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Going Dark on Applicants Can Really Hurt Your Recruiting Process

It takes time to recruit new talent for any given business. After all, rushing through the process could result in the wrong hire, and that's the last thing your company wants.

Having too lengthy a process, however, can hurt your company as well -- especially if you don't communicate properly with applicants throughout it. Close to 25% of workers lose interest in a job or employer if they don't hear back within a week of their initial interview, according to staffing firm Robert Half. Meanwhile, an additional 46% lose interest if they don't hear back within two weeks. If your business has been struggling to fill open roles, it may be time to rethink your recruiting process -- and the way you stay in touch with candidates throughout it.

Keeping applicants in the know

It takes time to review resumes, schedule interviews, and actually move candidates through the pipeline. The last thing you want, therefore, is to have viable applicants drop out because you're taking too long to get back to them. A better bet, therefore, is to streamline the recruiting process and improve your communication with candidates each step of the way.

IMAGE SOURCE: GETTY IMAGES.

First, establish what you consider to be a reasonable timeline for recruiting. A good start would be to reach out to potential hires within a week of receiving their resumes to schedule an initial interview. Such a lag is generally acceptable, because it's conceivable that you'll need time to vet applications before narrowing down your applicant pool.

Once that initial interview happens, however, you should aim to provide candidates with some sort of update within 48 business hours. That update might entail nothing more than a brief "we enjoyed meeting with you and will be in touch shortly to discuss next steps," but it's better than going completely silent on candidates.

Furthermore, if you know you'll be interviewing numerous candidates for a given role, be transparent about that during the process. Telling a candidate that he or she is the first of eight interviewees, and setting the expectation that a follow-up meeting might not happen for two weeks, might sway that person to be a little more patient in light of a communication lag.

That said, once you've reached the point where candidates have come in for a second interview, there's no excuse for not letting them know where things stand right away. If you're looking to make an offer but haven't yet ironed out its terms, reach out and say so. If the person who officially needs to sign off on that offer is unexpectedly out of the office for personal reasons, make that clear as well. Sometimes, the simplest communication could spell the difference between retaining a candidate's interest or losing that person, whether it's as a result of a competitor offer or a general sense of getting fed up at being kept waiting in the dark.

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