FIVE SIMPLE STEPS TO IMPROVE APPLICANT COMMUNICATIONS
Applicant communication plans are like those New Year exercise resolutions. We all have high hopes and the best intentions, but we just can’t seem to maintain the focus and consistency over time. One trick to keeping this resolution is to use the automated messaging tools built into your applicant tracking system (ATS). Like any good resolution, to be successful, you need a plan. And like any good plan, you need to define your purpose, identify the opportunities and understand the tools available.
One of the main goals of any applicant communication strategy is to keep applicants engaged and set expectations about the recruitment process. When done well, this can turn applicants into brand ambassadors for your organization, whether hired or not.
On the other hand, applicants can become discouraged when they feel they have been forgotten or, worse yet, not even acknowledged. Applicants want to know the status of their application at all times – period! Today’s hyper-communicated world mandates that we regularly communicate with applicants. Silence is not golden.
And engagement should happen quickly. Technology, such as automated texting, allows your hiring teams to contact candidates instantly via SMS messaging or chat bots. For direct messaging, they can use two-way texting. And with text recruiting software, they can text right from their applicant tracking system, where all communications are safely stored.
Speaking of hyper-communication, applicants talk and share their experiences with others. The adage, bad news travels fast, is also valid in recruiting. The experience of today’s applicants can cost you tomorrow’s applicants by negatively affecting your employer brand.
For organizations serving the general public, your applicants are also your customers. Maintaining that customer status can depend on their experience as job seekers. Even when not hired, if the experience is positive, applicants can serve as brand ambassadors – it’s important to always end on a positive note.
5 TIPS FOR A APPLICANT COMMUNICATION STRATEGY:
1. Acknowledgment: Acknowledgment: Acknowledging that you have received an application and thanking the applicant for their interest is your first opportunity to establish your employer brand and set expectations for potential next steps. Ideally, this acknowledgment should come within 24 hours of submission. Again, this is easy to do with technology. Automated texts are candidates’ preferences but at the very least, send them an email.
Job Seekers often feel that their applications are being delivered to a black hole, never to be seen again. Acknowledging their submission can set you apart from the competition and make your hiring managers’ and recruiters’ lives easier.
2. Continued Interest: The typical hiring timeline does not always go as planned, and despite our best efforts, delays can occur. This situation brings another opportunity to continue communicating with your candidates.
Whether you are working through the applicant pool, key decision-makers are unavailable, or managing budgetary issues; silence can signal to your candidate that you are no longer interested. At this point, candidates are more likely to drop out of the process and search for a different employer. Sending a note to express your continued interest is a wise move.
3. Rejection Notification: Breaking up is hard to do, but it’s essential to let them know ASAP when deciding not to proceed with an applicant.
While rejection is not easy, it’s better than the black hole of not knowing. The message should convey to the job seeker that you value their time and appreciate their interest. Not only is it courteous, but it is another way to define your brand as an employer.
4. Finally, Thank You: Once your new hire has been chosen and confirmed to start, send a final thank you to everyone who applied. That’s right, everyone.
Don’t ghost your candidates at this point. A simple automated email thanking them for their interest is a common courtesy. If you think they may be a good fit for your organization, invite them to apply for other positions and add them to your applicant pool.
5. Continued Communications: But wait, there’s more… You’ve selected your hire. You’ve scheduled the start date, onboarding, and orientation. Continue the electronic communications by sending a summary to remind them of the date and time and what to expect on the first day, including what to bring to complete the new hire paperwork. Hopefully, your organization has an electronic onboarding tool; if not another reason to start shopping around.
Continued communication with your applicants across the entire hiring process is best practice. The job market is competitive, and you want to stay on good terms with your candidates, even the ones you don’t hire. Using your applicant tracking system is an easy way to automate parts of the process and make sure you are not forgetting anyone. And consider integrating technology like Cadient Texting to your ATS so you’re reaching candidates instantly and via their most preferred method of communication.
Remember, your communications significantly impact how prospective candidates and new hires view your organization. Don’t let poor or non-existent communications dull potential candidates’ excitement and enthusiasm for your company.
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