Employers that are looking to hire are finding that it’s a job seekers’ market. Candidates have their pick of opportunities, and it can be hard to stand out. Part of your employer brand includes how you treat candidates and others interested in working at your company, and following some etiquette rules during the hiring process can help.

“You need to be considerate of the applicants,” says Diane Gottsman, author of “Modern Etiquette for a Better Life” and founder of The Protocol School of Texas.

Candidates are taking time out of their day to apply and interview, so you need to respect that time, Gottsman says. Here’s how to do it.

Hone Your Job Description

Treating applicants with respect starts with the job advertisement. Taking a boilerplate job description off the internet will result in something so vague and broad that you’ll likely end up with candidates who aren’t qualified — or who find out they’re not interested in the position when they come in for an interview, Gottsman says.

A job seeker is looking for clarity, Gottsman says, so write an accurate, detailed job description that gives applicants a vivid understanding of what the job entails. Ensure that your postings on different platforms or outlets are consistent and provide the same contact information. Reducing the possibility of misunderstandings or surprises on the front end will help ensure no one wastes their time in the process.

Prepare for Interviews

Calling a candidate in for an interview tells them you’re interested in them and their experience. But if you don’t prepare for the interview itself, it sends a message that you’re not actually interested or that you don’t think they’re a strong candidate. Etiquette is all about building relationships, so you need to do your research and get to know the candidate, Gottsman says.

Go over their resume carefully so you get a clear picture of their background and experience. Use the resume to inspire questions that dig into how the candidate gets results in their work, but don’t make the candidate recite their career history or job titles for you. Look them up on social media or job candidate boards — and don’t worry if the platform notifies them that you’re looking, Gottsman says. At this point in the process they expect it, and it sends a sign that you’re interested in them.

Communicate Clearly

It’s vital to keep your word once you’ve made contact with a candidate, Gottsman says. Not only is it basic business etiquette but it plays a big role in the candidate experience, which can help or hurt your reputation as an employer. “Follow up with people,” Gottsman says. “If you say you’ll let them know your decision by Friday, don’t keep them hanging.” If it turns out that you can’t make a decision by Friday, notify them that there’s a delay and give a new estimate of when you expect to know more.

And if you decide not to make a job offer, don’t string the candidate along by putting off the notification or by hedging in any communication with them. “If it’s not a fit, it’s not a fit,” Gottsman says. Keeping the lines of communication clear throughout the hiring process will make things go more smoothly for everyone and help you improve your candidate experience.

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