The job candidate market for highly skilled workers is very strong right now. Many companies fail to realize that candidates have choices as they seek new positions. The “candidate experience” that companies offer candidates in their interview process may help or harm that candidate’s interest in pursuing a position with them.
Here are ten ways that a company can turn a candidate off and cause them to look elsewhere and solutions to overcome it:
1. The company’s online application process is so lengthy that strong candidates cannot be bothered to spend the time to fill it out.
It also signals that your company is behind the times in their HR processes. A majority of candidates today are seeking positions using their phones. An arduous application process makes this almost impossible. Some companies still require an applicant to write in their entire job history, including past salaries, supervisor names, and a list of references. Top candidates just can’t be bothered and move on to other opportunities. Keep your online application simple.
2. Your application requires that a candidate reveal their age or requires a social security number.
Many companies now require that you list your college graduation year on their online application. You are signaling to candidates that their age is important to you. There is no reason to be requiring a candidate’s college graduation year at this point in the interview process. Asking for a social security number upfront on an application is inviting top talent to move on.
3. The job description is boring, generic, or vague.
In a competitive candidate market, the company is responsible for selling its opportunities to candidates. When the job description for an opening is generic, vague, or lacks any sizzle, you may lose candidate interest even if your company has a stellar reputation. Companies must ensure that their job description attracts the candidate’s attention and makes them want to apply. Candidates want to feel excited about the role they are applying to.
4. The company takes forever to start contacting candidates who have applied.
You must get inside the head of the candidate in this strong candidate market. How would top talent want to be treated? What would make them choose your company over another? Don’t delay reaching out to candidates that you want to interview. They are probably already interviewing with your competitors, who may be quicker than you to respond.
5. Your interview process is slow and sloppy.
When you decide to interview a candidate, make sure they have all the information they need. Don’t make them ask for the names and titles of who is interviewing them. When your interview process is chaotic, you are telling the candidate that the entire company may be disorganized. The candidate is observing every part of the interview process. In addition, don’t be vague with candidates about their next steps. They may pass you by for another company if you aren’t prompt with their next steps. If there is a delay, call the candidate and apologize.
6. Your interview process has so many steps and requires so much work by the candidate that they look elsewhere.
Many companies require so many steps in their interview process that top talent often drops out because they’ve gotten another offer. It is a significant turnoff to candidates when you make them interview so many different people by phone and video first and then bring them in for several in-person rounds before you can make a decision. Do you really think that the top talent is willing to spend months interviewing with you? In addition, companies also attempt to have candidates work on projects, presentations, etc. If you think your interview process is too involved, I guarantee you that it is. Top talent is willing to engage in a thorough interview process, but there is a fine line where yours may just be too long for them to be bothered.
7. Your company is arrogant and or rude to the candidate.
Top talent is evaluating each step of your interview process. All it takes is one interview with a rude or arrogant team member, and they may drop out. You can’t ever afford to treat a candidate rudely or arrogantly. Poor treatment in an interview is a signal to the candidate that yours isn’t the work culture they want to be a part of.
8. You don’t sell your company or the opportunity to the candidate.
Your company may be highly sought out by candidates, but in a great job market, you can’t afford to rest on your laurels. Every person who interviews the candidate must actively be selling the opportunity. The interview process is no longer a one-way street where the candidate is grilled and put on the spot with no power. You only have one chance to impress a candidate. Don’t blow it!
9. You don’t let the candidate know that you are very interested in them during the interview and play hard to get.
If you are interested in a candidate during their interview, you need to tell them. So often, companies play hard to get games where they create a mystery for the candidate about their interest in them. Top talent needs to know that you are interested! Don’t play hard to get games with them as they may move on to a competitor who is more demonstrative of their interest. Let the candidate know at the end of their interview round that you are definitely interested.
10. Your compensation and benefits packages don’t reflect the competitive candidate market.
Your salary needs to be competitive, and your benefits should be unambiguous. Time-off policies that are vague and state you can take as much time off as you like turn off many generations of candidates. In addition, when companies offer inadequate healthcare coverage that makes the employee pay substantial co-pays, they are keeping themselves from being competitive. When you make an offer, be sure to email a summary of benefits that is comprehensive and transparent. In this candidate market, candidates want to evaluate your total compensation package easily. They shouldn’t have to keep requesting additional information on healthcare, stock options, bonus plans, etc. When companies are ambiguous about total compensation, it can read as a red flag to the candidate. Your offer may be turned down.
Learn more about my experience working as a senior-level San Francisco Bay Area Recruiter in a strong candidate market.
You can view the original article which appeared on LinkedIn on May 29th, 2018.