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The Follow Up: Communicating with Candidates After Interviews

From an outside perspective, team members in human resources following up with job applicants seems pretty cut and dried. The department confirms an applicant (or applicants) received a job offer and those who did not receive communication either via a phone call or an emailed letter that they are not being hired. However, there are subtle nuances to the process that can potentially keep the door open for future employment, maintain jobseeker interest in your company and generate goodwill. In addition, follow-up opportunities provide numerous benefits to diligent employers and interviewers can streamline the post-interview process to keep candidates engaged without expending much time or effort. Even if an offer isn’t extended, a friendly exchange after the interview process has ended can go a long way toward building a better reputation among future candidates. Human Resources Director Karen Breaux and Recruiter Jenna Lemmon from Louisiana-based CPA Postlethwaite & Netterville (P&N) shared some of the practices the company uses in post-interview follow up.

Lemmon shared that, first and foremost, it is HR’s job to make sure the department puts qualified applicants in front of the direct supervisor or hiring manager. First, HR in collaboration with the hiring manager creates a job description to help determine the skills applicants need; draft a job posting to attract quality applicants; identify applicants whose resumes meet those minimum qualifications; and conduct a phone interview to move along those that appear to be a good fit.

“One thing I strive to do is broaden my focus when fielding applicants,” stated Lemmon. “Although a person may not be a good fit for a specific position, or lacked some technical qualities, they may work in another area, and we may encourage them to reapply through the proper channels. Our client’s needs change frequently, which means our staffing needs change frequently.  Just because we didn’t have the right opportunity for a candidate today, doesn’t mean we won’t in the future.”

Postlethwaite & Netterville follows up with all job applicants reminding them to continue checking the company’s website and keep track of future job postings. Social media is also utilized, and P&N team members are frequently encouraged to communicate about available positions.

“Candidates we may have been courting for a position over a period of time—maybe the top two or three—we try to maintain a connection with them for future opportunities through various sources,” said Karen Breaux. “We are moving toward reaching out to them via LinkedIn as our primary protocol. It (LinkedIn) has become a powerful resource in helping to stay connected and in communicating future positions in which a former candidate might be interested. “

Most experts agree to keep in mind during every step of the interview process, including your follow-up, candidates will talk. Today, that means potentially leaving reviews and posting on social media. It’s a company’s responsibility to do everything possible to ensure those reviews reflect accurately on your firm. Your interview feedback says volumes about your brand as a whole. If feedback is positive, that will encourage applicants to apply and interview in the future. If it’s negative, this serves as a red flag to potential applicants and may discourage them from applying at all. Remember, if you want to attract the right candidates, put in the follow-up effort.

Find qualified candidates today. Post your positions on Louisiana Job Connection.