In today’s increasingly transparent world, candidates are asking more and more pointed questions. Transparency has become a new movement and can be found in everything from politics to entertainment. No matter the industry, hopeful candidates expect the same from the companies they apply to — so recruiters on the receiving end feel the pressure to apply. There is a delicate balance between satisfying the candidate with your given answer to keeping sensitive information to yourself.
To successfully walk this thin tightrope, we have come across this three-pronged approach:
Call a Team Meeting
By getting everyone on board, you can discuss the frequently asked questions along with the ones that haven’t cropped up yet. Hold a team meeting with the senior HR team and other key members to discuss the questions and decide which ones you feel comfortable addressing and at what point in the recruiting funnel.
If you don’t answer particular questions, there’s a good chance that other companies will — and when a savvy candidate is juggling multiple job opportunities, these answers will determine if they continue with you. Keep in mind that candidates know a beat-around-the-bush response when they hear one. Instead, provide real, substantive answers to candidates — something made much easier by involving the whole team.
Every company will approach what information they want to give differently, but take note that more and more companies are looping candidates into what their valuations, planned growth and development are.
Create a Cheat Sheet
Following your team meeting, it is good to document your discussions and remain on the same page. Create a FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) sheet complete with the company official responses to each question. Distribute this document out to all recruiters and hiring managers so you are in sync with one another.
But while a list like this is helpful in providing messaging and guidelines for responding to touchy subjects, you don’t want to read off a script. There’s no bigger turnoff for candidates than a generic, rehearsed answer. Avoid speaking in a corporate tone and reading word for word, but communicate to the candidate on their level. This should go without saying, don’t leave that cheat sheet anywhere that candidates eyes may land on.
Stand Your Ground
No matter how well-prepared you are there’s always the chance that a candidate will ask certain questions that you’re just not willing or prepared to answer. Precise diversity numbers, history of equity, and turnover rates are just a few examples of things that businesses keep among themselves so be sure to stand your ground and simply say that this is something you are not able to answer. There’s nothing wrong with telling a candidate that as a rule, your company doesn’t release that information publicly. Even if you don’t share hard facts and figures, walking a candidate through the company’s plan of action will likely leave them feeling like their question was sufficiently explained.
So if candidates start asking those awkward, out of the blue questions – don’t panic. In today’s world, it just shows the connected savvy candidates that we can expect through the door and we should welcome their curiosity and confidence when they ask these questions. It is a clear sign that they have been educating themselves by using resources available to them and by talking to people. And in this difficult competitive talent acquisition market, you want to be one step ahead from your competitors and prepared for with open arms for them.