5 Ways Hiring Managers Are Ruining Your Candidate Experience (and What to Do About It)

5 Ways Hiring Managers Are Ruining Your Candidate Experience (and What to Do About It)

Elizabeth Silas-Havas

Hiring managers can greatly influence candidate experience—for good or bad—without even knowing it. These professionals are busy with their own duties, and are sometimes unaware that candidate experience is a long-term focal point for talent acquisition teams.

To make sure you’re getting the right return on your recruiting efforts in both the short and long term, here are five ways hiring managers can throw a wrench into the works—and ways you can prevent that damage.

1. They’re unwilling to collaborate with their recruiting counterparts

Too many recruiter–hiring manager relationships consist of a hiring manager sending over an email that states a position to be filled and a recruiter sending back a stack of candidate files. There’s not much strategy behind that process, and there’s not much teamwork there. A bad (or nonexistent) relationship between a recruiter and a manager can damage every part of the hiring process.

Improving this relationship can improve key metrics like time to hire, quality of hire, and cost per hire.

Our friends over at WinterWyman point out that the hiring team needs to collaborate to set expectations about a job’s requirements and performance parameters, the interview and selection process, and the timeline for that process. This means communicating clearly, concisely, and regularly—and, crucially, listening to each other about what you each most value.

When interviews are set up as actual dialogues among the candidates and the hiring team members, all involved learn more about each other. Work with each other to establish which questions you’ll each focus on and what you’ll each share with the candidates of your own experience with the company.

2. They’re conducting unfocused (read: unfair) interviews

Going into an interview, candidates usually have an idea about the types of questions that will be asked. They perceive the interview to be fair when the questions asked align with their expectations, which are based on the job description (and sometimes on online reviews of your company’s interview process such as those at Glassdoor).

For purposes of improving candidate experience, it’s important to stick with relevant questions. The Talent Board showed that only 45% of candidates indicated they strongly agree that most questions were relevant for the job. If you throw too many oddball questions at candidates, they might leave with a negative perception of your company. You’ll also make it hard to compare candidates if they’ve each been asked very different questions.

We’ve already mentioned creating a job description and performance standards in collaboration with your hiring manager. This is the first step to ensuring managers aren’t asking off-script questions in interviews—make sure the description really matches the job.

Then develop questions based on what’s presented in the job description. Standardize the format of your interview so that each candidate for a position is asked the same questions. In addition, equip hiring managers with interviewing skills and tell them why those skills are important:

  • Why structured, standardized interviews have better outcomes than unstructured, casual conversations do
  • How to prepare for each interview by getting to know something about the candidate
  • How to document what happens in the interview
  • How to explain what will happen after the interview

3. They’re not doing enough to advocate for your employer brand

Hiring managers need to show the best candidates why they want to work for you. They need to sell the job just as much as candidates need to sell their skills. Often the conversation is one-sided, which can leave candidates with a bad taste in their mouths. This is especially troubling when dealing with hard-to-fill positions.

How does an organization enforce this? You can’t just tell people to be genuinely excited about something—and a hiring manager may not have sales in his or her skillset.

Enter employer branding, a discipline that aims to affect the ways job seekers perceive your company as a place to work. Now back it up: It’s important to not just shape your image for candidates but also hone your image for your current employees. Actively working to boost employee satisfaction and morale can show up in how hiring managers talk about your company with prospective candidates.

4. They’re taking too long to make important hiring decisions

Too many positions go unfilled for far too long. Of course, we notice this in time to fill and cost per hire metrics, but it’s often overlooked that it really affects a company’s bottom line and, when they’re doing others’ work, employees’ morale, too.

Communication between hiring managers and recruiters needs to be seamless from the request to fill a position through interviewing and making an offer, so that internal delays are avoided. Candidates will get frustrated if you’re taking too long—or they’ll just take a different company’s offer.

Standardize processes throughout the hiring lifecycle. Identify your current bottlenecks and problem-solve to reduce them. Use recruiting automation software to document processes, keep everyone in the loop, and measure process performance.

5. They’re not ensuring new hires have a successful onboarding

The Talent Board considers onboarding part of candidate experience, and so do we. If you hire people who experience mediocre to horrible onboarding, they’re less likely to stick around and be happy at their job.

Even when they do stick around, they’re not speaking highly of you, and there’s an unnecessary hurdle in their path to building relationships that help them do their work well—with peers, supervisors, vendors, and clients.

Hiring managers play a central role in onboarding, but often they simply hand off new hires to someone doing the same or a similar job. How to fix this?

First, make sure the hiring manager explains at the end of an interview what the process is going forward. Ensure that offers are made promptly. Keep candidates in the loop if the decision-making process is taking longer than expected.

Most importantly, create a standardized process for onboarding. Only 37% of new hires got a call from their hiring manager before their first day, according to a Talent Board survey. This brief outreach goes a long way toward establishing strong relationships among people who will be working together.

Develop this onboarding process with hiring managers so that talent acquisition’s interests are served and the perspective of the new hires is considered even as the hiring manager sets in place the expectations and the resources needed to perform well.

For example, HR can make sure new hires fill out all forms before the start date so that the first day can be about acclimating to the company culture, learning about the job, and meeting team members—rather than attending to administrative details and paperwork.

Measure (and Let Them Know When They Improve)

Many hiring managers don’t have a strong concept of what candidate experience is—or that you’re trying to measure it and improve it. Create an internal marketing campaign to let them know. Get buy-in from executive leadership so everyone knows it’s a priority.

If you’re measuring candidate experience, then make sure to let hiring managers know how they’re affecting it. This could be a part of quarterly performance reviews, or this can be done by compiling group data in larger companies, so that everyone can hear about what your hiring managers have done that helps the employer brand and the candidate experience.

Soon enough, they’ll see the improvements in their own hiring metrics and, perhaps, also in their job satisfaction and work relationships.

Pssssst! Did you know Google recently launched its new Cloud Jobs API. Follow the button below to see how it works:

google cloud jobs api cta