From creating a job posting to interviewing and reviewing candidates, the hiring process can be busy and even stressful for all involved. Regardless of how much you have on your plate during this time, it’s important to make sure that the candidates you have met with and talked to have a positive experience with your company so that they reapply in the future or recommend your business to other professionals they know.

Creating a positive post-interview experience is one of the most overlooked recruiting tools in a lot of companies simply because it isn’t top of mind. So how can you make sure that the applicants you review look back on your hiring process fondly even if they don’t get the job? Find out in this post.

Related Documents: Resume, Cover Letter, Letter of Recommendation

Provide Post-Interview Timelines

One of the easiest and most helpful things you can do for potential candidates after an interview is to give them a timeline of when they can expect to hear from you.

For instance, if you know that you are going to be doing interviews for the next two weeks and will have a decision a week after that, let the candidates know that the earliest they would hear back from you or your HR department would be three weeks from when they interviewed.

Not only does this help candidates to get a solid grasp of the timeline, but it also keeps you from having to waste time answering follow-ups from applicants who are checking in.

If you’re going to be doing more than just one interview—for example, if you are going to get applicants to do a project or second interview—outline the process and give them timelines for each step. You don’t have to give exact dates, but you can give them an idea of what the next few weeks will look like and what each step would be so that they know what to expect and don’t feel overwhelmed.

Use Proper Methods of Communication

When speaking with candidates post-interview, you should make sure that you are using professional and appropriate methods of communication.

For example, if all of the pre-interview communication was done through email (like setting up the interview or giving directions to your office), it’s safe to assume that you should stick to email for any follow-up questions.

Unless you and the applicant agreed on communication through text messages or a messaging app, it’s best not to use them. Not all candidates will appreciate receiving a private message from your personal messaging account on their free time and it could very well give them a negative impression of you.

Have a Rejection Plan

Chances are you are going to have to turn down a number of candidates. You’ll typically only be looking to fill one position at a time and will probably receive a number of applications. So, you’re going to need to have a process to follow for candidates who don’t make the cut.

One way you can do this is to divide the applications into groups. Your first group could be applications who will not be making it to the interview stage. Your second group could be applicants who have potential but who you would like to do a phone interview with before meeting. And your third group could be applicants that you want to move forward with meeting in-person.

Your rejection plan could go something like this: for applicants in the first group, they get a generic email letting them know that although you appreciate their time, they will not be moving forward in the hiring process.

For your second group, you could send an email that congratulates them on making it to the next step and requesting availability for a phone interview.

And, for your third group, you could get straight into asking when they are available to come in and meet face-to-face.

Once you have hired someone, make sure you let any other potential candidates know that the position has been filled. Tell them how much you appreciate their time and effort and that you wish them well in the future. This will help to leave them feeling positive about you and the company, even though they didn’t get hired this time around. 

Have Reasonable Expectations of Others’ Time

While hiring is part of your job, the people who you are interviewing will often have full-time positions, families, and extracurricular commitments on top of making time to meet with you.

It can be difficult for people to get time off work to go to an interview on short notice, or to spend hours completing a project for you that’s due in a couple of days.

Try to be conscious of this when you are asking candidates to come in or to complete an assignment. Often, candidates will be too nervous to ask for an extension or to move an interview date if an emergency comes up, so do your best to let them know that their time matters to you and that you can work with them to find something that accommodates both of your needs.

With assignments specifically, give them more time than you think is necessary if you can. If it’s too much, they’ll likely get it to you earlier anyway. However, if they are allowed to work on it when they can, they’ll be more likely to produce something high-quality that really showcases their abilities as opposed to something rushed.

Send a Post-Interview Thank You Note

For candidates who don’t get the job despite putting a lot of time and effort into interviewing, completing an assignment, and providing quality references, consider putting in a little extra effort.

For example, if they are someone who you think you might want to hire in the future or that you would like to stay connected to, connect with them on LinkedIn and send a personalized message thanking them for their time and letting them know that you would like to keep them on file for future positions. You may even want to let them know why they weren’t selected (or why someone else was) so that they understand and can either work on their skills in the future or know not to take it personally.

This can help them to feel like their time was valued and that they have the potential to work with you in the future.

Planning for Positive Experiences

Candidates spend a lot of time tailoring their resumes and cover letters, reviewing your company, and stressing over assignments and interview prep. The least you can do as a hiring manager is to have a plan for how to make the process more transparent and understanding so that even the people who are not hired will think of your business in a positive light. By putting yourself in the shoes of someone applying for a job and considering what would help to make the process easier, you’re on your way to building a positive post-interview experience for applicants vying to work for you.

Posted by Brittany Foster

Brittany is a writer, editor, and content manager interested in law, marketing, and technology. She's been writing for LawDepot since 2014.