Candidate Communication: How to Make It Efficient? – CNA IT

Volodymyr Bilyk
12 November 2021

Candidate communication is one of the toughest aspects of recruitment and candidate experience. It requires a sublime understanding of human behavior and swift analytical skills to adjust your actions accordingly. 

When done right, candidate communication is a cornerstone of an effective talent acquisition process and a potent tool for maintaining a smooth cost-effective recruitment process. According to Jobvite, 58% of the candidates consider communication a decisive factor in recruitment.

This article breaks down how to make candidate communication right.

How to Set-up an Effective Candidate Communication?

Map Out The Touchpoints

map out touchpoints

Explaining the fundamentals is critical in establishing proper candidate communication. The candidate needs to know what is going to happen when and how – understanding that builds trust. 

The best way to do that is by mapping out the touchpoints. While the specifics may vary, in one or another, you should explain the following aspects of the recruitment process. 

Pre-application stage AKA initial contact 

  • This one is usually a feeling-out process during which both recruiter and candidate gather the basic information. 
  • From the recruiter’s point of view, this is important in understanding a candidate’s motivations and aspirations.

Application stage 

  • At this stage, you are doing the regular recruitment back and forth. The process kickstarts with the application and proceeds with regular follow-ups regarding the candidate’s status. 
  • The main goal is to inform the candidate that he’s “on the list.” If the recruitment process is going slow – it is worth sending follow-ups once in a while. However, that’s not a guarantee of candidate retention.
  • Also – it is a good idea to explain to the candidate the whole timeline and sequence of events. 

A change in status

  • This one is crucial for effective communication. Any time something happens regarding the candidate’s status – you need to make him in the know. 
  • Keeping candidates in the dark with their status is a surefire way to give them to the competition. For example, they are passing the screening stage, sending a test task, etc. 

Arranging interviews 

  • This one is tricky. Technically, that’s “a change in status” thing, but it is also so much more. 
  • Scheduling interviews is one of those things that needs to be personalized (more on that later). Unfortunately, because of that, cookie-cutter template messages won’t cut it. 
  • The other important thing is communicating the feedback timing correctly so that the candidate would understand when he can expect the decision. (One thing for sure – it is better to be sooner than later)

The post-application stage

  • The decision is made, the search is over, now it is time to inform the candidate about his status and close the loop. 
  • The main thing you need to communicate is the decision – positive or negative, you need to explain the reasoning. 
  • The other important thing is to keep the contact potent if you’re not hiring this candidate. Because of that, you need to say something along the lines “while we’ve chosen the other candidate for this position, we will be happy to consider you for our future vacant positions.” 

Explain The Timeline

explain timeline

Explaining the timeline is a challenging thing. The recruitment process is rarely clockwork. There are a lot of human factors involved. Sometimes the scheduling doesn’t work out, then some events are beyond your control, and you need to work around them. 

Either way – the candidate deserves to know how much approximate time it will take for the recruitment process. 

Because of that, during mapping out the touchpoints phase, it is also essential to explain the timeline. So here’s what you need to cover:

  • The recruitment process stages – screening, initial interview, test task, technical interview, final interview, job offer, etc.
  • The current stage. For example, the candidate is currently at the screening stage, and it is a relatively long way to go.
  • Overall time frame – how much time does it take from applying to issuing a job offer.
  • Timeframe of each stage. For example, screening in one day, the initial interview the next day, one day for decision-making, technical interview the other day, a couple of days for final decision.
  • Possible delays – they happen sometimes.

This way, you will stay transparent with the candidate and have less hassle to wrangle while composing follow-ups.

Provide Regular Sync-up Status Updates

provide regular sync-ups status update

There are two critical aspects of effective candidate communication – regularity and consistency. 

Transparency matters. 

The candidate needs to be in the know regarding what is going on with his application – where he is in contention when the interview is going to occur, other important events. 

  • There is a pandemic-related delay in the process? Someone got sick? Is the position currently on hold? The candidate needs to know about that first-hand without ever feeling the need to write a follow-up letter himself. 

Providing back and forth feedback is also helpful. 

  • On the one hand, you need to understand how well the candidate processes the incoming information. Maybe he needs to know more facts about the company and its culture. Perhaps you need to talk through his concern regarding his fitness for the position. 
  • On the other hand, the recruitment process is a beast of optimization, and it is critical to have enough information to adjust your approach accordingly. 
  • Asking pointed questions is the best way to get as much information as possible. But don’t go as far as asking to fill the feedback form. That’s going to kill your reliable connection and turn into a formal exchange.

Consistency saves.

In the candidate communication context, consistency is the glue. Here’s why it matters:

  • Early candidate impressions depend on a consistent tone.
  • On the surface, the recruiter needs to establish a trustworthy interaction with the candidate, showing care and empathy towards the candidate. 
  • Concise messaging is critical. You need to get to the point, not show that you can write a 50-word long sentence. This approach shows your respect for the candidate’s time and attention.
  • The recruiter is the first company representative the candidate encounters. Because of that, it is essential to communicate key company culture aspects from the get-go. In addition, such a subtle showcase of organizational values gives the candidate a taste of the company he’s applying to. But that’s an underlying goal, and it is better to keep it in the background.
  • In addition, if your communication is consistent – it is less challenging to handle a counteroffer situation.

Personalize Conversations

personalize conversations

Personalization is a great challenge of candidate communication. The thing is – you need to make the candidate care, and you can’t do it with a formal no-strings-attached approach.

But there’s a catch. Candidate engagement depends on a lot of factors. As a result, you can’t pull it out of thin air. 

  • Different things drive the candidates. 
  • Each candidate has its own motivators and demotivators, and each has reasons to stay at the current job or consider changing it.

You need to understand that and use it for the benefit of your cause. While it might sound malicious, in reality – your goal is to help the particular candidate to make his mind. 

  • In other words – you need to get to know the candidate to sell him the position. 

How to pull it off?

  • External research gives you surface-level information. It gives you the context of the candidate. 
  • The screening conversation is another source of information. This is where you get to know what drives the candidates and what turns them off. 
  • Referral data – this information is relevant to juxtapose with the company values for culture fit purposes. 
  • Feedback back-and-forth is a good way of keeping both candidate and recruiter on the same page regarding all sorts of things (recruitment process, the interviews, perception of the company, personal concerns, etc.)

In conclusion

When done right, candidate communication is an effective tool for candidate engagement that results in positive candidate experience that leads towards an effective hiring process and high quality of hire ratio.

While this paragraph sounds like mumbo-jumbo – it illustrates the cause-and-effect impact of proper candidate communication.

If you need to fine-tune your candidate communication frameworks or train your recruitment team – our consultants can help you out.