We’ve all been through it before as candidates: you had a great job interview with a company, you feel like you connected with the hiring team and answered everything well, and you wait to hear next steps, but instead you hear nothing from the employer – so you wait and you wait some more.
As if the sound of crickets isn’t bad enough, you now go into the weekend having to face your friends and family who are eagerly asking for updates on your recent job interview, but you have nothing to share. As anyone would expect, you feel disappointed and naturally assume the worst.
In my view, as an HR and talent acquisition industry, we now have the knowledge and recruiting technology for this poor candidate experience to be a thing of the past. It’s time to finally eliminate the black hole in the candidate experience and ensure job seekers know where they stand in the recruiting process.
To address this common issue at my organization, PointClickCare, we started to implement a new weekly touchpoint with final-stage candidates called Follow-up Friday. Here’s how this talent engagement strategy works and how my team is able to execute on this initiative at scale:
What is Follow-up Friday?
Follow-up Friday is a recruiting strategy that we implemented to help improve our communications during the candidate experience. Every Friday, our recruiters send an email to all of their final-stage candidates, letting them know where the recruiting process stands for their job requisition and when they can anticipate hearing back with more information.
The idea behind it is that we want final-stage candidates to go into the weekend with a clear understanding of their application status to avoid having to go through two full days of wondering (and worrying!) about what’s going on.
How We Execute on Follow-up Friday
Of course, the natural question you might ask at this stage is: how scalable is this? How can your recruiting team spare the time to follow up with all their final-stage candidates on a weekly basis?
We execute on Follow-up Friday using the magic of our Applicant Tracking System (ATS) and Candidate Relationship Management (CRM) platform, Lever. With Lever, we can customize each correspondence week over week for dozens, hundreds or even thousands of candidates.
Lever has streamlined the communication process for recruiters by having an email tool built directly into the platform. This tool allows our recruiters to send emails out to multiple candidates at the same time, if they have the same status in our process, in a way that still feels personalized to each candidate. Our recruiters can also quickly edit a particular message going out as needed to personalize it even further.
Recruiters can also see the communications history with each candidate in the platform, so they can make sure that they’re not sending too many similar follow-up messages in a row.
To make things even easier for our team, we’ve created a standard Follow-up Friday email template with a customizable second paragraph set up in Lever. Here’s what one of our customized messages looks like – you’ll see the first paragraph is the templated component, and the second paragraph is the customized bit:
Hello <Candidate Name>,
As we head into the weekend, I just wanted to touch base to advise you that we are still in the recruitment process for the and that no final decisions have been made.
You are the first candidate that has met with and he’d like to see a few more before deciding who moves forward. He is also on vacation next week so it could be a couple of weeks until I know.
Please feel free to reach out if you have any questions or concerns, or if anything changes on your end.
Have a great weekend!
<Recruiting Team Member>
We have a few guiding principles when it comes to Follow-up Friday. If a candidate profile is still active in the recruitment process, they should be kept up to date regularly. Unless otherwise specified, it’s always better to over communicate. Our motto is when in doubt, send it out!
Why Candidates Love Follow-up Friday
Follow-up Friday works because it helps improve our overall candidate experience in the following ways:
- It feels personal. Since recruiting processes are becoming increasingly automated and can often make you feel like just a number, I’ve seen our candidates really value personal interactions that make them feel like they’re communicating with real humans who care (because we are, and we do!).
- It ensures candidates feels valued. A candidate is applying to your company because they want to invest their time and knowledge into your business. As an employer, we should be showing the same investment in them. Keeping our candidates up to date reassures them that we value their time and their well being, since we know that job searching can be stressful.
- It helps shape expectations. Often candidates go through the recruitment process nervous about what to expect and what comes next. By providing them with as much information as possible during the hiring process, candidates have a better experience and remain more engaged – which means they are less likely to drop out of the process.
Follow-up Friday Results
Our team has had really great feedback since implementing Follow-up Friday.
In terms of overall candidate engagement, we’ve minimized the perception of the dreaded “black hole” experience. We’ve been able to show our candidates that we care about their journey and that by extension we care about what their experience will be like as employees too!
This is really important because our silver medalist candidates are a big part of our overall strategy. At PointClickCare, about 25% of the final-stage candidates we don’t hire the first time around are hired on subsequent application.
And another clear indication that we’re on the right track: as a result of these improvements, this year PointClickCare ranked #2 in the North American Candidate Experience Awards!
Follow-up Friday is just one recruiting strategy that has led to our CandE Award. I look forward to sharing more at the RallyFwd Virtual Conference on December 4th – hope you can tune in!
Note: At RallyFwd, Chris will be sharing his team’s 80/20 approach to improving the candidate experience and more details about how Follow-up Friday works. Register today for free to hear Chris’ session and more!