3 Ways HR Can Make A Positive Impression With All Job Seekers

The job search is changing for the employer and the employee.  Even though unemployment remains high, the market for qualified job seekers, particularly those with very technical skills, is extremely challenging.

Companies are looking at new ways to build relationships and gain the attention of the technical and qualified prospective employee.  For the last few years, the focus has been on recruiting the active vs. passive job seeker, but that is no more.  The reality is that every employee is active or at least they should be.  Some experts are calling the new candidate type Pactive, which is Passive + Active = Pactive.

The focus is now on the job seeker, building a relationship and making a positive lasting impression so that when the job seeker begins their search, you’ll be the first they seek. So let’s talk about 3 ways HR pros can make a lasting positive impression that stands out from your recruiting competition:

Create An Employer Brand They Can Count On

Job seekers are becoming increasingly savvy and using tools like Glassdoor.com to educate themselves before the hiring process even begins.  While you should monitor social media and other sites to learn about how you can improve the candidate experience, it’s important to build a relationship, share tips, and give your audience on social media insights into what makes you an employer of choice.  The 2011 Candidate Experience Survey tells us that 50% of job seekers research the company before they apply.  This means responding to tweets, following up on candidate questions on Facebook, and showcasing your fun and unique company culture that makes you, you.

Make It An Experience

When it comes to the interview and hiring process, the job seeker is interviewing you just as much as you are interviewing them.  Pull out all the stops to make them comfortable during their encounter with a facility tour, cold beverages, answer their questions, follow up with them appropriately as well as timely, and most importantly, don’t keep them waiting.

Follow Up with job seekers

It seems obvious, and yet experts refer to your applicant tracking system as the resume black hole.  With no update as to the status of the job posting and if it has been filled or hiring has been pushed back, they are left in job search limbo.  It’s like going on an awesome first date and never hearing anything back, and 90% of companies never call back.  Send out emails to your applicants and work with your ATS to set up communication triggers allowing you to communicate to all applicants when a position is filled.  Consider providing your job seeker 30, 60, and 90 follow up communications to keep them engaged and in the loop.

Making a positive experience for a job seeker regardless if they actually apply is simple, but not easy.  In companies who are consumer facing, building a relationship is especially important as the candidate is often a customer before and after they apply and experience your company’s hiring process.  How do you want to be remembered?

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Jessica Miller-Merrell

Learn more about Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR, SHRM-SCP, the founder of Workology, a workplace HR resource, and the host of the Workology Podcast. More of her blogs can be found here.

Reader Interactions


  1. Val Matta says

    Your last point is absolutely crucial. Job seekers shouldn’t have to sit around all day in order to find out something about their application. Checking in whenever you have more information about the job — good or bad — is a great way to make a first impression. Plus, it shows that you have a level of respect for people who took the time to apply to your company, even if they aren’t the right fit.

  2. Ray_anne says

    Great Post, Jessica.

    Now more than ever we are seeing companies either understand and excel at content sharing or they have shown they are unwilling to devote the time necessary to really show their “true” colors – their “real” employment brand.

    The “black hole” you reference has been around since the dawn of jobseeking time. But not because, the job is hard or technology and the internet have created too much work, but because recruiters, hiring managers, and the companies they work for lack one basic skillset: Manners. Treating others well is a lost art.

    Thanks for a great reminder of what it takes to create a great hiring and employment experience.


  3. Jason Pinto says

    Jessica, thanks so much for sharing these tips!

    I think another aspect of building the employee brand involves reviewing the mobile aspect of a company’s online efforts. Whether candidates are reviewing About Us/Career webpages, reading job descriptions, or trying to apply, their experience on a smartphone or tablet can play a critical role. If they’re not able to research or complete those tasks easily on a mobile device, then the company may potentially lose out on strong candidates.

  4. Mark Sadovnick says

    People hire people.
    People don’t join companies. They join, they say yes to people. The management team, the individual offering them the opportunity.

    Every single person we engage with, will have an opinion of the management and their company, our client. Only one gets hired for the one position. He or she will be happy. All the others will be either their champion or detractor. Possibly a future employee, investor, vendor, strategic partner. All will be positive or negative influencers.

    Be your brand. Differentiate yourself in the most effective, interesting way.
    Make a difference with people.



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