What Advice Would You Give for Managing Candidate Expectations During Hiring?
Navigating candidate expectations requires finesse and clear communication, so we asked Talent Acquisition Managers and Career Coaches for their expert advice. From partnering with candidates honestly to constantly communicating upfront, explore the six insightful strategies these professionals recommend for managing expectations throughout the hiring process.
- Partner with Candidates Honestly
- Set Realistic Process Expectations
- Over-Communicate Updates
- Maintain Candidate Confidence
- Establish Transparent Recruitment Strategy
- Communicate Constantly and Upfront
Partner with Candidates Honestly
Be a dance partner to them through the process when they are fully expecting HR to be the gatekeeper. Lay out the process and provide updates when available. Don't sugarcoat things when all they want is the truth. By being a trusted partner to them, they will return it back to you as a valuable employee in the company or advocate to others, whether they get the job or not.
Set Realistic Process Expectations
Be sure to set realistic expectations. Help candidates understand the entire process, including assessments, interviews, and background checks. Explain that meeting one stage doesn't guarantee the job and that multiple candidates may be in consideration. Offer a rough timeline if you can.
Over-communicate. Candidates often feel they are left in the dark or feel ghosted if they haven't heard any type of update. Although no news can be good news, a simple status update is helpful so the candidate knows 1) they are still being considered, 2) no decision has been made yet, and 3) it ensures the candidate feels valued by their potential future employer.
These brief emails only take a few minutes to send and can be high-level ('We're still in the process of interviewing and will be in touch as soon as possible'), but they really go a long way in the candidate experience. Furthermore, if a candidate is not selected for a role, they are more likely to walk away with a positive experience if over-communication takes place.
Maintain Candidate Confidence
A lot of recruiters advise keeping candidates realistic about their prospects, and that's a great ground rule, so long as you don't take it too far. Some of my competitors, in a bid to avoid disappointment, wind up spreading negativity that can actually lower a candidate's chances.
It's about confidence. I want my potential placements to go into every interview feeling good about their abilities, and talking down their chances can disrupt their natural esteem. In some cases, it can turn a self-assured candidate into a self-deprecating one.
So, I recommend keeping these so-called reality checks to a minimum. I truly believe in the power of positive thinking, and that means there can be a big benefit to feeling like you've got it in the bag.
Establish Transparent Recruitment Strategy
Managing expectations means being transparent about the recruitment process. This can be achieved by focusing on establishing an effective recruitment strategy. Understanding the needs, requirements, and expectations for the role helps build a strategy that improves the candidate experience and helps build a strong employer brand.
By using the right recruitment software, you can build a recruitment process that works for you, the candidates, and the hiring managers involved in the process. It starts with posting a job ad that is attractive on the right channels, reducing the number of steps in the process to avoid any delays that cause a longer time to hire, and managing the candidates in a way that allows open communication. All these factors help set expectations that are realistic and well-managed.
Communicate Constantly and Upfront
Constant communication and being upfront from the start are key. Right from the first interview or call, let candidates know the entirety of the process, approximately how long it should take to complete, discuss compensation, and answer all of their questions. Throughout the process, update them if there are delays or changes. Furthermore, if there is something they are seeking (schedule, benefits, compensation, etc.) but you cannot offer it, just let them know. There is no reason to withhold any information, and there should be no surprises at the end of the process. Just as the employer needs to know if the candidate will be a good fit, the candidate needs to be able to decide if what the employer can offer will work for them.