How to communicate with candidates: 11 key touchpoints + 6 tips

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How to communicate with candidates: 11 key touchpoints + 6 tips

how to communicate with candidates touchpoints and tips

Communication is everything.

Workplace communication is essential – but what about before you make the hire?

Understanding how to communicate with candidates during the hiring process could be the difference between the ideal hire and losing the best candidate for the role.

Communication with prospective employees goes deeper than maintaining a professional air to make your company look good. You could miss out on your ideal candidate purely because of poor correspondence or a delayed job offer.

This guide will show you the step-by-step process of communicating well with your candidates, with explanations of the crucial touchpoints you can customize to your company and specific hiring process. 

We’ll also provide a series of quick tips to improve your overall candidate communication strategy.

The 11 key touchpoints in a recruitment communication strategy

The 11 key touchpoints in a recruitment communication strategy

Let’s go over a step-by-step recruitment communication strategy, covering the 11 key touchpoints.

Every company’s process will be a little different as it depends on your recruitment and selection strategy.

However, these touchpoints represent the typical process. Use this guide as a baseline and customize it to suit your business as needed.

For example, you might have trial runs or multiple interview stages.

Most of these steps can be customized using emails, texts, or phone calls. However, the initial contact and the final decision should always be an email or phone call since it’s more professional.

Here’s a quick summary of the process:

Touchpoint Description
1. Pre-application communication Start communication before the application, when the candidate is simply looking at opportunities
2. Application received Inform the candidate that you’ve successfully received their application
3. Application status update Let the candidate know you’re in the process of reviewing their application
4. Skills assessment Invite the candidate to complete a skills assessment
5. Initial personal contact Tell the candidate you’re interested in setting up an interview
6. Interview setting Reach out with calendar details and a range of times once the candidate confirms their interest
7. Interview reminder Send a brief reminder of the upcoming interview
8. Interview Conduct the interview, and be sure to discuss the next steps
9. Post-interview thank you Send a small follow-up thanking them for their time
10. Status update(s) Update the candidate on how the decision-making process is going
11. Decision Convey the final decision, whether it’s yes or no

Let’s discuss these steps in detail.

1. Pre-application communication

Starting communication with prospective employees before the hiring process starts gets your relationship off on the right foot.

So how do you communicate with job candidates who haven’t applied yet?

Individuals who opt-in to receive career-related newsletters or messages asking if you’re hiring should receive a message thanking them for their interest.

You can then direct them to any relevant vacancies and offers.

2. Application received

Replying to a candidate right after they apply for a position is one of the most crucial touchpoints.

Job seekers rate promptness in application confirmation nearly as important as how quickly they get a follow-up after an interview when making up their minds to join a company.

Here’s an idea of what to include in your application confirmation:

  1. The name of the applicant and the position they applied for
  2. Confirm that their application has been received
  3. Explain your hiring process, such as how long it takes and how long until they know if they’ve gone through to the next round
  4. Contact information of the recruiter or hiring manager
  5. Share your company’s culture, including links to websites and social media

Let’s see what that looks like:

To: candidate@example.com

Subject: Your application to [company name]

Hello [first name],

We've received your application for the position of [title]. [Short description of the recruitment process].

You can read more about us on our company career page [link to career page] or follow us on social media on [link to social media pages] to get the latest updates.

If you have any questions, you're welcome to contact me at [telephone number and/or email address].

Regards,

[Your name]

[Signature]

This message reassures candidates that the application was submitted correctly and represents your organization well. You don’t need to send it out manually each time – to speed things up, you could automate the initial confirmation.

3. Application status update(s)

This is when you let the candidate know that their application is being reviewed.

This step isn’t just about conveying solid communication and representing your company well – it’s also keeping your offer fresh in the candidate’s mind, as they may be pursuing options other than yours. 

Mention when you expect to be finished reviewing applications, when and how you plan to assess skills, when you expect to schedule interviews, and let them know that you’ll follow up with any news.

Prompt them to contact you if they have questions or comments.

Here’s a quick example:

To: candidate@example.com

Subject: Your application at [company name] for the [title] position

Hi [first name],

How has your week been?

I wanted to update you about the status of your application for the [title] position.

[Hiring manager] is currently reviewing all [applications] and we're expecting to schedule interviews by [timeframe].

I will contact you as soon as I have any news.

In the meantime, please feel free to reach me via email or at [telephone number and/or email address], if you have any questions or comments.

All the best,

[Your name]

[Signature]

It doesn’t have to be a lengthy update. Simply telling the candidate that his application is in progress is great communication.

4. Skills assessment

If you’re using a skills testing platform, invite applicants to take a skills assessment. Explain why you’re interested in testing their skills (for example, to guarantee an objective and fair hiring process) and also which skills you’d like to assess and why. 

Outline the next steps and also explain that results will only be used for the purposes of hiring and remain private. 

Giving applicants enough context will improve the overall candidate experience and will also boost candidate engagement. 

If you’re using TestGorilla, you can directly send out invitations from the platform. The process is infinitely scalable, regardless of whether you need to send 10 or 110 invitations. 

5. Initial personal contact

It’s important to let the candidate know when their application has been approved and that you’d like to move to the next stage.

Here’s some essential information to include:

  • Tell the candidate that they performed well on the skills assessment and that you’d like to schedule an interview
  • Ensure they’re still interested in the position
  • State your preferred interview process and method, such as in-person, phone call, or video call
  • Mention what you plan to talk about, such as discussing the role in-depth and getting to know the candidate
  • Give an approximate timeframe for the interview

Once the candidate replies and confirms that they’d like to move forward, you can begin scheduling the exact time.

That leads us to the next point.

6. Interview setting

After the candidate has confirmed their interest in the position, it’s time to schedule the interview.

The subject line is particularly important as you want the candidate to open this message as soon as possible. Try subject lines like:

  • Invitation to interview – [company name]
  • Interview with [company] for [job title]

If your organization conducts multiple interviews, be sure to state which interview this is in the subject as well. Such as “Invitation to Second Interview – [company name].”

Inform them whom they’ll be meeting with and how many people will attend.

Tell them how long it should last again – reiterating information isn’t redundant in this context, it’s helpful.

You should include two to three dates you’re available to offer flexibility. Many hiring teams provide a link to an online calendar.

Here’s an example message for scheduling an interview:

To: candidate@example.com

Subject: Invitation to interview – [company name]

Hi [first name],

It's great to hear you're still interested in the [title] position.

As part of the next stage, you’ll meet with [department head] and [any additional names]. The interview will last about [timeframe], and you'll have the chance to discuss the [title] position and learn more about our organization.

Would be available on [range of dates/times]?

[or]

Here's a link to my calendar so we can schedule a time to talk.

Looking forward to hearing from you,

All the best,

[Your name]

[Signature]

7. Interview reminder

This message is to refresh the candidate’s memory and ensure they have it penned in their calendar. 

There are many reasons a candidate will appreciate a reminder, such as juggling multiple applications and offers, and the simple fact that life can be hectic.

You can also use this opportunity to remind the candidate of anything they should expect or anything they should prepare in advance.

You can also reiterate where the meeting is going to take place and provide a link to directions to your office, or if it’s a video call, include the meeting link again.

Reminding the candidate of the upcoming interview helps prevent interview no-shows. For more tips on this topic, read How to handle interview no-shows and avoid them altogether.

8. Interview

Yes, it may seem obvious, but the interview itself is a crucial touchpoint during the hiring process.

The first interview strongly represents your organization and makes a lasting impression.

This is your chance to show your company’s policies and practices. Ask the right questions and answer them, too.

You can display professionalism, organization, and a modern edge by conducting a structured interview for each candidate. To create your own, take a look at our interview guide template.

At the end of the interview, don’t forget to discuss the next steps, such as when you expect to finish deliberations or trial runs (if your company does them).

9. Post-interview thank you

Promptly send the candidate a follow-up message thanking them for their time.

It shows courtesy and respect, and it will definitely influence their decision to accept your job offer, should you select them.

You can also mention that it was nice to meet them, bring up the expected decision timeframe again, and let them know they can ask you any questions they have.

The post-interview thank you can be brief, but even a small message is important.

10. Status update(s)

Updates, as you make your final decision, are particularly important.

  • “We’re in the final stages of processing candidates and will be contacting you within the week.”

  • “We have a few more interviews before we can make our final decision. We’ll keep in touch and will most likely finish deliberations in three weeks.”

If a candidate is currently managing several offers, this step will help you save a great hire from potentially going with another company – or from getting frustrated with a lack of communication.

Status updates can also strengthen your reputation.

You don’t want to be known as a company that interviews a candidate and leaves them hanging. It gives the impression that you weren’t interested in hiring in the first place. Or that you just don’t care.

11. Decision

The last touchpoint of communication with prospective employees is the final decision.

When the decision is a “yes,” this will be your formal job offer. When it’s a “no,” this message will be to let the applicant know they didn’t get the job.

Either way, make sure the message is very clear with no room for guessing.

If you’re making a job offer, include as much information as you think the candidate needs to make up their mind. Here are some details to include:

  • Job title
  • Working hours
  • Department
  • Manager
  • Salary details
  • Benefits
  • Contract length (if applicable)

You should also include company policies, compensation plans, and employment terms.

Be sure to set a specific timeline for when you need to hear the candidate’s final decision.

Here’s an example job offer:

To: candidate@example.com

Subject: Job offer from [company name]

Hello [first name],

We’re very impressed with your background and your interview and would like to formally offer you the position of [title].

This is a [full/part] time position [detail days and hours]. You’ll be reporting to [department head/manager]. 

We will be offering you [pay range/salary]. You will also have [company benefits, such as health and insurance plan]. 

Your expected starting date is [date].

Attached are the company policies and compensation plan.

We expect to have your response by [date]. In the meantime, please feel free to contact me should you have any questions.

We are all looking forward to having you on our team.

Best regards,

[Your name]

[signature]

Knowing how to communicate with candidates properly includes hitting these 11 key touchpoints and hitting them fast.

We cannot emphasize enough how important speed is in all correspondence with a prospective employee. 

How quickly you make contact with a candidate is a crucial deciding factor in whether or not they join your team.

It’s unfortunate that 33% of North American candidates who completed job applications still hadn’t heard back from employers a full two months later.

This is your company’s chance to step up and differentiate itself in your candidate’s eyes. Even if you don’t select a candidate, make sure to inform them promptly about your decision.

6 tips for successful communication with prospective employees

A recruitment communication strategy should be continuously improved.

Refining your communication is crucial since 63% of candidates say that most employers do not communicate adequately, and 58% of job seekers have declined a job offer due to a bad candidate experience.

hiring communication graph

We discuss the importance of customer experience in our article about candidate-experience best practices that impress job seekers.

Back to the subject at hand.

We’ve got you covered with our six top tips to improve your communication during the hiring process:

Tip Description
1. Communicate about the hiring process Be transparent about your company’s hiring process and steps
2. Tell them when it’s a no and provide constructive feedback Tell a candidate when your answer is no and give them advice on where to improve
3. Be sincere, upfront, and don’t dodge their questions Show sincerity and openness and answer as many questions as possible
4. Ask for feedback Ask your candidates what they think of your hiring process
5. Personalize communication Where possible, personalize messages instead of automating everything
6. Connect with candidates Connect with candidates on social media if appropriate

Let’s go in depth.

tips for successful communication with prospective employees

1. Communicate about the hiring process

Communicate your company’s hiring process as often as possible. Possibly at every touchpoint.

Transparency is crucial because 84% of job seekers say the transparency of a company’s hiring process is an important factor in whether or not they accept a position. 

It takes any mystery out of the equation for candidates and gives them a clear picture of what to expect.

2. Tell them when it's a no and provide constructive feedback

You should always tell the candidate your decision – even when it’s a “no.”

This is an opportunity to show the candidate respect and display your company’s tact.

This is also a good chance to provide a great candidate with useful constructive feedback. It gives the candidate great actionable insight and promotes a good relationship in the future.

In a 2021 study, when feedback was given to applicants after rejection, their willingness to refer others to the company went up by 24%, and their willingness to maintain or deepen their contact with the employer grew by 36%.

To discover more about this subject, read our article on constructive interview feedback.

3. Be sincere, upfront, and don’t dodge their questions

Be as sincere and candid as you can be during the communication process.

Answer as many questions as possible, and if there’s a question you can’t answer, let them know.

Sincerity is highly appreciated by candidates and will definitely make a mark.

4. Ask for feedback

Your candidates are the people most affected by your hiring communication, so their opinions are your best feedback.

Ask how the experience was and where you could improve.

You can refine your recruitment communication strategy with this knowledge, and most candidates will respect your willingness to improve your recruitment process.

5. Personalize communication where possible

Personalizing communication with prospective employees leaves a strong impression.

Writing out messages to candidates can make your company feel human, although this isn’t always possible.

Automated messages can be helpful or outright essential in some cases:

  • “No” responses for the first round of applications
  •  Connection messages on LinkedIn

However, a “no” after an interview should be personalized to show respect for the candidate and their time.

Try to personalize communication where possible but don’t feel the need to write out each and every email.

6. Connect with candidates

A great way to communicate with candidates is by connecting over social media whenever appropriate.

The most powerful and useful platform for candidate relationships is LinkedIn. You’ll be able to comment on their posts, share valuable resources with them, and view other industry thought leaders they follow.

Learn how to communicate with candidates to improve hiring

Understanding how to communicate with your candidates will improve your hiring strategy and your overall standing in your industry.

Candidates will have a better experience, which will influence their final decision and enhance their opinion of your company.

Each touchpoint is important, although application received, the interview status update, and the final decision are the most essential points.

For more ways to improve your hiring process, read our articles on building a collaborative hiring process and on improving your candidate selection process in a few steps.

With TestGorilla, you’ll find the recruitment process to be simpler, faster, and much more effective. Get started for free today for bias-free hiring.

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