Communicating Expectations with Candidates

( Niek Verlaan, Pixabay )

By Bonnie Johnson,

Candidates are appraising your operation as a potential employer from the very beginning of the job search process. This evaluation typically begins when candidates review your job posting, though it can start earlier when they hear about your business through word-of-mouth, visit your website or research online reviews.

Based on an survey of agricultural candidates, communication throughout the process was the most important experience impacting the impression of the organization. 

If you are not adequately communicating upfront and setting expectations, you’ll lose candidates – good candidates at that because they simply don’t have or want to take the time to go through the long process. 

Online recruitment and application processing can make a candidate feel invisible. Candidates may feel like they’re just one small fish in a sea of applicants, and that no one ever really looks at their application.

This is why being upfront is crucial. Take advantage of every opportunity to communicate needed information upfront or in the job posting. So, what do you need to tell candidates in the job posting or on your company site?

Application process length
How long will this job application take? Don’t assume job seekers take just a couple minutes to recycle an old resume and apply. The average candidate said it took them 31 minutes up to an hour to submit one application. Almost 25% said it took them more than an hour. Other studies have found candidates spend three to four hours. You can understand the frustration from a candidate who spends hours on their application and never receives any communication from the potential employer.

Be upfront about the complexity of the application process. Tell job seekers what they will need during the application process, such as references, previous employer addresses, education transcripts and employment dates.  

Specify the job closing date in the posting. Does the applicant have a few days to make their best possible application, or do they need to get their application in today?

Describe the hiring process
What is the typical process for a new hire?  After they submit an application, will they complete the process on your site, will they be required to answer screening questions, will there be a pre-screen via phone, etc.?  Provide candidates a basic overview of what to expect and what’s next.

Candidates No. 1 one pet peeve was lack of response from employers. Use the auto-response feature that many online services offer. Tell the candidate how and when you will follow-up and your preferred communication method. (Tip: Candidates tell us they prefer email contact first). 

Find out more about what ag candidates say they are looking for and how you can communicate and manage expectations by checking out the full Candidate Experience Survey Results or our Delivering a Meaningful Candidate Experience webinar available on-demand. Find out more at     

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