How you communicate with candidates in the hiring process says a lot about your leadership skills. Are you sending the right message?
(Originally published on Fast Company.)
Effective leaders have become unicorns in the workplace, and job seekers are on the hunt to find them. But they’re coming up empty. According to a recent survey of health IT professionals, 51.3% rated their supervisor’s ability to lead and engage as decisively subpar.
One of the only ways a job seeker can judge your leadership skills during the hiring process is by the way you communicate, and it’s more important than you think. An overwhelming 81% of employees would rather join a company that values open communication than trendy perks like free food and gym memberships..
Professionals want leaders who can communicate openly, and if you make communication blunders during the hiring process, it can turn job seekers off.
Here are some of the most common communication mistakes made in the hiring process, and how to avoid them:
1. You Only Communicate with Candidates via Email
You know that following up with candidates is an important part of the candidate experience, so you’re doing your best to keep up with communication. You email candidates when you receive their resumes, after the interview, and when you make your hiring decision, and you’re proud of your efforts.
But if you’re only using email to communicate with job seekers, you’re not communicating as effectively as you could be. According to theEMPLOYEEapp’s Mobile Trends In The Workplace survey, 30% of employees ignore emails. Email is no longer the best and most efficient way to communicate.
You don’t have to eliminate email (and you probably shouldn’t), but use other forms of communication to better connect and build relationships with candidates. Use social media and texting when you need to send a quick update or message, or pick up the phone when you have something more important to discuss like interview details or offer negotiations. After all, 77% of professionals surveyed by LinkedIn said they preferred to receive good news during the job search over the phone.
2. You Only Send Updates
Your communication to candidates is short and sweet — you don’t have a lot of time and you know they don’t either. You send them quick updates on their status in your hiring process, and that’s it. Although brief communication is efficient, job seekers are looking for more from an employer — they want a relationship.
In a Virgin Pulse survey of U.S. and Canadian employees, 60% said their relationships with their employer positively impacts their focus and productivity at work, while 44% said their relationships with their employer positively impacts their stress levels.
Although it’s unrealistic to form relationships with every candidate, make an effort to do so with top contenders for the position. Build rapport in your communications by sending personalized messages that are clearly composed by a human — not an auto-responding robot.
3. You Don’t Give Feedback
After the interview, you don’t communicate with candidates until you have reached a decision. You let the candidate reach out to you first with a thank you card, email, or call.
But candidates are dying to know how they did, good or bad. In fact, 94% of LinkedIn’s survey respondents said they want to receive feedback in the interview.
Communicate with candidates about their interview performance on the spot and in person. Let them know what they did well and how they can improve. Doing so will show them that as a leader, you care about their career growth and the growth of your team.
4. You Keep Salary Negotiations Closed
From the job post to the interview, you keep salary information hushed. You only talk money when you make your offer and when you do, you give the candidate a number, and wait for them to accept or negotiate for a higher salary.
But without any other information, candidates don’t know if your offer is in line with their skills and what’s normal at the organization. Employees don’t necessarily want more money; they just want to know that they are being paid fairly.
In a PayScale survey of 71,000 employees, 82% of employees who were paid lower than the industry average, but whose employer was open about their salary, were satisfied with their work. In comparison, employees who were overpaid, but didn’t have an open conversation about salary, were less likely to be satisfied.
Be open and transparent about pay and benefits throughout the hiring process. When making an offer, show your math — how did you reach that number? In addition, explain how raises and bonuses work within the organization and how the candidate could increase that number over time.
Great Leaders = Great Communicators
Job seekers are looking for strong leaders, and your communication style says a lot about how you lead. Communicate carefully and openly throughout the hiring process to bring the best talent onboard.
What are your best practices for communicating with candidates? Let us know in the comments below!
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Tim Cannon is the vice president of product management and marketing at HealthITJobs.com, a free job search resource that provides health IT professionals access to more than 1,000 industry health IT jobs at home or on the go. Connect with Tim and HealthITJobs.com on LinkedIn.