candidate experience is crucial for getting candidates to accept your job offers. 80% of candidates said that a positive candidate experience influenced their decision to say yes to an offer, and 58% of job seekers say that a poor candidate experience led them to decline a job

impact of positive candidate experience

Additionally, communicating quickly and clearly with applicants (even those you don’t want to move forward through the process), can have a positive impact on your employer brand. This is important because people are much more likely to apply to companies that have a good reputation. 

Simply put, if communication is poor in your hiring process, your candidate experience suffers, and you may miss out on making the right hires for your roles. 

So when and how can you communicate better with candidates? Let’s look at the data. 

How to improve communication in your hiring process 

Communication is important during every stage of the hiring process, but our research (seen in the table below) clearly shows that candidates want more information sooner

what job seekers expect to learn during the hiring process

Sharing information about compensation, company culture, and benefits early in the process can save time for you and candidates, as all parties can quickly determine whether it’s the right fit. Let’s break down the various stages of the hiring process even further with some recommendations for improving communication in each.

In the job posting 

More communication starts early. 39% of job seekers in our survey expected to be informed about compensation in the initial job post, and 21% said that employers should focus on more transparency about compensation and benefits to improve their hiring process

job seekers want compensation advertised in job posting

We think an effective job posting is an easy way to improve communication with job seekers and applicants. Clearly outlining the role and responsibilities as well as including compensation and benefits can make sure the right job seekers are finding and applying to your role and can prevent late stage candidates from feeling like they were misled.  

Before the initial interview 

As those applications start rolling in, try not to keep candidates waiting. 84% of job seekers said responsiveness after initially applying (e.g. how quickly they receive an email) was “important” or “very importantwhen evaluating a potential employer. 

If you’re running a business, you may not have the time in your day to reply to every applicant as they hit your inbox, so we recommend automating your interview scheduling to improve communication with your candidates. An applicant tracking system like CareerPlug can allow you to automatically fast-track applicants who check your most important boxes and even send text messages to candidates for a faster follow-up.

After that initial contact is made, job seekers appreciate transparency regarding the rest of the hiring process. 84% said that being told what to expect next (like the number of steps in the process, types of interviews, and the people they’ll be interviewing with) is important. 

For example, at CareerPlug, we like to start by sending all our candidates a video to explain the steps of our hiring process and what they can expect in the days or weeks to come. Check out that video here: 

During the interviews

Clearly, open lines of communication must be maintained during the interviews as well. In fact, when we asked recent job candidates what they would like to see employers improve, “improved communication between the interviewers & job applicants” was a high ranking recommendation. 

Make sure all interviewers provide detailed and correct information to candidates. Interviewers should be prepared to stay present throughout interviews, listen intently, and answer candidate questions. 

Keep in mind that interviews are two-way conversations, and that candidates are using that time to decide whether or not they want to work for a company. Interviewers that can communicate well and make candidates feel comfortable certainly have a big advantage. This is also an ideal time to restate the details of this role including compensation and benefits to make sure that everyone is still on the same page. 

Pro tip: Avoid conducting one-way video interviews, or interviews in which job seekers record a video of themselves answering a set of questions for the hiring manager to view later. Candidates consider this new trend in hiring to be a poor candidate experience and we agree! If you’re really in a time-crunch, try to set aside just 5-10 minutes for a quick phone screen with each candidate instead. 

Post interview and beyond 

You’ve almost made it to the end of the hiring process! However, your work is not quite finished. Good communication must continue through this later stage for all candidates, whether you hire them or not.

85% of job seekers said responsiveness later in the hiring process, like follow-up emails after an interview, is an important factor in their decision to accept an offer. Plus, if you’re waiting several days to follow up with a candidate that is pursuing other opportunities, you might just miss your chance to close the deal

Even if the candidate isn’t the right fit, be sure to let them know promptly so that they can continue their search as well. This respect to all candidates is important and will positively impact the way your company is perceived. Don’t ghost your candidates!

Final tips

Having a standardized hiring process is the best way to make sure no candidate slips through the cracks and that you are communicating with everyone effectively. This will improve your candidate experience and your ability to hire the right people for your team. 

We’ve all been on the other side of the recruitment process and know how stressful it can be. Have empathy for all of your candidates and take the necessary steps to ensure better communication to improve your hiring process. 

Want more tips for improving your hiring process?

Get the 2021 Candidate Experience Report to learn more about what job seekers are looking for.


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