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3 Keys to Candidate Satisfaction in the Hiring and Employee Assessment Process

June 8, 2017

As a customer, have you ever had a terrible experience with a business that had you wishing you could wake yourself up from the customer service nightmare? It could be a server at a restaurant that is nowhere to be found, or a never-ending wait time when you call a customer service department, but there is no “service” to speak of. 

I know I have, particularly recently when I placed an order for a television, and three months later still had an empty TV stand. After countless calls, emails, and hand-written letters were exchanged with minimal response, guess what I did? I told EVERYONE. My family, my coworkers, my hairdresser, my UPS carrier; you name it, they heard my story and forewarning for them not to become the next victim.

candidate satisfaction

This same vicious cycle happens in all facets of life, but an aspect that you may underestimate is the hiring process. You don’t want your company being the perpetrator in a sentence that begins with “You’ll never guess what happened during my interview at (insert company name here).” Chances are if a candidate is recounting the time spent interviewing at your company, there’s a good possibility that the story won’t be good. It’s the sad but true reality of human nature that oftentimes we share the not so good encounters with those around us because of the emotions and reactions they elicit, and the warm and fuzzy experiences fall by the wayside.

Because, as a company, you are being interviewed for the position just as much as the candidate, it is important to put your game face on and ensure it's a positive, worthwhile endeavor for all parties. 

A few pointers I picked up recently during a panel discussion at the annual Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology (SIOP) Conference include:

1. Be Transparent

We’ve all sent resumes off into cyberspace and never known if it actually made it to an applicant tracking system or a recruiter’s inbox. Don’t allow your company to be the black hole of the internet. Be responsive, even if it’s an automatically generated email acknowledging receipt of the application. Once the applicant becomes a viable candidate, kick it up a notch in terms of openness and two-way communication. If your candidate is taking an employee assessment, inform them of all the steps involved in the application process and how often they can expect to hear from you. That feeling of being informed engages the candidate and maximizes candidate satisfaction levels.

2. Be Efficient

The speed at which an applicant progresses through your process matters, it’s that simple. If you’ve taken the time to post the position, you’re serious about filling that spot. Show your candidates it is just as important to you to get it filled as it was to list it in the first place. Adding an employee assessment or targeted application questions to screen candidates can assist you in covering ground quickly while also narrowing down your candidates to those with the desired skillset and experience.

3. Be Open

Hiring processes must be constantly tweaked to make sure you’re attracting the best candidates and using your company’s resources effectively. If possible, collect feedback from candidates that were both hired and rejected to see what they thought about their experience. Ask them what they enjoyed, what could be improved upon, and if they would recommend the company to a friend or family member. The responses will likely be candid, especially from those who were not offered a job, but they will do wonders for your HR and recruiting teams. By being open and receptive to this feedback, you are giving these groups concrete pain points to consider and developmental opportunities to improve upon from first-hand candidate satisfaction.

As a wise panelist mentioned in this SIOP session, remember that every single applicant is a current or potential customer or buyer of your brand. Treat them with respect and ensure the message they are sharing about your company with their inner circles is positive. By taking these few extra steps, you are ensuring your dinner time or happy hour conversations will revolve around something much more interesting than a waste of a job interview or the status of a missing television.

The Ultimate Hiring Manager’s Guide

Vicki Cooper Vicki Cooper is a former Consulting Associate based in PSI's Pittsburgh office. She worked with clients across many different industries, but specialized in manufacturing selection and development. She oversaw assessment programming and implementation, interview guide development, and day-to-day client needs.