In August I attended the LWHRA monthly meeting and the Seattle SHRM monthly meeting—both were focused on the topic of how to effectively recruit good employees when there’s a war on talent. The fact that both meetings focused on recruiting illustrates just how important this topic is for HR professionals right now. The conversations at both meetings stressed that in this candidate’s market, it’s imperative that HR teams—especially recruiters—understand candidate expectations and personalize their sourcing approach to meet those expectations to attract top talent.

Consumers expect up-to-the-minute info

During the Seattle SHRM meeting, we discussed how candidates expect up-to-the-minute information about their application and interview process. These expectations come from everyday experiences in which we have immediate access to information, even the up-to-the-minute status of our pizza delivery

At the meeting, I learned that it’s now possible to order a pizza from Domino’s using an app. As their tagline states, “The Domino’s App is like having a Domino’s store in your pocket, anywhere at any time! It’s fun and interactive and puts you in control!”

If you order a pizza from Domino’s, you can track every single step of the process. From crafting the pizza, to its time in the oven, to the miles and drive time to reach your door. Apparently, this is with such accuracy that you can almost open the door at the exact moment the delivery person arrives.

Consumer expectations extend to the candidate experience

The expectation for up-to-the-minute information is not unique to Domino’s pizza eaters. Consumers expect the same from hired cars, online retailers, and travel agents. When you consider the abundance of information available, it makes sense that job applicants also expect to know every detail in the process of their application almost as it’s happening.

Some questions they may want answered include:

About the recruiter

  • Who is the recruiter?
  • How often can they expect updates?
  • In what form will the company be communicating–email, phone, text?
  • Do they get to choose their preferred method of communication?

About your resume screening process:

  • Has their resume been reviewed?
  • Did they pass the initial screen?
  • What feedback is the company prepared to share?

About the interview process

  • What’s the next step?
  • When is the interview?
  • Where will it be, and for how long?
  • Who will be present at the interview?
  • What’s each person’s role?

About the final decision

  • How fast can they expect a decision?
  • How is the decision made?
  • Why should they want to work for you?

If candidates expect up-to-the-minute information about when they will get their pizza, their need for immediate information may be even more intense when looking for a job—more is at stake.

The need for speed is critical when competing for today’s talent

At the Seattle SHRM meeting, members of the audience agreed: in this competitive market for talent, there is very limited time to move a candidate to the next stage of the hiring process. Top candidates often:

  • Move on if they haven’t received information about next steps within 48 hours
  • Have four or five job offers at once
  • Require significant traction within just two or three weeks

Technology can be a huge help in meeting candidate expectations around speed of communication and service—mobile apps and website interfaces serve to provide candidates with immediate access to the status of their application.

Our team has found that in a world in which human interactions are shrinking, technology is only part of the answer when competing for talent—equally important are the conversations and personal interactions we have with candidates These interactions can make a positive impact and engage a candidate in ways that aren’t possible yet with technology.

Create personalized connections with candidates

One simple technique to create the personal connection is to know your audience. Understand how they will want to receive communication—phone call, text, or email—and use that method. Candidates value individual attention and want a way to ask questions that will help them gain clarity about a position, the organization, and the process.

By personalizing your approach and going beyond the standard “We’ve received your application” response, you also convey a different level of commitment from your organization. Personalization of the candidate experience is a critical way to differentiate your process and make your organization stand out in this competitive job market.

Today’s access to immediate information can make it difficult for candidates and employers to filter through all the noise. That’s why it’s important to compete for talent in a way that addresses candidate expectations by providing ongoing status updates, job information and a personalized experience, while also demonstrating what makes your organization unique.

When you want to compel potential employees to consider your job offer, stay focused on meeting candidates’ expectations and do everything possible to create meaningful connections. These two seemingly simple tactics lay the groundwork to source employees who are interested, invested, and committed to your organization’s success.