(Editor’s Note: Today’s article is brought to you by Paychex, a leading provider of integrated human capital management solutions for payroll, benefits, human resources, and insurance services. Backed by more than 45 years of expertise, Paychex serves over 650,000 payroll clients across more than 100 locations in the U.S. and Europe and pays one out of every 12 American private sector employees. Enjoy the article!)
I recently heard an interesting workplace term regarding the candidate experience – the silent period. Think of it as the period of “radio silence” between the company and the job candidate. I can see it happening a couple of times during the hiring process:
- While the company is making their final decision. All the interviews are completed, the hiring manager is in the selection and evaluation phase, and the candidate doesn’t know if they are going to be extended an offer. This can happen for both internal and external candidates.
- After the job offer and before the candidate officially starts. The candidate has accepted the offer and they’re working out their notice. Again, this could be for internal and external candidates. But there’s no communication until the new hire’s first day.
Sometimes this “silence” can lead to ghosting, where the candidate simply stops communicating with the company. Or maybe they’ll be a no-show on their first day of work. I’ll save the ghosting conversation for another day, except to say that ghosting doesn’t benefit anyone. And from a company perspective, the organization is now faced with starting their search over. This means delays and creates a huge waste of company resources.
2 Activities to Engage Candidates During the Silent Period
Ideally, organizations need to figure out how to engage candidates during these silent periods. For a better candidate experience, here are two activities to consider:
1. Get hiring managers involved. Ultimately, the hiring manager is going to want to build a relationship with the candidate. It’s that relationship that starts the engagement process. Hiring managers could send a quick note to candidates just letting them know what’s happening with the hiring process. Even better, pick up the phone and call candidates just to keep them in the loop.
Relationship management is a competency in the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) Competency Model. Personally, I think relationship management isn’t just an HR competency. It should be a competency for all employees and managers. Organizations should make relationship building part of the company’s management development and manager onboarding programs. It’s a skill that will help managers throughout their entire career.
2. Create a preboarding component. Preboarding is the concept of providing information, helpful tips, and more to employees before their first day. Preboarding sends the message that the company is preparing for the employee’s first day and wants the employee to succeed. Just think how that impacts the employee experience. Today’s technology can assist in preboarding efforts by automating emails to the soon-to-be employee with answers to common questions like “Where do I park?” or “What’s the dress code?”.
Hiring managers can play a key role in preboarding efforts by sending welcome messages and taking care of first day details like setting up an employee’s email address and getting their workspace ready. They might also want to contact an employee to let them know that lunch will be provided on their first day. And introduce them to a “buddy” who will be helping them get acclimated to the work environment.
Candidate Experience – Keep Lines of Communication Open
Organizations don’t need to speak with candidates every single day to improve the candidate experience, but they do need to keep lines of communication open. There’s an old saying about when people don’t have information, they tend to make it up in their own minds. That could include assuming the company doesn’t care and is breaking ties.
HR and management can work together to give employees good information so they stay engaged. If you want to learn more about keeping candidates and employees engaged, check out my interview with Paychex about how manager onboarding can help with employee engagement efforts. You can also download a white paper on steps for creating a preboarding program.15