As I look back at the opportunities with which I have been presented in my life and career, I see that much of it is a result of being considerate. Genuinely helping someone else by making an introduction or providing advice has led to numerous opportunities, none more than during the recruiting process. A considerate attitude is also important because the persons doing the hiring are the face of your organization and often provide the candidate's first impression of the company. Put yourself in the candidate's place and provide a good experience. Here are some tips:
1. Respond to applicants in a timely manner
Do not let resumes accumulate for weeks before you start the review process. You might miss out on a great candidate because they already found another position. No need to call people the same day they apply, but if you can make contact with qualified candidates within a week to begin the process, it starts the process on the right foot.
2. Set proper expectations and timelines
Clearly walk the candidates through your selection process and the timeline for filling the position. How many interviews will they have? Whom will they meet? How long are the interviews? Do they have to take any assessments or make any presentations? Will they have to pass a background check? How long before a hiring decision will be made? Providing applicants with a clear picture of the process from start to finish will go a long way towards avoiding confusion, surprises and frustrations that can lead to complaints, negative web reviews and even worse, discrimination claims.
3. Follow up
Keep the communication lines open by keeping the candidates apprised of their status as appropriate, especially the ones in the running. No need to go into great detail about everything happening internally. However, properly communicate any changes to the stated timeline or other important changes so that the candidates can reset expectations. Similarly, it's standard professional courtesy to let candidates know if you do not plan to hire them. This can be a simple email, letter or even a phone call, thanking the candidate for his/her interest in the position but stating that the company has selected another candidate. Either way, do not ignore them and hope they learn of their rejection on their own. It seems like the obvious considerate thing to do but rarely do organizations do a good job of timely informing candidates that they have not been selected.
4. Stay in touch
If you really liked a candidate but just couldn't hire them at the time, let them know and stay in touch. A simple email outreach every couple of months can go a long way. Perhaps meet for coffee to catch up on how they are doing or what skills they have gained or honed since your last meeting. You never know, this person may end up referring other candidates or even business opportunities to you.
While these tips on courtesy may seem like common sense, they are often overlooked. If you take the time to think about your process from the candidates' perspective and treat them how you would want to be treated, it will foster goodwill and show that you are someone for whom they would want to work.