Effective communication throughout the recruitment and hiring process can result in employing more top talent in this competitive, tight labor market.
Compensation, location, on-the-job support, positive work environment, and other benefits are still important, but effective communication can appeal to job candidates and make the difference when they are deciding between employers.
Create a brand
Start with creating a unique marketing brand by telling your district’s story to potential job candidates. Get the word out about what makes your organization a special and appealing place to work by showcasing student, teacher, and community stories on the district’s website, social media sites, and any other digital tools available.
Create a microsite on your district website exclusively for prospective employees so they can easily learn about the organization. Ensure the site is easy to navigate — the fewer clicks to get to the site the better.
A branding campaign can reach potential job seekers, particularly younger, more diverse, and early-career professionals as they are often heavy users of popular social media channels. One school district reported they were able to increase the number of applicants by 25 percent over a two-year period due to the implementation of their branding campaign.
Once job seekers’ attention is captured, the next step is to interest them with a clear and concise job posting. Some job posting tips include:
- Choose words that are inclusive and don’t alienate certain job seekers.
- Keep the job posting brief — if more information is needed provide a link.
- Only list necessary qualifications.
- Stick to objective competencies and skills (e.g., don’t use “must have a sense of humor”).
- Promote the job’s benefits and desirability.
Job postings are processed differently by applicants, so ensure your posting is not one that can be misinterpreted or potentially turn off applicants.
Prepare for the interview process by deciding in advance how you will describe the organization, what the job entails, and how the work is done and supported. The goal is for the candidate to leave the interview with a clear understanding of the job, the responsibilities, and the benefits of accepting a position with your organization.
Advance preparation should also include deciding which questions to ask. Only job-related, competency-based questions should be used, and all applicants should be asked the same questions. Scenario and behavioral questions that require the candidate to share how they have or would approach work-related situations provide more information than yes or no questions. The goal is to find out the candidate’s true competencies related to their ability, skill, and motivation to succeed in the job.
Conversely, avoid asking questions that could be discriminative, such as those related to age, gender, sex, disability, military status, race, ethnicity, pregnancy, genetics, and religion.
Lastly, follow up with all candidates. Timely and respectful follow-up can benefit both parties. Stopping all communication, known as ghosting, is a common practice but not respectful of the candidate’s time and interest in the job. When candidates are not communicated with after the interview, they’re very likely to share their negative experiences with others which can damage the organization’s reputation.
It’s becoming more common for the chosen candidate to change their mind after accepting the job, requiring the hiring manager to move to the second or even third candidate. Maintain a professional relationship with all candidates as you don’t want to close the door on the possibility of hiring them now or later. It takes some time to communicate, but it’s important to provide candidates with closure — even those not considered for the job.
Additional resources are available in the Recruiting and Hiring section of the HR Library
(member login required), including:
Focusing on effective communication with potential candidates from start to finish can greatly benefit the organization by bringing top talent onboard.
Cheryl Hoover is an HR consultant at TASB HR Services. Send Cheryl an email at email@example.com.
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