The most important stage in the hiring process?
Managing a successful hiring process and maintaining a great ‘candidate experience’ throughout can be a very difficult task.
Unexpected delays, difficult selection decisions and changing expectations from job seekers can create problems at every turn, and whilst an experienced hiring manager should be able to exercise some degree of control over all these aspects, all the hard work can quickly be put at jeopardy right at the very end of the process if the preferred applicant is left in limbo for too long.
Getting sign-off to make a formal offer sometimes takes time and may involve several people who have very busy schedules, but where this is likely to be the case, make this known (to the candidate during final interview or via their recruiter afterwards) and if nothing else, avoid giving unrealistic timescales of when you’re hoping to make a decision.
Here’s what can happen when such a delay occurs:
On the day the applicant has been told a decision will be made: they’ll be on edge all day waiting for the phone to ring and ready to accept. Many will be tired from lack of sleep the night before. They’ll inevitably take a little longer to get their work done, whilst struggling to focus. Most will have their partner/friends/family texting them by lunchtime “Any news???”. By mid-afternoon the seed of doubt might have entered their mind but they’ll remind themselves the day isn’t over and there’s still a couple of hours to go. No need to panic. By 17:30 if there’s still no news they’ll be wondering if maybe someone else has been offered, maybe they shouldn't have said this or that at interview, maybe they should have studied harder at university?
By the end of day 2, if there’s still no news or satisfactory explanation for the delay, self-preservation will have kicked in. They’ll be considering why it’s not the end of the world anyway – there were some downsides to the position after all and, with hindsight, the commute wasn't ideal and perhaps things aren't really so bad in their current position on balance.
By day 3, they’ll be resigned to the fact that they haven’t got the role and they’ll be glad of it. They’ll be annoyed to be left in limbo for so long, disengaged from the business and disappointed that they hadn't got on with the interviewer as well as they’d believed, or else surely they’d at least have been given some feedback out of courtesy?
And then the offer comes through.
Blog by Richard Hooper