Every week we comb through the news to find employment trends affecting the hospitality industry so you don’t have to. This week’s topic: the importance of connecting with candidates.

In a challenging hiring climate, recruiters and managers are always trying to find ways to stay relevant and competitive in order to attract top talent. One of the best ways to do this is by genuinely connecting with candidates. Below, we’ll talk about why it’s important to connect with candidates and how it can benefit both parties.  

Why is connecting with candidates important?  

Whether you’re a professional recruiter or oversee hiring for your business, there’s a lot of work that goes into finding the next addition to your team. Advertising, screening, and interviewing are usually seen as the most important aspects of the hiring process, but there’s one other thing that is just as important: connecting with candidates.   

Hiring has become increasingly digital, but even more so with the emergence of the coronavirus in 2020 that made in-person interactions risky. Though using hiring technology can make recruiters lives easier, it can also remove the element of human touch that’s vital for job seekers. By going out of your way to connect with candidates, you can stand out from the competition and leave a lasting impression on the candidate, ideally making them want to join your team.  

There are other reasons to prioritize candidate connection, such as:  

It can affect the candidate experience. 
The candidate experience is the overall perception a job seeker has with your company, which starts from the first time they interact with your brand. Missing the opportunity to form a strong connection can lead to a poor candidate experience, meaning you might lose out on great employees. 

Whether or not they’re hired, your brand will leave a good impression.
Creating a connection with job seekers is crucial regardless of if you’re hiring them or not. Even if you decide not to move forward, they may suggest you to a friend or leave a good review of the interview if they’re satisfied with their experience.  

You’ll create a more engaged employee. 
If you do choose to bring the candidate onboard, they’ll likely be more engaged because you formed that connection early on. More engaged employees = happier employees = less turnover. Not only that but engaged employees will be more willing to advocate for your business on social media, leave positive reviews, and refer great candidates they know.  

Frankly, it’s just nice.
It’s no secret that a lot of us are struggling right now because of the pandemic and other social issues. By going out of your way to form a genuine connection with someone who’s trying to make a positive change in their life, you can change the course of their day or week.  

How to create a genuine connection with candidates 

Now that you understand why creating a connection is so important, let’s look at what recruiters and managers can implement in their hiring process to form a personal touch.  

  • Make communication a priority. One way to lose candidates in the pipeline is by not communicating enough. They should be aware of each step in the hiring process and where they currently reside. In doing so, they’ll know you’re invested in their experience.  
  • Be transparent and up front. When you have multiple people to interview or positions to fill, using your time wisely is key. Make sure candidates have all the pertinent details they need up front, that way there’s no reason to back out last minute, leaving you scrambling.  
  • Treat your “no’s” the same as your “yes’s”. Once you’ve decided not to move forward with a candidate, it may feel like it’s not necessary to keep up with communication (or in some cases, even let them know they weren’t hired). But by being clear in your decision and providing feedback, you can leave a good impression which will likely spread positive brand awareness.  
  • When asking personal questions, care about the answers. During your interview, you should leave time for casual conversation, if only to put the candidate at ease. When talking to the candidate, make sure you practice active listening, and be truly invested in what they have to say (they’ll know if you’re not being genuine).  
  • Make them feel at home (even if they’re in their own homes). At an in-person interview, you might be offering the candidate some water or coffee, but this personal touch is lost in the age of video interviewing. Fortunately, there are other ways to make them feel at home; Let candidates know if you’re comfortable with them grabbing their own drinks, be understanding about connection issues, and make sure your personality shines.  

A study by IBM reports that candidates are 38% more likely to accept a job offer if they had a positive experience with your brand, and the best way to do that is by forming connection. Not only that, but “regardless of whether they get a job offer, applicants who are satisfied with their candidate experience are more than twice as likely to recommend the hiring organization to others, compared with those who were not satisfied (62% vs. 28%).”  

By prioritizing connecting with candidates, you can improve your brand awareness/imageprovide a great recruiting experience, gain referrals, and encourage better employee engagement. Start today by implementing some of our tips – and let us know if you have any of your own.