Recruiting is all about trust and credibility, and one of the best ways to obtain that is by being as transparent as possible. Being open and clear with candidates helps to set proper expectations, avoid disappointments, and shape a positive candidate experience. By being transparent you’ll not only have an easier time recruiting top talent, you will also have higher rates of retention because expectations have been clear from the beginning.
Thanks to GDPR, transparency in recruiting isn’t just useful, it’s also legally required in many instances. (For a breakdown of everything you need to know about GDPR download this free e-book.) By being open about what you are doing with candidate data and how you will be using it you’ll ensure you are both compliant with the law and respectful of individual privacy, which will in turn strengthen your employer brand.
To make your recruitment process more transparent here are seven things to focus on:
Set the right expectations from the start
From the moment you post a job description online you need to be as clear and accurate as possible. Your job description should focus on the core parts of the job, the work style and personality best suited for the role, and the parts of the job that may be difficult for some people. By including challenges in the job description you ensure candidates don’t feel surprised after they start working for you. You can also enhance the recruiting experience by telling candidates, either in the job description or during their phone screening, what they can do to succeed in their application. Doing so prevents them from having to guess what you are looking for, which gives you better prepared candidates.
Share and adhere to a timeline
We’ve all been there. Waiting days, sometimes weeks for a reply from a company after you spent hours crafting a job application, to not even hear back. If you simply don’t have time to respond to everyone individually, create a draft email that you can send on to applicants. In this email, simply thank them for taking the time to apply and give a clear guide on what will happen next, with a specific deadline date. For example:
“Thank you for taking the time to apply for the position in our fantastic finance department. We are currently reviewing applications and if we think you might be a great match we will be in touch before the 24th. We are hoping to schedule interviews for the week after. We look forward to reading your application.”
Your timeline shouldn’t stop at the initial email though. You’ll be better off if you can tell candidates how long the typical interview process takes and what they key steps are. This is not to say that things can move more quickly or slowly, just that there is a typical timetable that candidates can expect.
Brief candidates BEFORE the interview
Interviews can be a pretty daunting experience, especially when they’re a leap into the unknown. You’ll get a much better idea of the candidate’s skills and personality if they are relaxed and are clear on what to expect. When you’re scheduling the interview with the prospective candidates, explain what will happen during the process, including that types of questions they can expect and what they might need to prepare. Surprises in a high-pressure environment are rarely welcome. An interview shouldn’t be a game of ‘catching someone out’, it should be chance for both parties to find out more about each other. In order to create a positive candidate experience, you’ll need to know what you want to ask and what you want out of the interview.
Be fair during the interview
The interview stage is where you need to be the most transparent. You need to remember that everyone is different. One person’s dream job could be another person’s nightmare. Be honest about the company and the job position – this isn’t a sales pitch and if the interviewee changes their mind then it’s best that they back out at this stage before it’s too late. If false expectations are promised early on, you increase the risk of having a high turnover of staff, which just adds to recruitment costs down the line.
In addition to keeping your company pitch real, you should tell the candidates what you are going to ask and discuss during the interview. Ideally they’ll have already been briefed, but you’ll want to highlight it again while before you dive into things. Being open and honest at the interview stage will show the applicant that you’re there to conduct a fair assessment. If you’re unsure how to conduct an effective interview, we’ve compiled some tips to help.
Give feedback after each interview
One of the more difficult, but useful things to do, is to give candidates feedback after each interview. Whether they are being rejected or invited to move on to the next round, you can make the process more transparent and helpful by telling candidates what they did well and where they can improve. If your interviews are well documented and expectations have been set you’ll be able to give feedback that is effective.
For instance, rather than tell a candidate that you “had other candidates who were better fits” you could tell a candidate that the role and the team is very data driven, and that during the interview they didn’t give enough concrete examples of data-driven decision making. This feedback, while not fun to hear, is incredibly valuable to the candidate as it can help them know where they can improve in their next interview.
Be GDPR compliant
From correctly processing and deleting CVs when they’re no longer needed, to obtaining private data in the first place, you need to be careful about the way you handle candidate information. Not only do you need to be clear on how you’re storing the data, you’ll also need to gain consent. This also means you need permission from the candidate to perform a background check, if it’s necessary for the job role.
Revisit your onboarding process to make sure you align to the new GDPR regulations. You should only ask for sensitive data, such as religion, disability information, gender, if it is relevant. Update your systems to safely store any information that’s needed, such as data relating to education, contact details and previous work experience.
Set probation goals
Unfortunately, the recruitment process isn’t over once the candidate is through the door; there’s a cooling period that needs to be considered. This is when the candidate settles in to the new environment and has a chance to get on their feet. Give the new employee clear probation goals for them to work towards. This will let them know what is required of them and let management know the initial expectations of the new hire. At this stage you’re making sure that your business and your role are right for the person in question. Provide the recruit with every opportunity to ask about your business too – including details of projects that have happened before they joined so they’re ‘up to speed’.
Being transparent when recruiting lets potential candidates know you’re honest, professional and that you care about their experience, regardless of whether or not you hire them. If you make transparency a core part of your recruitment strategy you’ll have more success in hiring and retaining top candidates.