Is Your Recruiting Process Killing New Employee Morale?

Ed Newman

 

One of the things I love about my job is that I get to speak with a lot of Talent Acquisition Leaders, and hear stories about how they are addressing various challenges that emerge on a daily basis.  In a recent conversation, I heard an interesting anecdote about how a gap in the recruiting process nearly spoiled a great hire.

One day, the Director of Recruiting bumped into an employee who had just started.  The conversation went something like this:

Director:  Hey, how are you doing?

Employee:  Pretty good.

Director:  It's great to have you on board, how are you liking it?

Employee:  Well, to be honest - I wasn't sure it was ever going to happen.

Director:  Oh, really?  What do you mean?

Employee:  It just seemed that maybe they wanted to hire someone else, and ended up settling for me.

The Director of Recruiting was surprised to hear this, and wanted to figure out what caused this impression.  He asked her to explain a little further, summed up in her experience below.

After a series of interviews, she was told at the end of the day that everyone was very excited, and that an offer would be extended in the next few days.

A week went by...crickets.

She was a bit surprised, because everyone was so positive after the interview.  Then, another week went by...more crickets.

At this point, she was feeling anxious and concerned, and decided it would be worth following up.  She called the company to find out what was happening.  The response was positive, and she was reassured an offer would be coming by the end of the week.

Another week, and guess what?  More crickets...

She made one more follow up attempt, and was assured that the offer was imminent.  After weeks of waiting, the offer arrived the next day.

How did this make the new employee feel?

She had gotten the impression that there were one or two other candidates ahead of her, and that she wasn't their first choice. She concluded that her offer only came after they could not close the other candidates.  While she was happy to get the offer, the overall experience left her feeling a little undervalued.

The Director of Recruiting followed up with the hiring team to get their side of the story.  It turns out there were never any other candidates in consideration. nThe only reason for the delay was that they had interviewed her before getting the position approved.

How would this employee would feel if there had been better communication during the recruiting process?  

Imagine if someone took the time to communicate to her that she was such a strong candidate, and that they were compelled to go to bat - creating a new position. Then, as soon as the new position was approved, she could expect to receive the offer. Instead of crickets, a weekly follow-up call could have informed her of the progress on the approvals and offer status.

Unfortunately, this happens more frequently than it should.  Here are some things we can learn from this story.

  • The recruiting process does not end when the final candidate is selected. We need to be mindful of the entire process and candidate experience all the way through the offer and on-boarding.
  • Frequent and transparent communication to candidates involved is essential when there are delays in the process.
  • If something changes on the timeline given to the candidate, be sure to communicate it before it lapses, and don't just give a new timeline - provide reasons for the delay.
  • We should carefully consider the candidate's perspective, including what they are thinking and feeling at every stage of the recruiting process - and then deliver the experience we would want to receive ourselves if the seats were reversed.

---

Do you have a story to share about a similar situation?