When it comes to communicating with job seekers, employers have improved at engaging the masses. Whether through career-focused social media accounts, a job fair, or a help wanted ad, recruiters tend to hone their marketing efforts during the sourcing stage, but what happens to the communication process when a job seeker hits apply? According to a study conducted in 2013[1], 75% of job applicants said they never heard from the employer at all – and the effects were lasting.

14Think of it this way – as a business owner you wouldn’t attract visitors to your business only to provide a less than satisfactory experience prior to converting them to a customer. Just consider your candidates as the “customers” of the recruiting team. With that said, it is important to communicate with them throughout the entire hiring process to keep the momentum of your recruitment marketing strategy.

They might also be customers of your brand.
It only takes one bad experience to turn a customer-for-life into a lost customer and while a particular job seeker may not be the right fit for a position within your organization, he or she may still be a patron of your business. In the study previously mentioned, 32% of job seekers said that they were unlikely to buy products and services from a company that did not respond to their application.

It is important to remember that every time you interact with someone on behalf of your organization, you are representing your brand. Providing a positive candidate experience (whether ending with a hire or not) can help ensure that your job seekers remain loyal customers.

People talk.
They’ll not only talk about your organizational brand as mentioned above, but also about your employer brand. This can mean bad news for other potential candidates if the word gets out about a difficult or unsatisfactory hiring process with your company. In fact, in the study cited above, 22% of job seekers said they would tell others not to work for an unresponsive organization. Portraying yourself as a company that cares about its people (and potential people) goes a long way.

It’s the right thing to do.
More than likely you’ve been in the job seeker’s position before. Whether you were searching as a passive candidate or were in need of employment to maintain financial stability, you know that the job hunt can be a very stressful time. Not only does it alleviate stress for the job seeker but it can also prevent them from subsequently calling, emailing, or dropping by as they anxiously await a response from you.

Now let’s take a look at some of the key touch points where you should be communicating with your candidates:

Receipt of resume/application –
It’s a good idea to keep the job seeker in the loop right from the beginning. Confirm receipt of an application or resume, along with information on how long the job seeker can expect to wait on next steps. This can likely be automated through your applicant tracking system (ATS) to save you time. Why not also use this opportunity to share your social media links or other useful content that displays your employer brand and corporate culture?

Thank you –
Post-interview is another great time to touch base with the candidate to thank them for their time and to let them know that you’ll be in touch. This should be sent before any decisions have been made.

Rejection –
Job seekers need closure in their hunt for employment so try to let them know as quickly as possible if they are not a fit for the job. There are two points where the rejection email should be transacted: after the receipt of resume if the job seeker is not a candidate, or after an interview if the candidate will not be offered a position. If you do not have the time to personalize the content of the rejection, always keep it simple.

Of course, email is not the only medium of communication that can be used in this process. Send a hard copy of the rejection letter in the mail to ease an anxious job seeker’s mind. Or, are you a tech savvy organization? Record a quick “thank you” video. Whatever method of contact you choose, just remember to be concise and timely. Staying in contact with your job seekers can do wonders for your employer brand image and can leave a lasting impression on not only your applicants but your customers as well.

[1] http://www.hrreporter.com/articleview/17338-three-quarters-of-job-applicants-dont-hear-back-from-employers-survey

Kacie Koons
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