The ONE thing candidates want out of the recruiting process (apart from beside getting the coveted job):

What do you think your candidates really want from the recruiting process? To be hired, of course. But they also want your attention. In a world of increasingly loud voices and unparalleled customization, job seekers expect not just to be heard, but also to get a personalized experience. What’s more, they know there may be dozens or hundreds of people applying, but they still want to know where they stand in the process.

We can think of this as visibility, or the fact that applicants want a peek into what recruiters know about their status.

An expectation of visibility among candidates shouldn’t surprise recruiters today. For one thing, recruiters themselves have a high expectation of feedback and follow-ups from job seekers after every stage of the application process. Today, technology allows candidates to demand and has enabled them to expect the same level of attention in return.

The trouble is, many candidates are not getting the visibility they crave. And that can have lasting impacts on a job seeker’s perception of your organization as an employer. In this post we will explore the concept of visibility as it relates to the candidate experience, and discuss ways to incorporate it into your talent acquisition strategy.

Why Candidates Expect Visibility in the Recruiting Process

Visibility for job seekers in the recruiting process isn’t a new phenomenon, but it is undoubtedly increasing in importance. Previous generations of candidates also wanted feedback from recruiters when they didn’t get a job, or they weren’t invited for an interview. But the formerly dominant forms of communication–snail mail and phone calls–limited the speed and frequency with which candidates could reach out to employers. No one wanted to be that guy who called HR every day, just to check on the status of their application.

Today, candidates have a slew of digital communications to choose from if they want to follow up with a recruiter. Email, LinkedIn messages, tweets, Gchat–we could go on, but the point is, any of these communications offers varying levels of formality, in a fraction of a second. So if a candidate can send you their updated resume or like your company’s latest Facebook post, virtually in an instant, why can’t you respond to them just as easily?

A typical argument from the recruiter’s point of view is that there simply isn’t enough time to interact with every applicant, at every stage of the hiring process. Indeed, some employers clearly state that applicants who do not make it through to the next step will not be contacted, or their rejection triggers an automated email. While most candidates would probably understand the reasons for this lack of personalized responses, it stands in sharp contrast to the tailored messages they get from other services.

Want to know where your Uber driver is, and what their name is? Just have a look in the app. Worried that your package from Amazon won’t arrive in time? You can track it instantly. Wondering how long your food delivery will take? Seamless will text you your meal’s status and arrival time. Call it what you will–customization, personalization, visibility–but the trend is everywhere, and your applicants know it. It makes sense to think of this in the context of candidate experience.

Visibility and the Application Process

In case you need further evidence that increasing visibility is what your candidates want, LinkedIn has conducted multiple surveys covering the issue. Here’s what the professional social network found:

  • 59% of professionals want to hear from you whenever you have an update
  • 94% of professionals want interview feedback even if they are rejected
  • But only 41% of professionals have received interview feedback after a rejection

LinkedIn also found that a majority of candidates would rather receive any good news by phone, but any bad news by email. Providing feedback to a rejected candidate via email isn’t always easy, but an overwhelming majority of applicants understand the value of hearing that constructive criticism. Taking the time to let a candidate know why they didn’t make it past the interview stage can help them become better candidates, and helps turn their rejection into a more positive experience.

In fact, 83% of respondents also told LinkedIn that a negative interview experience could change their mind about a role. And these candidates are four times more likely to consider you as an employer in the future if you provide them with constructive feedback. Providing this visibility for candidates, whether you hire them or not, is an easy and underutilized way to improve your organization’s reputation as an employer and the quality of candidate experience delivered.

It’s important to note, visibility in the process doesn’t have to be limited to whether or not a candidate got the job, or feedback on how they performed in the interview process. Some companies, like (none other than) Google go so far as to show a personalized workflow of where you are in the each phase of the hiring process on their career site.

Incorporating Visibility into Your Recruitment Strategy

So how can you improve visibility in your recruiting process? Some companies go above and beyond to get in touch with potential employees. If you have the technology for unique communications already available, think of different ways you can send updates or notifications to applicants. But visibility doesn’t have to be overly complex. A simple phone call or email, explaining why the candidate wasn’t chosen, will take a few minutes but leave a lasting impression.

Personalized feedback is easier said than done if you have hundreds of candidates at a time, but it’s something to think about…which leads us to the next point.

Don’t underestimate the importance of social media engagement. Connecting with candidates on LinkedIn, even if you don’t hire them or get a chance to speak with them virtually or on the phone, will expand your network of potential talent, and maintain goodwill between your organization and the job seeker. Stacy Zapar is a recruiter with LinkedIn connections well into the five figure territory. Her secret? Paying it forward and nurturing relationships, even if she doesn’t have a job for candidates. She’s found a way to provide some transparency while also building her network.

Increasing visibility may take time out of your day, but the benefits to your candidate experience and your talent pipeline will be worth it.


Originally edited by Emily Smykal on

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