2018 will see an increased focus on candidate experience throughout the hiring process. Though this trend is not exclusive to the Education industry, it will have a greater effect on inbound and hunted candidates and, ultimately, hiring success. Potential candidates now have more avenues (Glassdoor, LinkedIn, company websites) to discuss their experiences. With proper preparation and a welcoming environment, you can ensure that each candidate has a positive experience, increasing the success of hiring the best talent.
The hiring process can be hampered by indecision, miscommunication and unrealistic expectations. The cumulative effect usually increases the time to hire and ultimately can create a negative candidate experience. Always remember that preparation is the key to every successful hire and that planning starts before a job has been posted. Often a candidate will be interviewing with multiple people. It is the hiring manager’s responsibility to make sure that all internal stakeholders have a clear understanding of the position and the ideal candidate background. These expectations should also be set with any outside venders involved in the process. Once the role has been established, a robust plan-of-action must be created. A good strategy will help provide structure; this includes a strategy for questioning and a clear timeline for the hire. Ultimately, one must remember that every candidate who interviews expects that the company knows what they are looking for. Having a clear strategy will help to ensure that once the hiring process begins, every candidate’s interview experience will be smooth and productive.
Compensation can be a major stumbling block when closing potential candidates. Often companies who do not do their research run the risk of either overpaying a new hire or missing out on the ideal candidate because of under paying. If you don’t have compensation packages that are comparable to your competitors then you are putting your potential to hire the top talent at risk.
It is important to be proactive when structuring your compensation plans. Make sure that you have researched your competitors and the market in general. Larger, more established organizations may have a large array of internal data to create a competitive compensation plan, but they still need to undertake outside research. Having clear expectations on compensation will also improve the candidate experience as a well-researched offer can reduce the risk of drawn out negotiations, allowing the candidate to focus on the exciting new opportunity at your company.
Allowing candidates the opportunity to interview you (and good candidates will) can be a great way to enhance the candidate experience. Providing this opportunity early in an interview can often allow an interviewer time to gauge a candidate’s personality, providing a more organic and informative environment for both inquisitive and nervous candidates to thrive. The goal is still the same even if you want to keep a more traditional interviewing format; you need to create a welcoming environment. As a hiring manager, you must be very self-aware of how your actions are influencing the tone of the interview. For example, if you do not have a more welcoming interview style, then identify an additional stakeholder in the hiring process who can help create that environment.
Timekeeping is also imporant during an interview and enough time must always be given for candidates to ask the questions that they need answered in order to make an informed decision. As the interviewer, one must make sure that they are transparent and upfront with the strengths and weaknesses of the company and position. Most strong candidates will take the transparency as a positive. However you choose to structure your interview, the goal should always be to make the candidate feel connected to the company. Hiring managers must understand the emotional side of the candidate and provide an interviewing environment that promotes a growth-directed opportunity.
Evaluating the Process
Evaluating your process through candidate feedback can be a valuable resource. Many organizations utilize customer surveys to improve their products and delivery but many are missing out on the chance to gather quantitative feedback on their hiring process. Candidate surveys can be a great way to gather information and, when positioned correctly, can be a positive way to keep a candidate pool engaged with your organization.
When searching for new talent providing a productive and welcoming environment for candidates, regardless of the hiring manager’s interview style will improve the likelihood of hiring the best talent.