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5 ways to make every job applicant feel like a superstar

A little effort goes a long way when you’re recruiting. I’ve recruited for thousands of positions, both at external agencies and internally at companies, and I’m always surprised by how awesome it is to make someone’s life better with a simple email. Sometimes I’m writing “Thanks, but this position is already filled,” or sometimes it’s “You got the job!!!”, but I always take time to consider the person on the other end and how important it is to start (or extend) a relationship with them. Whether or not you hire that person today, their skills could be highly relevant down the line. So here are some things I do to make sure every candidate feels highly valued.

  1. Immediately let them know they’ve been seen: Not every candidate is a fit, but making sure they don’t feel like they sent their resume to a black hole is essential. Send a note to every candidate that applies. Most applicant tracking systems have a way of automating this step, which you should utilize. Even if yours doesn’t, be sure to take that extra step to give candidates confirmation that their cover letter & resume was received.
  2. Set expectations every step of the way: It starts with the very first phone call. Tell candidates clearly when they should expect to hear from you, what the interview process looks like, and how much time commitment is required from them. Most active candidates are juggling a full-time job and other interviews, so help them figure out whether they can commit to the full process.
  3. Build their confidence: When scheduling the interview, give them insider tips to help them feel confident when they walk in the door. That doesn’t mean giving answers to interview questions, but building trust with them that your role is to help them succeed. It’s no fun showing up in a suit and tie when everyone else is in jeans and a sweater. Tell them the dress code, the names of individuals they’ll be meeting, and the layout of their day: Will it be a group session, or individual one-on-ones? Be sure to include any parking or building directions.
  4. Build a conversation: After the on-site interview loop, you’ve likely been talking to this person for three to four weeks, so treat them like you would anyone you’d spent that much time with. Call them to give feedback — whether you’re moving forward or not, a phone call will go a long way. Consider the time and energy the person has put in to your process; they deserve more than a form letter, so give them a ring. Even when it’s bad news, they will appreciate the voice on the other end. This is sometimes the hardest step, but it’s the most rewarding when you know you’ll be able to call on that person another time for another position.
  5. Be a useful resource: There is nothing better than being able to email or call a candidate after they’ve accepted a job offer to congratulate them. Make sure to be a helpful resource for them if they have questions about their start date, benefits, relocation options, etc. They may have been so excited to sign their offer that they forgot to ask for clarification. Make sure to offer to walk them through any forgotten steps, so they feel prepared to conquer their new role from day one.
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