Losing a great candidate is painful.
“I was so pissed he turned down the job,” an Engineering Manager recently said to me, “What a flip-flopper. I can’t stand people who waste everyone’s time.”
Hiring takes energy. Someone has to shortlist resumes. Then multiple people talk to multiple candidates over the phone. Then even more people spend more time interviewing in-person. Add in scheduling and negotiation, and it’s likely your team has a 50+ hour burden for one hire when all goes well.
If candidates drop out of the process or turn down an offer, that's a big loss.
Sometimes situations change despite our best efforts. But frequently, it’s not them, it’s you.
Hiring someone is asking them to be in a professional relationship with you.
Have you ever heard that saying, "You become the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with"? These days, we spend almost as many waking hours at work as we do outside of it. That means our coworkers have a powerful impact on our day-to-day happiness and also who we become.
That makes being on a team with someone a seriously important relationship, full stop.
Candidates realize this. 80% of Millennials look for people and culture fit with employers before anything else (HBR). 61% of Glassdoor users report that they seek company reviews and ratings before even deciding to apply for a job (Glassdoor).
And yet, even in a candidate-driven market, companies completely ignore their half of building the relationship.
The foundation of a relationship is trust and commitment.
The Gottman Institute seeks “reliable patterns in observational data” for relationships, and has a 90% accuracy rate in predicting divorce. They know what they’re talking about. While their research centers on romantic partnerships, the lessons translate to relationships with friends, mentors, bosses and, very importantly, job candidates.
Their big takeaway in one sentence is: All sound relationships are founded on two critical pillars: 1) trust and 2) commitment.
As candidates move through your hiring process, they’re subconsciously seeking the answers to: “Can I trust you to help me grow?”, “Can I trust you to give me fair and honest feedback?” and, most terrifyingly, “Can I trust that this role will be as advertised?”
These impressions are formed not by grand statements, but in small and seemingly insignificant moments. Trust is eroded when you:
But what about commitment? You can’t commit to hiring every candidate.
However, you can commit to treating them as highly-promising potential employees for as long as you see them as such and letting them know promptly if that view changes. More importantly, you can commit to treating them as human beings with feelings and families and responsibilities of their own.
You are breaking this commitment when you:
If you lose trust and commitment, you’ll lose candidates.
There aren’t great statistics on this effect during the hiring process because no one is talking about it in these words.
However, we have plenty of studies on what happens if you have a bad reputation in the community, which causes you to lose trust before a candidate even applies.
69% of candidates would not take a job with a company that had a bad reputation, EVEN IF they were unemployed (CR Magazine). So, the majority of people would risk the financial stability of themselves or their families if they don’t feel they can trust you as an employer. That’s astounding.
If candidates react so strongly to what they hear about a company, imagine how they'd react based on how they feel from personal experience.
On the other hand, a great reputation can be a game changer. 84% of candidates would consider leaving their current company if a company with an excellent reputation offered them a job (CR Magazine). From my experience, I would guess this number is even higher for underrepresented candidates who have been burned by former employers.
A friend and Senior Engineer from the Find My Flock network recently had a difficult choice on her plate. Company #1 had already made her a job offer, but she had a final interview with Company #2 coming up. In the end, she went with her gut, took the offer and canceled the second interview, saying: “I just really loved [Company #1] and had already bonded with the team.”
In short, Company #1 had built up her trust and shown her commitment in a way Company #2 hadn’t.
Want to make sure you’re Company #1 in this scenario?
First, stay tuned for an upcoming checklist for HOW to build trust and commitment in your hiring process.
Second, share your thoughts in the comments below! Do you think it’s your responsibility to build trust with candidates? What companies have you seen do that well?
About our blog:
This blog (like Flock) was formed to amplify the voices of underrepresented technologists and help all of us fly higher together.