The moment a potential candidate applies for a job, the clock starts ticking on the employers’ opportunity to connect and create a positive experience.

Connect. Not to be confused with respond.

An email response lets the person know a human has received their application. Consider it the bare minimum.

Connecting, on the other hand, personalizes that initial communication and should leave the applicant feeling as though they’ve had a positive experience with your company, even if they don’t land the job.

That’s smart business, because you just never know when an applicant might cross your path again as a customer or supplier.

If the candidate is someone you’d consider for the role, your introductory email, message or phone call should convey excitement and engagement.

“We’re happy you applied. We’d like to learn more about you and share with you what to expect if you join our team.”

This is where you sell the job opportunity.

You may be thinking: Isn’t the onus on the applicant to sell their skill set to you, the employer?

It’s a two-way street.

In January, CNBC reported 10.5 million job openings or 1.7 vacancies per available worker. Some companies are just barely backfilling the departures, with 6.1 million hires against 5.9 million separations.

A survey of 2,000 job seekers shared by Digital Information World showed 75 percent said the overall hiring process left them feeling stressed and uncertain about what a position might entail due to the lack of information in the job ad, and in their initial connection with the employer.

The result? Abandoned applications and lost opportunities for both the candidate and the employer.

A well-planned connection in the form of a phone call or message can go a long way in terms of setting expectations and creating a positive experience. It should be brief and to the point, and it should help the candidate move through your hiring process as quickly and as easily as possible.

Ideally, you have the bandwidth to ensure at least one team member is fielding applications and investing time connecting with candidates, particularly those most qualified. Recruiting software, like an applicant tracking system, can help narrow them down.

Once you have a pool of applicants you’d like to connect with, plan your communication by polishing up on the following:

  • The correct pronunciation of the candidate’s name
  • A clear and concise job description
  • A run-down of primary perks and benefits
  • A quick overview of the company culture (just a sentence or two)
  • What you will need from them to proceed (documentation, tests, timelines)

Whenever possible, reference the person’s background; let them know why you’re interested in connecting. This tells the candidate that you’re engaged and have done your homework.  For example:

  • “I’d like to connect and talk about your experience at Company X because of the similarities to this role.”  
  • “Your experience with X would make a wonderful addition to our team. Let’s schedule a time to talk about this.”

Always ask candidates if they have questions, and if you don’t know the answer, be honest. Tell them you will find out and get back to them..then do it. Follow through is essential in creating a positive candidate experience.

If connecting with applicants isn’t happening in a consistent or timely manner, it might be time to incorporate some AI tools into the mix. As mentioned, applicant tracking systems can save a ton of time separating top applicants from those who are not a fit. Others include:

  • Pre-made assessments that can be personalized
  • Chatbots that can converse and answer basic questions in real time
  • Candidate relationship management (CRM) software that will allow you to track candidate follow-up and responses, test results and more

You want candidates to come away with a positive impression of your company; you want them to view your hiring manager as professional, engaged and knowledgeable about the position and company culture. That impression will be formed by how quickly and thoughtfully the initial connection unfolds.

Do you need help connecting with candidates? There is no time like the present when it comes to offloading or perhaps reimagining this task with the support of recruitment pros who understand the value of first impressions. Contact Squadron RPO today.