Transparency Rules: How to Hire Like FedEx Ships

Is your lack of communication turning off top talent? William Tincup compares good hiring to efficient package shipping, and explains how you can deliver a more transparent hiring process.

Think about the last time you shipped a package via FedEx (or UPS, DHL, etc). You didn’t just drop the package at the store, pay the freight, and hope for the best, did you? And you certainly didn’t say, “Ah, maybe it’ll get there, maybe it won’t. Even if my package ends up in a ditch under a bridge, at least FedEx tried.” Nobody has ever said that. Ever.
When you ship a package you expect transparency.
You want to know when your package is scheduled to deliver, and where it is at any given point. If there is a delay, you expect responsiveness to the situation, and a reasonable estimate as to when can expect an update.
Why should it be any different when you apply to a job? Or, to put the question to hiring managers, what makes you think applicants should settle for anything less?

Employers are Awful About Keeping Candidates in the Loop: Make Transparency Your Competitive Advantage

We’ve likely all been in situations where we’re stuck waiting to hear back from potential employers after we apply or interview for a job. Unfortunately, that kind of waiting game is par for the course.
As Raj Sheth, co-founder of Recruiterbox, writes in an article for TLNT, “a mere 5% of candidates rate their experience as excellent [according to a survey conducted by HireRight], and this is due in large part to lack of or slow communication.” In fact, Sheth goes on to point out that “an astounding 77% of job applicants receive no communication from the organization after applying for an advertised position” at all.
Nothing can rankle top talent like a lack of transparency in the hiring process, and in the small world of tech recruiting where referrals can often play a significant role, companies have to keep in mind that word gets around. If your brand becomes synonymous with complicated or dead-end recruiting processes then you’ll find yourself at a major disadvantage.
That’s why HR and marketing expert William Tincup says hiring managers and recruiters should aim for the same transparent and accountable standards as FedEx.

3 Steps to Hire Like FedEx Ships

It may not be feasible for you to develop a full-fledged application tracking system that your candidates can actively monitor, but you can still build a great deal of transparency into your hiring process by following the three steps below:

1) Put Yourself in Your Candidates’ Shoes

Step back and look at your process from an outside perspective. Are there steps that, as a candidate, you would find frustrating or unnecessary? Would you be satisfied with the typical speed and quality of your responses?
A very simple improvement for many companies is simply creating a system to make sure candidates get a response, period.
As OpenView’ Carlie Smith points out in this post, “The biggest complaints I have heard are that candidates feel like they’re sending resumes and follow-ups into a black hole.”
We’ve all been there, and it doesn’t feel good. Stop keeping candidates hanging and whatever you do, always close the loop. 

2) Establish Clear Expectations

Make a habit of laying out the steps in your hiring process with candidates from the very beginning. Even better, post them online. As Ben Cameron writes in this post for WebRecruit: “If there are five rings of fire in your application process, make certain the applicant knows that up front.”
Establish a clear timeline and hold yourself accountable to it. Make sure you end every conversation or interaction with the candidate knowing exactly what the next step is and when you’ll be in touch. If something comes up, if the decision is delayed, or if the search is put on hold, let the candidates know that. Again, the worst thing you can do is keep them hanging. 

3) Be Proactive and Follow Up

Don’t sit back and wait for candidates to reach back out to you with requests for an update. That can be an awkward and uncomfortable position to put them in. Instead, adhere to your timeline and get in touch sooner rather than later if anything changes. Regularly checking in can also help keep competitive candidates warm and ensure that you don’t lose them to a rival opportunity while they’re in process.

The Bottom Line

At the end of the day, providing a transparent hiring process to candidates won’t guarantee they’ll always like what they hear — but at least they won’t feel like they were sold a bill of goods.
And in the current recruiting world, that kind of transparency is worth almost as much to candidates as getting the job, itself.

Ready to Optimize Your Hiring Process?

Photo by: Darren Hillman

Katelyn LaGarde
Katelyn LaGarde
Recruiter, Sales & Marketing

Katelyn Lagarde is a recruiter at CloudHealth. She was previously a Talent Specialist at OpenView.
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