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How Engaging with Contract Candidates Sets Your Company Apart

How often have you gone through the interview process only to have a contractor reject your offer in favor of someone else’s? Or hired a contractor and soon discovered they can’t meet your expectations? As a hiring manager, you’ve undoubtedly faced these challenges, but there are ways to avoid them and to create a positive experience by engaging your contract candidates along the way.

It is important to keep in mind the experience candidates have with your company while they navigate through the hiring process. From the first time they interact with your brand – whether it’s through your website, on the telephone or in-person – the way you treat potential contractors is an indicator to them of your overall company culture and what they can expect working with you.

In an environment where there are more open jobs than there are qualified candidates, such impressions matter. That’s especially true in the world of contracting, where it’s crucial for businesses to find workers with the skills and experience to get up-to-speed quickly.

In this market, nearly every candidate you interview for a temporary opening is also pursuing permanent roles. Surprisingly, we see a number of them turn down permanent opportunities because they have “a better feeling” about a contract position.

The ripple effect

Every email to a candidate and every conversation you have with them sends a message about your organization. They add up to an impression of your company’s personality – how it conducts business, how it treats its people and how energizing a place it is to work. Treat candidates professionally, and even those you decline will see your business as a winning organization. That’s important: It means they will have an open mind should you approach them about new opportunities in the future.

Bear in mind we live in the world of the network. The impression you make will spread far beyond the individual you are interviewing. On websites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Glassdoor, candidates share their impressions of employers. When you treat candidates carelessly, word is sure to get around. Bad news travels fast.

Details count

In creating a positive candidate experience, even the little things matter. Acknowledging receipt of a resume or offering a beverage to a candidate waiting for their interview both illustrate a company that treats its workers with respect. A hiring manager who does more than a surface-level review of the resume shows the organization is truly interested in determining a candidate’s strengths and putting them to use in the best way possible.

While most managers look at interviews as a time for workers to pitch themselves, they should understand in today’s candidate-driven market, it is also an opportunity for them to sell the company. If you aren’t providing solid reasons why your business is an exceptional place to work, the candidate may well turn down your offer in favor of someone who made a better impression.

It doesn’t end with the hire

Providing a strong candidate experience also builds loyalty. When you truly engage them through the hiring process and continue to do so through the assignment itself, contractors are more likely to resist the temptation of better offers that might unexpectedly arise. A negative experience, meanwhile, can give a worker the excuse they need to depart abruptly, leaving a hole in your operations that may not be easily filled.

So, when a contractor arrives for their first day of work, have their computer and desk ready. Work with HR to make sure someone’s assigned to provide orientation, show them around and introduce them to the team. Don’t treat them like – and certainly, don’t call them – a “temp.” Include them in team meetings, arrange regular one-on-ones with their manager, and offer feedback, either directly or through your agency. Communication goes a long way toward keeping people engaged.

Getting contractors to feel “at home” early on can mean the difference between being a productive member of the team, or an outsider with no real sense of loyalty. While identifying the rights contractors is crucial, how you interact with them during the hiring process and while you bring them into your organization is critical both to their success – and the success of your project.

Photo credit: Mimi Thian for Unsplash

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