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Communicate with Applicants – Early and Often!

Posted by Dave Bolton

As most Talent Acquisition analysts will tell you, the biggest cost of recruiting is attracting career consumers to apply for their openings. Billions of dollars are spent each year on this activity. It makes sense since without applicants, openings won’t get filled and company growth could level off or decline without the workers to do the work.

 

It then boggles the mind that after spending so much effort and treasure on converting candidates to applicants, that we make the actual application so difficult to navigate, and then throw a veil over the process once someone hits the apply button.

 

The ATS industry is being disrupted by a ton of investment and I see that area being simplified in the coming years, but the lack of interest in sharing a more transparent Applicant Journey needs work. Until recently, there have been few solutions to provide a more engaging process for applicants and for decades we’ve treated applicants poorly, but that has changed, and solutions are readily available. The hard-working folks at the Talent Board and the Candidate Experience Awards have done an excellent job changing the way this is perceived by large employers, but we still have a long way to go.  

 

The key to a great applicant experience is how we communicate. In fact, Applicant Communication is the framework for a great experience. When you consider the term experience, it means many different things based on your perception as an employer or a candidate. With communication, the term is easily understood with little wiggle room for interpretation, and to foster continued efforts, communication with applicants makes perfect sense.

 

Some will say they’re already communicating with their applicants. That their recruiters do the job of ensuring that applicants are communicated with throughout the process. The issue is that with busy recruiters with 25 reqs or more, the possibility of the communication falling through the cracks is greatly increased. It also is something that if done with a humanized approach can be automated, providing recruiters with more time to source candidates and other more hands-on activities.

 

Still, one has to consider that only about 10% of applicants will move beyond the initial stage of making an application. That means that 90% of those who take the time to apply will have no communication beyond the acknowledgement that their application was received. To make it worse, only about 2/3 of companies send any communication at all.

 

Wouldn’t it be great if an applicant got a message telling them the number of applications received for the role, so they knew the role was competitive? If not chosen to interview out of say 200, it wouldn’t be so frustrating. The act of providing them these details is what applicants in survey after survey say they want to know.

 

Another way to change the way we communicate to applicants is to reach out more often. There are solutions available that make it simple to automate “humanistic” messages that any applicant would be amazed to be sent. Consider the impact if you sent a text to an applicant exactly 10 minutes after they started filling out the application that said, “we know this is a lot, but you’re almost finished, and we are so excited to see your career accomplishments.” Not only would you improve the number who complete your application, but the applicant would surely be wowed by this gesture.

 

It doesn’t have to stop there. In addition to messaging them that you received their application, how do you think an applicant would react to a message sent the next day telling them you are reviewing their application? Oh, and you also share with them information about a new innovation or something about the employee culture in the same message. These types of messages can be sent to all applicants creating a closer dialog that will show that you care about them enough to share. This is what remarkable communication can do for how your company is perceived. 90% or so will get a third message from you telling them that they won’t be moved forward in the hiring process, but the extra care in communicating with them prior to hearing this makes it much easier to accept.

 

For companies that are consumer based and their applicants are also their company customers, it would make sense to provide an invitation to experience your products in some special way as a means of thanking them for taking the time to apply. This “something special” doesn’t have to cost extra (although it wouldn’t hurt to do so), it can be a test drive, or providing advance knowledge of upcoming sales, or something along those lines.

 

The key is that communicating more often with their needs and concerns in mind at the earliest stage of the hiring process will impact a greater number of applicants in a more positive way. Of course, as applicants move through the process they should also be communicated at every step that sheds light on what to expect and their status.

 

Communication solutions were mentioned in post above, and there is no better solution on the market today than the Applicant Communication Studio offered by ConveyIQ. Whether it is text or email, Convey will help you to communicate a remarkable journey for all your applicants.

 

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