The act of engaging job candidates post-interview is almost an art form. It’s the perfect way to set your company apart as the employer of choice. All too often interviewers seem to forget that as an ambassador of their company, they are being judged just as much as the interviewees are. One of the biggest complaints candidates have in the job-hunting process is a lack of feedback following interviews. Following up with every candidate who applies to your company – whether you decide to hire them or not – is a crucial stage in the recruitment process. It can make a huge difference to whether you manage to claim top talent or not. But exactly what makes candidate follow up such a critical step of the process? How do you master the art of it? What are the benefits? And, did you say there were email templates? Let’s take a look.
What is Candidate Follow-Up?
Candidate follow-up means taking the time to keep in touch throughout the interview process. One of the quickest and easiest ways to improve your candidate experience is to maintain regular, transparent communication with everyone in your pipeline. Follow-up is typically done after the interview. It can include relaying scheduled times for additional interviews, answering any questions related to the company/position, or informing a candidate whether or not they were hired. When you make an effort to send warm messages throughout the hiring process, it goes a long way towards making the candidate feel respected and appreciated. Now that we know what candidate follow-up is, let’s take a look at why it’s so important.
It Speaks Volumes About Your Brand
Your reputation is a significant part of your employer brand. Ghosting your candidates after the interview could reflect poorly on your company brand and culture, portraying you as indifferent or impolite. In the internet age, everything is more transparent. Chances are high that future candidates will check out your Glassdoor employer profile, before attending an interview. To help ensure you receive positive feedback from candidates, it’s important to go the extra mile during interviews. Negative feedback can damage a company’s credibility and could cost you that ideal candidate.
It Shows Respect
The application process can be stressful and time-consuming for a candidate. Studies show that on average a candidate can spend one and a half to two hours per job application. In a perfect world, each candidate would receive a personalized response, but realistically it’s not always possible. While it might be impossible to personally respond to hundreds of applications, it’s still imperative to give your applicants a positive candidate experience. Utilizing an Applicant Tracking System (ATS) is one way companies can manage high-volume responses. With options to automate responses ranging from “It’s not a good fit” to “This position has already been filled, but we’ll keep your summary on file.” Even if your post-interview response is automated, it can still show that your company appreciates applicants’ time and effort.
It Keeps Top Talent Engaged
When it comes to employment, in-demand candidates have plenty of choices when it comes to where they want to work. Effective interview follow-up can help to keep quality candidates engaged in your interview process. During each step, keep your candidates informed on what to expect next, and when. Remember to always deliver on those expectations. Inevitably, there will be times when the next steps or timeframes need to change. Communicating those changes with your candidates when they’re expecting to hear from you goes a long way toward keeping them engaged. It shows that you value their time, and may help deter them from backing out because they received another offer or the process is taking too long.
It Closes More Quality Candidates
In addition to keeping top candidates engaged in the process, effective follow-up can also help you close them. If a top candidate is in high demand it’s not unrealistic to expect that they could receive multiple offers. Strong communication helps you provide a positive candidate experience, which can help you stand out among your competitors. Where top candidates are concerned, time is of the essence, use speed as your competitive advantage. Even if you’re not ready to present an offer, share interview feedback with your top candidates as soon after your interview as possible. Your encouraging interview follow-up could keep them from accepting an offer elsewhere. As an added bonus, it gives you the opportunity to continue to sell them on your company as well as reiterate how your position is a strong fit for them.
It Helps Maintain Your Talent Pipeline
You can easily keep qualified candidates in your talent pipeline with timely and relevant follow-up and feedback. For each candidate you hire, chances are that there are several other high-quality candidates you didn’t extend an offer to. Effectively following up with these candidates goes a long way towards maintaining their interest in your company’s future opportunities. According to one Linkedin survey, rejected talent is four times more likely to consider a future opportunity with your brand when you offer them constructive feedback.
How to Follow Up
One of the quickest and easiest ways to improve your candidate experience is to maintain regular, transparent communication with all of your candidates. At Work4, we absolutely believe that there is no substitute for a well-thought-out and personalized message. However, we realize that recruiters are busy people, and sometimes just don’t have time to craft that tailored email for every single candidate. That’s why, to help eliminate communication gaps when you are in a crunch, we’ve listed the four most common situations and put together a templated email that you can send out in each scenario.
When a Candidate is Still Being Considered
When a candidate is still being considered by your team or hiring manager but a final hiring decision hasn’t been made. Be sure to give the candidate a clear sense of the timeline and provide transparency in factors that could stretch the process.
When Requesting Additional/Follow-up Interviews
Once a candidate passes your first round of interviews they may need to return for more before a decision can be made. The goal of this message should be to provide the date, time, location, name, and role of the interviewer and as much clarity about the process as possible. After receiving the message, the candidate should be able to quickly add the relevant info to their calendar and begin preparing for the next round of interviews. Be sure to work in a personalized line if possible. Don’t forget to change the number of the round (eg “second round,” “third round”) in the first paragraph, as needed.
When You’re Making Them a Job Offer
This is the message your candidate has been waiting for! It is also your first opportunity to transition a candidate into your onboarding process. It’s important to include all of the details the candidate needs.
- New job title
- Start date
Don’t forget to mention any contingencies, like a background check. Be sure to provide a clear deadline for their response, and most importantly, make sure to communicate your excitement about adding them to your team.
When the Candidate isn’t the Right Fit for the Role
Being the bearer of bad news is never fun. Worse a poorly worded “you’re not the right fit” letter could permanently sever the relationship with the candidate. You never know when a role may open up in the future that is a better fit. Fortunately, it’s easy to avoid a negative reaction with a simple email that thanks the candidate for their time and leaves the door open for future roles. Remember to send this message as soon as possible after a decision has been reached. Leaving a candidate hanging can negatively impact their candidate experience.
Interview follow-up is a large part of creating a positive candidate experience. It can help you keep top candidates engaged, improve your employer brand and win over more top talent. Sending a personal note to every candidate in your pipeline can feel like an impossible goal, but with our follow-up templates, it doesn’t have to be. Make things a little easier on yourself by storing these simple templates on your computer, then set reminders to send them at key touchpoints. In addition to providing effective communication, they’ll allow you to continue to sell your opportunity to the candidate after the interview ends. If you would like to find out how Work4 can help your fill your candidate database with more talent to follow up with, contact us today.