My brain is in overload mode with too much information, ideas pinging around and from being in a different environment the last four days. I attended the SXSW Interactive conference in downtown Austin and this post will not be a summary of the great (or in some cases very lame) sessions I attended, the networking and interactions I had with many people that I met through Twitter or at the event – wait maybe I just did a summary, dang. Anyway being this close to the event and still trying to digest it all, the common theme I walked away with was a validation of what I have been trying to impress upon my teams over the years – when it comes to recruiting (or in any interaction) set the candidate expectations and communicate with them.
Almost in every session, conversation or panel discussion I attended this theme was the underlying current, not explicitly said in some cases and in others it was the whole discussion. Communicate and be open with whomever you are interacting with to ensure that they understand what is expected of them (customers completing a form on a site; employees understanding the social media policy; blogger trolls and stars knowing how you will respond to their comments), and they know what is expected of you during the interaction/transaction. I have practiced for years that during the prescreen call with a candidate I outline what our recruitment process is, the projected timeline and how I will communicate with them going forward. The key is to then follow my word and voila you have the basic recipe for a good candidate experience.
In my previous post I discussed how it was crucial for recruiters to call all candidates that were contacted during the process and let them know the final status. Setting the expectations at the beginning is just as crucial. It will put the candidate at ease, taking out some of the guessing game and help ensure that future contact falls within the standards that were set forth. For example, I tell my candidates that I should receive feedback within forty eight hours of submittal, however, my hiring managers sometimes do not follow the agreed upon timeframe so worst case scenario I should know within a week. I then state I will contact them once I know if we will be proceeding or not and why. If they want to follow-up with me in a week or so that is fine. By doing this I have a) let them know that it could be two to seven days before I know the status of their candidacy b) given them permission to call me a week from the phone screen and not before then. Do I receive several calls about status updates, sure, and they usually last less than a minute stating what I know which could range from no change in status to had a meeting and feedback is expected in X number of days.
This may sound rather basic and common sense but as I said the major underlying theme of my SXSW experience was that this basic, common sense action was being overlooked far too often. As a recruiter we are supposed to be excellent communicators and delivering superior customer service. To achieve this, simply set the expectations with your candidates, communicate with them and you will take your organization one step forward.
I welcome your thoughts.