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What Do Job Seekers Want From Hiring Managers?

Written by Val Matta

Hiring managers — are you scaring off quality job seekers by failing to do your job effectively?

Although the life of a hiring manager is far from easy, you could be making some critical mistakes that not only dampen the results of your recruiting efforts, but also make your organization look bad.

Weak Links: Case In Point

According to a recent CareerBuilder survey, 75% of job seekers never received any communication from prospective employers after applying for a position. How about you? Do you respond to all applicants? Even if a job posting attracts far more candidates than you can seriously consider, choosing not to acknowledge inquiries can hurt your company’s reputation.

In today’s social media environment, bad business practices are easily exposed and amplified. Therefore, it’s wise to handle applicants with more TLC. If you don’t, the best candidates may decide to look elsewhere, and publicly encourage others to do so. However, you can neutralize negativity by rethinking outdated hiring practices and making an extra effort. Even small changes can win over great talent, and build goodwill along the way.

So, with that in mind, what do today’s job seekers really want, and how can hiring managers help?

4 Ways To Improve The Hiring Process

1) Solid Job Descriptions

A poorly written job description runs the risk of attracting candidates who aren’t qualified for the position. Even worse, weak messaging may turn off the best and brightest talent. Still, less-than-stellar job descriptions are all too common: 43% of survey respondents say they found out during an interview that a job didn’t match what was promised in an ad. But who’s really responsible if a candidate advances to the interview stage before discovering that the job isn’t a fit?

Quick tip:  Feature as many details as possible in your job descriptions, including required duties, qualifications, and salary information. You may also want to link to your company website, which can house testimonials or videos that help tell your organization’s story and give potential candidates a feel for company culture.

2) Acknowledgement

Here’s food for thought: 82% of workers expect to hear back from a company when they apply for a job — regardless of whether the employer is interested. Yet, a very small proportion of applicants actually receive confirmation. Job seekers clearly consider acknowledgement a basic courtesy. It’s in your best interest to reach out and maintain goodwill with applicants — who may also be loyal customers.

Quick tip: If you don’t have time to connect directly with every job seeker, then automate the process. Email applications and applicant tracking systems offer personalized message capabilities. It may not be true 1-to-1 communication, but it certainly is better than keeping applicants in the dark, and it demonstrates your appreciation for their interest in the company.

3) Ongoing Feedback

The previous point speaks to the importance of acknowledging contact — letting applicant know you received and reviewed their resumes, or that they’ve been turned down. But it’s just as important to communicate with active candidates throughout the hiring process. Letting prospects know what they should expect, what they’re doing right, and how you’d like to move forward helps them stay connected and engaged. Don’t keep them guessing, or you may be lose some of your best options.

Quick tip: Keep your applicants posted through each step of the hiring process. For example, if step one requires a video interview, let them know how they should prepare. If step two is an in-person interview, provide some advance notice about the structure of the session, the people they’ll meet and the topics you expect to discuss. If you want to review portfolio pieces, indicate what types of work samples matter most to you. If they need to shadow someone in your organization as a test run, be sure you share logistical details. Communicating early and often keeps potential employees informed and engaged. It ensures an optimal impression — regardless of the hiring outcome.

4) Enthusiasm and Knowledge

Although it’s not your job to be a role model to job seekers, if you don’t seem enthused about the position, how can you possibly expect it from potential employees? Surprisingly, about 30% of workers who sought jobs last year found that company representatives weren’t knowledgeable about their own organizations. Another 34% say representatives didn’t present a positive work experience. You may be a candidate’s only impression of your company. Make sure it’s a good one.

Quick tip: Look at the job search process as a reverse interview. Make sure you’re enthusiastic about your organization and keep information about the company, the job and the hiring process at the ready. If you’re not sure of an answer, find someone who can help, and follow up. This reflects well on your employer brand, creates a great experience for the candidate, and streamlines the employment process for all.

The hiring process is about more than pinpointing great talent. It’s an opportunity to reinforce brand positioning with the community at-large, and foster stronger relationships with applicants who may be some of your strongest customer advocates. If you take time to create strong job descriptions, acknowledge applicants, provide ongoing feedback, and offer enthusiasm along the way, you’ll not only find great employees, but you’ll also win the hearts and minds of everyone who participates in the process.

What do you think? What else are job hunters seeking from hiring managers? How can employers respond? And why is this important? Share your ideas and opinions in the comments area below.

Val Matta(About The Author: Val Matta is the vice president of business development at CareerShift, a comprehensive job hunting and career management solution for HR professionals and career seekers that gives job seekers complete control over their search. Val is a regular contributor to The Huffington Post, and has had her writing featured at Recruiter.com, CareerBuilderMashable, USA Today College Series and in other outlets. Connect with Val and CareerShift on LinkedIn.)

(Editor’s Note: To discuss World of Work topics like this with others in the TalentCulture community, join our online #TChat events every Wednesday, from 6:30-8pm ET. Or visit the #TChat stream on Twitter anytime. Everyone is welcome! Learn more...)

Image Credit: Pixabay

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