Considering how difficult it can be to find the right candidate to fill a position nowadays, you would think it the hard-earned (You had to put in a lot of work and money, after all!) candidate contacts would be treated with respect and given special attention. Inconceivably, though, many HR departments are still run in a manner that turns candidates into supplicants, who are supposed to wait endlessly to receive any kind of feedback or information – if they receive any at all. In that situation it is really surprise if that top candidate prefers to work for somebody else.

Keeping up the candidates’ initial interest and your chances of actually completing a successful placement isn’t rocket science, though.

The most important rule to remember is to stay in touch and to under no circumstances give the candidate the feeling that they’re being ignored. Obviously, the whole process should take as little time as possible, to reduce waiting periods and curb impatience – as well as the risk of a competitor being quicker and hiring that perfect expert before you get a chance. However, even if sometimes things will take some time, let them know. Even if it’s not really news, “We still need a couple of days to get back to you.” Will at least let them know that their application is still under consideration. And of course, if there IS real news, it is important to pass that along as quickly as possible, too.

And don’t surrender to the temptation of using standardized and generic templates for those mails or letters, no matter how much time and effort that might save you! There are few things that leave a worse impression than the feeling of communicating with a computer because the real contact person considers herself too busy to get down and do it herself. One or two short lines of an email or a quick phone call beat a page-long generic letter any time.

Ideally, job interviews should be treated like any other business meetings. That means they ought to be scheduled with as little delay as possible, while also keeping in mind your partner’s situation (i.e. give several suggestions for meeting dates instead of just asking the candidate to come it at a specified time). Once the date is set, avoid re-scheduling. Especially if done on short notice or several times, re-scheduling leaves the horrible impression that you’re seeing the candidate as expendable and someone you aren’t taking seriously.

Every candidate is a piece of your company’s future. Start treating them accordingly!

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