Keeping in touch with your candidates during the interview process

The software engineering market is very strong. There are multiple companies hiring for similar people. Recently, a java software engineer candidate shared a story with me. He said that he interviewed at software company X.. a company doing work involving big data . The platform is java, ruby and linux. He interviewed for a senior role in the on the software team. He was of course actively interviewing with other companies. The company really liked him and he really liked them. He wanted an offer from this company and he was willing to put off continuing the process with the  other companies he was interviewing with.  The company said there were speaking with one other candidate.  All of a sudden the company went dark. The first week,  they said the hiring manager was out of town. The second and third week, the candidate heard nothing. 4 weeks later, the company called and said they were ready to make an offer. What really happened?  The other candidate they were interviewing had a stronger background. That candidate has experience with Hadoop and MapReduce. My client candidate did not. The company in the end, decided not to move forward on the stronger candidate. When the company called my client candidate to say they wanted to move forward with an offer, the ‘good feelings’ or ‘warm fuzzies’ as we say in the business had dissipated as my client had not heard from this company for 4 weeks. I asked my client candidate how the company should have handled this situation?  He said that it was certainly not necessary for the company to tell him that there were moving forward on a stronger candidate. What they did need to do was keep in touch with him on a regular basis. This would have made him feel that the company was still interested and that they cared. In the end, he still may not have accepted their offer but he would have felt a lot better about the company. There was definitely damage done in this scenario by the company, by not following-up and keeping in touch with the candidate.

As we all know, this type of scenario happens all the time.  As a recruiter, my perception is that the company doesn’t know the best way to manage this situation. They don’t want to tell the candidate that they have a stronger candidate in the loop. It’s understandable that it’s uncomfortable for them. They think if they say nothing, it’s the best way to go. The bottom line it that there is a better way. I have heard this complaint many times from candidates. Now, especially in this job market where there is a lot of competition for the same candidate pool, it is more important than ever for companies to pay attention to “customer service”  concepts in general, when interviewing,  and specifically to keeping in touch with their candidates during the interview process. It is better to let them know that you are while you are still interviewing others,  that you continue to remain very interested in them. This will go a long way towards having your offer get accepted in the end when you decide to make one.

Mark..

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