By Simone Lockhart

As we move through the different stages of the Covid-19 pandemic, we’re being faced with new challenges where we often have only one shot to get it right.

With the end of furlough approaching, we’re seeing increasing numbers of downsizing casualties and a subsequent dramatic rise in job applications. Some statistics show up to 1,000 applications per job and these are not all entry-level positions, many are for senior and professional roles. This may sound like good news for employers who now have a vast array of candidates to choose from. However, this can bring a completely different set of problems.

Communication is so important as candidates remember how you treat them, and now, when tensions are running high; how, when and if you responded will all be remembered and shared with peers. The key is to ensure you don’t damage your business reputation through a poor recruitment process. All candidates, even if they aren’t right for the role, deserve to feel valued and respected during the process.

Ways to achieve this include taking a look at your adverts. Are they explicit about what you’re looking for? If you’re expecting a high response rate you might put a polite message in the advert that states that you will only be able to acknowledge successful candidates.

Set an auto-response on your candidate relationship management system that acknowledges the application and provide a timeline in which candidates can expect a response. If you don’t use a CRM then follow up with a short email.

Revisit your candidate communications. A nicely written decline can be well received – and appreciated. A friend recently forwarded an unsuccessful email she’d received because it was so well written and it made her feel good even though her application wasn’t successful.

And, one of the most crucial things you must do is to update interviewed candidates with your decision – leaving people hanging is a deadly sin in recruitment and bear in mind a number of these candidates may not have a job right now, so the waiting game is even more painful for them. Bad news is better than no news.

A tip for human resources teams if you’re hiring for departments - engage with your hiring managers and get their commitment to make the time you need to review CVs, conduct interviews and also give timely feedback. Even with fewer roles available, good people will still have choices and giving a great candidate experience will go a long way to making sure the candidate you want will accept your offer. Good employers really are standing out in the market at the moment and it’s important that everyone looks to how they treat future employees as much as they do their existing team.

Simone Lockhart is group commercial director of the Taranata Group