It isn’t easy finding qualified candidates, especially in today’s tumultuous labor market, when a shocking 95% of employees are thinking about quitting their jobs. Employers have to fight not only to find eligible candidates, but also to retain the employees they already have, thanks to job dissatisfaction, burnout, and stress levels all running high during the COVID-19 pandemic. During the current labor shortage, companies need to invest their resources into improving the hiring experience for prospective employees. Without a major audit of hiring practices, it will only become harder to attract new talent and refine the recruitment process to make sure you’re taking on capable people.
There are many ways to approach this issue. But it’s worth keeping in mind that when it comes to the job market, job seekers have more of the power at the moment. They’re asking for better salaries and benefits, flexible work options, and more. Employers are following through, in large part because that’s what they have to do in order to hire right now. Fun perks alone are just not enough to attract today’s candidates. They want real change, and a great place to start is by auditing your selection process to make it more candidate friendly.
Candidate Pet Peeves
Poor communication/not hearing back from a company
For job seekers, who spend valuable time applying to many jobs in hopes of finding something suitable, there’s little worse than taking the time to fill out a lengthy application, only to never hear from the company again. Of course, this behavior is extremely common, especially among large companies and in early interview rounds. Even then, candidates find it unpleasant. But what’s far worse is not contacting a candidate after a phone, video, or in-person interview. Many candidates find this to be inexcusably rude. It offers them no closure about the job position or feedback on their performance in the interview. In this employment market, when qualified employees are often choosing between multiple job offers, you don’t want to turn attractive candidates away permanently by being unintentionally brusque, rude, or slow to respond.
Slow moving process
If someone is looking for a new job, that’s usually a sign that they’re either unemployed or unsatisfied in their current position. Either way, they are likely feeling a significant amount of urgency when it comes to finding something new. Too often, a company will offer a candidate a job, only to take three to four weeks to actually get them onboarded. Or hiring managers may be slow to respond to emails, forcing the whole process to slow down and leaving the candidate in a strange limbo. It’s okay if you aren’t ready to hire someone tomorrow, but make your timeline clear to job candidates. To lead them could cause emotional and financial stress, and it certainly doesn’t bode well for employee retention.
Nothing tells a candidate “you’re not worth our time” like having to do a one-way, or asynchronous, interview. They’re uniquely embarrassing, asking job seekers to thoughtfully respond to predetermined questions that serve as a second, cursory tier of evaluation, only to be asked the exact same questions by a hiring manager later. They ask a potential employee to invest in the process without getting anything in return, such as the ability to form a human connection with a hiring manager or ask questions about the position. From a corporate perspective, one-way interviews save the company money because they preserve human resources hours. But is it truly worth saving a little bit of money if you’re turning away qualified candidates who are put off by this part of the process? There are plenty of people for whom even the request to take an asynchronous interview means an automatic ‘no’.
Lack of transparency
In a perfect world, companies would be perfectly honest with candidates about job and salary expectations from the beginning. It would save everyone a lot of time, money, and heartache. But unfortunately, the hiring process simply doesn’t operate with that level of candor, which means that both hiring managers and candidates are often talking around the subject and trying to get information without asking outright. This can result in a company and candidate getting all the way to the offer stage, only to find out that they have drastically different ideas about compensation or benefits. According to a survey performed last year, 24% of candidates said they declined a job offer because the compensation “didn’t meet [their] expectations”. If you want to hire and retain good talent, you’re better off being as transparent as possible from the beginning. This transparency is one of the reasons candidates sometimes prefer working with recruiters, who have more freedom to be honest during the hiring process.
Ways to improve the hiring process
Ditch the pet peeves
This first tip is super simple, and yet so important. Take a look at the list of things candidates hate about the hiring process, and then work on purging them from your system. Put simply, companies cannot afford to turn qualified candidates away by clinging to their old ways and thrifty cost-saving measures. Right now, there aren’t enough job seekers out there to get complacent and do things the way they’ve always been done. If you’re not innovating your hiring process, you’re falling behind.
Streamline the process
At the same time, candidates don’t always want the bells and whistles you might associate with progressive, candidate-focused hiring. They don’t need free beer on tap or catered meals. What they really want is management they can trust, remote work options, and good benefits. Today’s employees want to work for a company they can believe in, and if you treat them as disposable during the hiring process, they’re going to lose interest fast.
When it comes down to it, candidates are most likely to accept a job offer if they’ve made a personal connection with the team in question. But not every organization has the resources to designate one person to recruitment, and that can leave candidates feeling like they’re your last priority. A great way to foster human connection with job seekers, as well as save time for your team, is to hire an external recruitment firm such as Tech Talent South. We have a deep and broad network of highly skilled tech candidates, and our top-notch recruiters can help you find the exact right person for your organization.
When all is said and done, companies simply have to find a way to get by in the hiring process until the current labor shortage has passed. But you can use this time of upheaval to update your hiring team’s systems and refine your process.