Job candidates have an expiration date. No, I don’t mean the date by which they shed their mortal coil. Rather, I mean the date after which you, as a potential employer, are no longer viable to them. This is especially true with hourly labor jobs such as retail, some hospitality, customer service centers, restaurants and the like. Candidates applying for these kinds of jobs often have multiple applications outstanding and will frequently take the first offer that comes along, even if there might be a better job in the mix. The old adage, “a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush” applies here.
Numerous studies have show that a candidate’s overall perception of a company is formed early in the recruitment process. There is a correlation between the time a candidate first applies and the first real opportunity that candidate has to display his or her qualifications – typically demonstrated in an early-stage interview of some kind. That same relationship extends past the interview stage, all they way to offer or rejection. Quite simply, the faster the process moves, the more satisfied the candidate is, even if the ultimate disposition is not a job offer. Conversely, if the candidate perceives that the process moves too slowly, he or she will quickly sour on the opportunity and the reputation of the company in general may be tarnished in the candidate’s mind.
Streamlining the process, putting more control (to a certain extent) in the hands of the candidate, and frequent communication are keys to candidate satisfaction and help ensure the freshest candidates are available at each step. Many companies have deployed online technologies that allow candidates to record interviews immediately after submitting an application, reducing some of the early lag time and providing the candidate a sense of control over their recruitment. Companies using these technologies often report that candidates who take advantage of this tend to be more motivated and better qualified. And, in the end, that’s what you’re looking for, right?
So, don’t let your candidates sit on the shelf past their expiration dates. Engage with them early and often.