There’s a well-known Head & Shoulders ad campaign from the 1980’s built around the premise and tagline that “…you never get a second chance to make a first impression.” However, you probably are not reading this post for advice on how to eliminate dandruff, so let’s tie it back to recruiting and hiring.
Quality applicants care about making a good first impression with their next prospective employer. However, we believe it is a two-way street. Your company should also do its best to make a good first impression with job applicants to attract the best-quality applicants possible.
Here are five tips to making a good first impression with job applicants:
- Have a Professional Look. It’s often an easy step to overlook but make sure your application process looks professional. It should be well designed, branded to your company and avoid unnecessary clutter.
- Make it Easy to Complete. Have you seen careers pages that put the burden completely on the applicant? “Download this PDF, print it, scan it and email it back to us.” That approach will immediately reduce the number of people willing to complete the application. Instead, allow the applicants to click through directly to the application, provide the requested inputs, and sumbit.
- Set Application Expectations. Too often, companies use an online job applications that do not show the applicants how many pages remain or how many times they must click “Next”. It’s like taking a road trip without a map. Instead, be clear and visually depict how much information they will need to provide and where they stand relative to completion.
- Use Job Specific Questions. Having the exact same job application for every job in your company makes everyone’s job harder. It is harder for applicants to express themselves (“how can I show that I am the right person for this job?”) and it is harder on your company (“how can I tell if this person is the right fit for this specific job?”). To correct this, use job-specific questions. Job-specific questions allow the applicant to showcase their individual skills and how they relate to your specific job opening. And as an added bonus, it allows you to more effectively evaluate applicants and see right away if they have the skill sets you are looking for.
- Communicate with the Applicants. Avoid the dreaded black hole or hiring (lots of applications inbound, few acknowledgements outbound). In today’s world, quality applicants expect to be updated and they know the difference between a real reply and an auto-reply from Outlook. Use asystem that will easily, and automatically, communicate and update your applicants.
These five tips won’t give you a healthier scalp, but they will help you make a great first impression with your applicants.