If you live in Calgary odds are that you or someone you know has told you about their job searching woes. I know a lot of very talented candidates in the city that have been pounding the pavement for weeks, sometimes months in search of their next opportunity.
As everyone knows, it’s a very competitive landscape for all job seekers, no matter what your background. As an Operations Manager for Energy Resourcing Canada Ltd., I have daily conversations with hiring managers telling me that they don’t really need our help finding talent anymore because they had 100’s of applicants apply to their posting.
There are hundreds of applicants for jobs and unfortunately leaner HR and recruitment teams. The lack of response and follow up with candidates is at an all-time low. I speak to candidates on a regular basis that are frustrated when the send their resume to the ‘black hole’ (aka-ATS of choice) and they never hear from anyone about their application.
As a former corporate recruiter and HR Manager I know what it’s like to be on the other side of the table. There are constant demands from the company, external demands from candidates, and agencies vying for their business. It’s difficult to balance everything and to ensure candidates have a good experience.
Remember when recruiters were begging for talent and would do anything for someone to submit a resume to or to call you about the job you were recruiting for?
The tables have turned and corporations are in the driver seat. Recruiters have the opportunity to choose from the cream of the crop and they have the luxury of being very selective in the talent they bring in to their organization. But the role of recruiter comes with great responsibility as it can make or break a company’s brand and image. I met with an HR professional recently that spent countless hours ‘customizing her resume’ and then spending hours applying to a role through an extensive online application only to receive an e-mail minutes after saying that the role had already been filled. If candidates are lucky enough to get an in- person interview, often times they never hear anything from the recruiter, no e-mail, no phone call, no follow up.
Despite the challenges of overworked HR and Talent Acquisition teams there are many ways to improve the candidate experience and communication.
- Update job postings as roles are filled or cancelled. Don’t let postings get stale when they were filled or cancelled weeks ago. Create engaging automated ATS responses that demonstrate your interest in keeping in touch with candidates for future opportunities so that they continue to engage with your corporate brand. Some companies have a section on their website where candidates can join the ‘talent pipeline’ for future consideration.
- Provide an overview of your recruitment process to candidates. Educate candidates on how interviews are structured, how many interviews they might expect and what the time frame is for letting candidates know their status in the selection process. There are many companies that post this information on their website and offer tips to candidates on how to be successful in the interview process.
- Once interviews are completed ensure that you follow up with all candidates whether they had a phone interview or in-person interview. Blocking time off in your calendar on a weekly basis (especially before the weekend) is a good way to ensure that candidates aren’t left hanging for a long time to get a status update.
- Provide constructive feedback to candidates. It’s difficult turning candidates down, but if you have suggestions as to how they could improve, they will be grateful that you took the time to share the feedback.
- Schedule follow up reminders to contact candidates that were not successful in role. They may be a fit for future opportunities. Following up with a phone call or friendly e-mail on a quarterly basis is a great way to keep your company name in front of candidates.
We all know what happens in a market driven by Oil and Gas. Things will turn around. When it does candidates will remember how you made them feel. What kind of candidate experience did you provide to them? What kind of image are you putting out there? What do candidates think about you and your company?
Recruiters are Brand Ambassadors
It’s time that leaders start to realize the value that recruiters and HR professionals bring to the table and in turn the impact that recruiters can have on their company reputation. Examples need to be set from the top down. Organizations need to start thinking strategically and proactively about what the labor market will look like in the future and how their actions today will impact their ability to attract talent tomorrow.
Following up with your candidates will set you apart from the rest of the recruiters in the market that don’t think it’s important. It will be the difference that creates a brand that you and your organization can be proud of.