How to keep your candidates engaged throughout the hiring process

How to keep your candidates engaged throughout the hiring process

Filling an executive role at your company carries a lot of weight, and decisions aren’t made lightly. This reality means candidates must remain engaged through what could easily become an extended interview process.

Keeping these individuals excited about the opportunity while also being realistic about the timeline and their chances of success ultimately requires hiring authorities to develop a clear action plan before launching the search. Additionally, taking schedules of all engaged parties into account and keeping a concentrated candidate pool are essential to maintaining good relationships with your interviewees. Here’s why:

Having an action plan saves everybody’s time.

Hiring for an executive position isn’t easy; often, it’s a necessity after a high-profile departure from your organization, which may require the hiring authority to redefine the role’s parameters, align key stakeholders (often C-suite members whose schedules are tight as is) and narrowing the requirements to a profile that is few and far between on the marketplace. Knowing these are all possibilities, our advice is to frontload critical discussions ahead of launching the search.

An airtight hiring plan that accurately defines your requirements, budgets stakeholders’ time accordingly and provides candidates with a clear timeline is the strongest method for keeping candidates engaged. It shows you’ve put significant thought into managing everybody’s schedules and will eliminate surprises (like communication lulls) after you’ve started to engage with suitable candidates.

Determine how many people you can have in process at one time.

Planning out your target profile in advance of launching your search will help create this concentrated talent pool, but you should still be selective in how many of these individuals you bring into the process at one time. Too many and you can risk leaving candidates feeling unengaged. Too few and you might not be interviewing the perfect candidate.

In our experience, engaging with 3-5 candidates at one time is the sweet spot. This does not mean limiting your entire search to 3-5 people; it means selecting this many individuals to interview at one time, or “batching” interviews.

Batching interviews helps hiring authorities better manage the interview process and allows for an adequate amount of attention to be given to each candidate. If the right individual isn’t in the first batch, you can always source more people for the second and repeat until you land on the perfect fit.

Next steps:

Taking the first steps towards filling an executive-level position at your company can feel daunting. If you’re interested in reviewing additional resources to help plan your hiring strategy, visit the Hiring Resources webpage of the US partner of InterSearch, Charles Aris.

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