As a recruiter, I regularly interact with a wide range of candidates and companies. Recently I’ve noticed a recurring pattern of communication missteps. While these missteps may seem minor, they’re ultimately causing both companies and candidates to miss out on great opportunities. The good news: it’s easy to avoid these mistakes once you know what they are.
Problem: Companies assume it’s okay to “go quiet” around hiring delays Result: Candidates assume companies are uninterested and accept other offers
Earlier this year, I started working on a higher-level role for a client. They interviewed some candidates, but after about 4.5 weeks of interviews, they put the role on hold to adjust its description and duties.
A few weeks later, they were ready to revisit their original candidates— only all of those candidates had found other jobs by then. The company then identified a new candidate, and it’s been more than two weeks since his last interview. There are no other candidates in play, but the company wanted to compare this candidate to someone else, so they haven’t made him an offer.
As a result, the candidate hasn’t received any feedback from the hiring team, and now he has a final interview with another company for a competitive offer. Guess which position he’s going to choose?
We’re approaching four months since I initially sent a candidate for this role, and that first company still hasn’t made an offer.
But that organization is hardly the only one making these types of mistakes. Several have had lengthy delays in the hiring process, and they’re often easily avoidable.
As a company, it’s important to be thoughtful and intentional in your interview process. The cost of a bad hire is well-documented, and you don’t want to onboard someone you’ll regret later. But it’s also helpful to consider this from the candidate’s perspective. You think you’ve nailed your interview and are expecting good news, and then you don’t get an update at all. It’s natural to assume you aren’t the company’s first choice or even on their short-list.
There are two keys to this solution. First, don’t start the interview process until all stakeholders align with the job description and required skill set. Second, don’t let more than a week go by without communicating with your top candidates. Even if a hiring decision hasn’t been made, keep your candidates in the loop. Some professionals may be okay with a short hiring delay as long they’re kept informed throughout the process.
Conversely, I placed a candidate at the beginning of June. A company reached out to me one Friday and said they were in urgent need of an analyst. I stopped what I was doing and set up an interview that same day. The company did another interview on Saturday and made the offer on Monday.
Four days total! Now that company has an intelligent, hard-working analyst on their team– all because they were prepared to make a move.
Problem: Candidates are not transparent about their requirements during the job search Result: Candidates inadvertently burn bridges to future opportunities
While companies take on a major role in the hiring process, candidates have to play their part, too.
As a recruiter, I’m here to manage that process on both sides. I connect candidates with companies that are good fits for each other. If I get left out along the way, I won’t be very effective. And it reflects poorly not just on me as the recruiter but also on the company and candidate.
Candidates need to be transparent with both recruiters and companies. A few weeks ago, I had a candidate that interviewed five times over two weeks. After every debrief, he told me he was increasingly excited and enthusiastic about the position.
After the final interview, I let him know the offer would soon be on the table. It was like a switch flipped: he used every excuse to turn the position down. If he wasn’t interested initially, that’s fine, but the time to say something is after the first interview, not after the last. Waiting until the offer is in hand only to back out is a bad look and doesn’t sit well with anyone involved. Hiring managers and recruiters talk. When you back out last minute, you’re not just burning a bridge with this company. You could also be hurting your future chances with other companies.
If you disappear at a certain step, your chances for success diminish tremendously. In both of these scenarios, communication and transparency go a long way. No one will ever get mad at you for over-communicating, so don’t be afraid to do it.