You must have been in this situation back then: you applied for a job and the human resources representative promised to update you on the status of your application, but they never did. Many of them never do, but you still wait and hope that more of them will give you feedback or even an unfortunate rejection letter.
Every applicant has been through this, and you must understand how important empathy is in the recruitment process, during their employment, and when they decide to leave a company. Here’s how you improve a candidate’s experience and boost your company’s values through it.
Empathy, the Candidate and Client’s Need
Showing empathy can affect how an applicant sees you. This determines if they would want to push through with their application, reapply in the future, or stay for a long time during their employment.
Based on a 2021 survey by Ernst & Young, American workers left their previous employers due to their bosses not showing much empathy toward them. 54 percent said their bosses didn’t care about their work struggles while 49 percent said theirs didn’t care about employees’ personal lives. ¹
Think of it this way: your recruiters are the face of your company. The interview process with recruiters can show an applicant what it would be like to be employed at your company. These clients will be in your capable hands from the first time you contact them to the moment you reject or employ them. Here are some reasons why you should be empathetic towards them from day one.
1. Empathy lessens the stress an applicant may feel during the interview and hiring process.
Make the candidate experience worth remembering. Applicants may feel stressed out and may end up not showing their true selves in front of a recruiter or hiring manager who isn’t looking too friendly. Be welcoming and ask them how they’re doing.
2. Through an empathetic conversation, you can gather more meaningful information from your applicants.
This helps you hire your best candidates by knowing them beyond their technical skills. A more comfortable applicant will be more willing to tell you about their previous experiences.
3. Showing empathy during the hiring process can greatly impact the company’s reputation.
Treat the hiring process as a window where candidates can take a peek at the actual work environment. Emphasize the values of the company to encourage them to continue with their application.
Expressing Empathy from Interview to Employment
89 percent of employees all over the world are now feeling like their work life is worsening. Help reduce these numbers.² Build empathy from your recruitment to the moment they onboard with you by seeing them as people you will be teaming up with, not just candidates who will fill roles in your business.
Be more considerate and patient in assessing applicants.
Being slow to respond doesn’t mean that they are disinterested. It could mean that they haven’t seen your invitation yet due to their busy schedule.
Remind yourself that this candidate might be the one you’re looking for. Be patient and follow up a few days later in case they don’t respond immediately. You may also try contacting them through their other contact details on file.
Ask interview questions that require empathy to answer.
Hiring new clients isn’t only about their technical skills. You must also assess how well they fit with your team. You can assess their soft skills by asking specific questions about their experiences, preferences, or methods.
This will also let the candidate know that you care about them beyond their skills. You are interested in them as a person. Find questions that you can relate to the job you are hiring for, like the ones below.
- What is it like for you to work in a group? How well are you with teamwork?
- How do you react to constructive criticism?
- A boss or colleague unintentionally offended you. How did you react?
- Have you ever handled a project you were unfamiliar with? How did you tackle it?
- What is a moment or project that you are most proud of?
- Who is a person you look up to and why?
- How do you prioritize tasks that have the same deadline?
Make sure that candidates and clients are well-informed about your employer brand.
From hiring to employment, you want to make sure that individuals know everything they need to know about your brand. This is important during their application so that they know how to find you in case they want to reapply or recommend someone else.
During employment, knowing your brand helps your client work for you better. Make sure they understand what your brand is all about. Share meaningful stories that contributed to the success of the company. Provide them with resources such as brand books and guidelines.
Don’t forget to take the time to listen to their concerns. Respond to them thoughtfully and respectfully. This will help increase their engagement with you and others because they will know they are valued.
Set clear expectations and be honest.
Some employers have the habit of posting unclear job openings online. This can lead to individuals being confused during their interviews. Be honest with your job descriptions and try not to combine two roles into one just because you’re on a tight budget.
During the interview, don’t leave any information behind. Let the interviewees know if the company has a fast-paced work environment or if they are expected to work on a weekend.
Setting these expectations will help a company keep their new hire longer. This is because the person can adapt better and can assess themselves if they are fit for the job.
Provide immediate, meaningful feedback.
One of the most stressful times during the hiring process is the waiting phase for results. Candidates are usually left hoping for days, even weeks, while the employer has already moved on with a new hire.
It is important that you provide meaningful feedback on time to help your candidates move on. What you’ll say can help them improve their next interviews because they will know what you liked or least liked about their application.
This will also affect the company’s image. They’ll see that you seriously care about your applicants and their experience with you.
Ask for feedback on your process as well.
Let your candidates know that their opinions matter and that you would like to humbly improve your hiring process. Ask for feedback through surveys.
Your survey may cover the questions asked during the interview, the processing time, and the timeliness of your feedback post-interview. You may also divide the survey based on the stages of your process.
Invite them to reapply when needed.
Inviting someone to reapply at a company means that they stood out to you among all previous applicants despite the fact that they weren’t chosen for the role. This displays your care for their skills and them as a person. This can encourage them to keep pursuing the same company until they get the job that they want.
Care for your candidates and clients, so that they may care for your brand too.
Show the real values of your brand and grow your team through authentic kindness. You’ll find the best candidates and keep them longer as long as you care for them on first contact.
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1 Naik, Neha. “Empathy Matters To Candidates—Here’S How Recruiters Can Be More Empathetic.” Forbes, 7 Apr. 2023, www.forbes.com/sites/forbesbusinesscouncil/2023/04/07/empathy-matters-to-candidates-heres-how-recruiters-can-be-more-empathetic/?sh=1ee430bf25d1.
2 McLaren, Samantha. “5 Reasons Why Empathy Is an Essential Recruiting Skill, According to Talent Leaders.” LinkedIn, 9 Mar. 2021, www.linkedin.com/business/talent/blog/talent-strategy/empathy-essential-recruiting-skill.
3 “30 Empathy-Related Interview Questions (Plus Sample Answers).” Indeed, Updated 10 Mar. 2023, www.indeed.com/career-advice/interviewing/empathetic-interview-questions.