A 9-Step Guide to Candidate Communication

When you master the art of communicating effectively with candidate, you reap tons of benefits. From providing a higher-quality recruitment experience to speeding up your hiring process and maintaining a stellar employer brand – there are plenty of perks to refining how you interact with job applicants.

If you’re curious to know the answer, continue reading as we discuss that very question!

1. Map out your main touchpoints

First thing first, you need to fully grasp when and how you’ll contact applicants, which means establishing a list of touchpoints. This will vary from organization to organization, but it might resemble something like the pipeline below:

  • •  The pre-application phase. You should reply to job seekers (either via email or text) when someone subscribes to receive careers-related alerts. Similarly, you should also respond to prospects when they ask whether you’re hiring. Be sure to thank them for their interest and direct them to your latest job vacancies. You should also explain how they can receive updates about any openings you post in the future.
  • •  During the application. At the very least, you should ping over an email or text message to candidates as soon as they send an application. A week later, it’s worth following up to reassure them their application is being processed.
  • •  A change in status. You’ll also want to contact the candidate whenever the status of their application changes. For example, if they pass the pre-screening phase and you’re ready to offer an interview.
  • •  Interviews. Needless to say, when it gets to the point where you’re scheduling interviews with candidates, you’ll need a robust two-way communication system. Yes, you can write and send all your messages manually but if you’re running a more extensive recruitment drive, you may find automated scheduling emails useful for better managing your communications.

2. Share the timeline

While you’re mapping out these touchpoints, assign realistic time frames for when you’ll contact applicants. Then, once you have a timeline in mind, communicate that to your candidates. You should clarify exactly how many stages your recruitment process has, what they entail, how long each phase takes, and what step they’re currently at.

3. Provide status updates

It’s imperative candidates stay informed about what’s happening with their application. They’ll appreciate being in the know. For example, if your recruitment efforts are impacted by COVID-19, keep them informed about how the pandemic affected the process, how you’re responding to it, and, most importantly, how this impacts your applicants.

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4. Be ready to answer questions – promptly

Your talent acquisition team should be ready to answer questions from the get-go. There’s a good chance candidates will inquire about the role or the application process, so be ready and willing to provide prompt responses.

Give prospects a point of contact in your job ads, or have a chatbot on your careers site where applicants can ask their questions. If there are any frequently asked questions your support team receives all the time, create an FAQ page which applicants can refer to.

5. Personalize your messaging

Customize the messages you send applicants based on where they’re at in the recruitment process and their engagement with previous messages. Avoid anonymous mass mailings – this doesn’t look great for your employer brand. Plus, you’re less likely to provide applicants with the specific info they’re after.

In short: Wherever possible, tailor communications to meet the exact needs of the recipient.

6. Utilize text messaging

Texts get way more opens than emails. In fact, studies show that SMS open rates can be as high as 98%! Many find texting quicker and more accessible than email – which makes engaging with prospects much more manageable.

7. Rethink your rejection letters

If you’re rejecting a candidate further down the recruitment process, especially after a couple of interviews, provide some feedback. Why weren’t they successful on this occasion? Let them know in your rejection letter. If you don’t have the time to write long emails brimming with in-depth advice, at least give them a few bullet points. Then, at the end of the message, let them know that you’re happy to provide more info if they call.

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8. Be consistent 

Consistency is critical, not only with what you’re saying to applicants but also how you go about saying it. As you’ve probably guessed, we’re talking about establishing a tone of voice that’s unique to your employer brand.

When it comes to establishing a voice for your employer brand, here’s some advice:

•  Keep it short and sweet. Job seekers are busy people – they spend hours applying and following up on jobs, so respect their time by communicating what they need to hear quickly and concisely.

•  Understand how others see your brand. As you formulate the tone of voice for your employer brand, you’ll want to consider how people already perceive you. There’s a good chance your current employees use and share their experiences working with your brand on platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Glassdoor, etc. Candidates put great stock on what previous and current employees have to say. In fact, 70% of people look at these kinds of reviews before making a career decision.

9. Ask for feedback

The most effective way to improve your candidate communication strategy is to ask for feedback both throughout the process and at the end (from both successful and rejected candidates). Not only does this show you care about the experience you provide candidates, but it also keeps candidates engaged in your recruitment process. Once you collect some feedback, you’ll have a more accurate insight into how you could improve your recruitment process.

Are you ready to up your candidate communication efforts?

Having read all of the above, it’s clear that how you communicate with candidates during the recruitment phase reflects on you as an employer. That’s why ensuring your communications are relevant, useful, timely, and, most importantly, consistent with your brand is imperative.