November 13, 2017
How To

How to: Attract great candidates and commit to 'customer-like' communication

Leslie Rothman

Drawing on data gathered from greater Portland job seekers and clients of Career & Workplace Directions, we've concluded that there is plenty of room for improvement when it comes to an organization's recruitment impressions.

It starts with paying attention to communication at each point of the process of dealing with a job candidate.

Our surveys of local clients from the past two years revealed:

  • Many respondents frequently experienced poor communication throughout the process, which negatively impacted their impression of an organization

  • Based on these experiences, candidates were inclined to opt out of the process and many decided not to re-apply for future positions. "I am judging the culture of your organization by the way I am treated during the hiring process," one job candidate wrote. "I am a well-qualified candidate. You might miss out on me next time."

Communication in the application stage

For many organizations, the application part of the process is automated — and applicants are accustomed to that. But applicants are often frustrated by a lack of response to let them know their application has been received. When they do receive an acknowledgment response, little or no additional information is provided. Companies focused on improving their candidate experience are adding information about their hiring process timeline so applicants know what to expect. A few simple lines to inform can go a long way.

Communication in the interview stage

Once an applicant has become a candidate, he or she is no longer a name, but an individual who has met your employees and spent time at your organization. Candidates at this stage expect an organization's communication to take a more personal tone and approach.

Frequently cited communication issues in this phase of the process are:

  • Communication doesn't include information about the upcoming Interview process or provide updates if things change.

  • Lack of post interview communication and follow through on commitments. "After three on-site interviews, I received a 'no thank you' email 14 months later," one candidate wrote.

  • Consideration for time and effort was missing from company communication.

Be wary of the effect of social media

With the advent of Glassdoor and other social media sharing places, news of negative experiences travels fast. By better understanding job candidates' critical touch points, and what makes positive and negative impressions you will be able to ensure that the potentially public nature of a candidate's experience with your organization furthers your company's reputation in a positive way — and keeps talented applicants interested.

  • Identify what your organization does consistently well in the hiring process. Share these things internally to recognize your own best practices

  • Find out what can be improved by reviewing your entire process with a "customer" mindset

  • Solicit and embrace feedback – from new hires and those not hired, read your Glassdoor and Google reviews and Facebook comments

  • Measure candidate experience, as you do your customer satisfaction

  • Create accountability and add customer experience to your recruitment metrics.

With a new mindset and additional insights, you'll be able to critique and approach your talent acquisition processes in fresh ways, and boost your ability to attract and hire the talented people you are seeking to make your workforce exceptional.

Leslie Rothman, founder and principal consultant of Career & Workplace Directions in Portland, can be reached at


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