Your small company applicant tracking system has many powerful features to dramatically improve your hiring process. Is a Candidate Notes feature one of the ones yours has? There are many ways candidates notes can help you hire faster and more effectively at less cost. Learn how to use them with this blog post.
What Are Candidate Notes in a Small Company Applicant Tracking System?
Candidate notes are the digital equivalent of a sticky note or a page of notes attached to a candidate’s physical resume. How they look and function will vary depending on the applicant tracking system in question.
You should ensure the applicant tracking system you have, or are considering purchasing, includes this feature. If you’re about to purchase a small company applicant tracking system, you should use a free trial or demo to see how all the features work to ensure they are enjoyable to use and work as you’d expect. For instance, you should be able to edit the notes at any time during the candidate’s workflow. Don’t discover after you’ve already purchased the software that it doesn’t allow you to do this. It also might be easy or irritating to access and edit the notes. You can’t know that without seeing it in a review or discovering it in a trial.
You might also be able to attach files to your candidate notes or make the notes available for public or private use. Look into any feature of a small company applicant tracking system to that degree of detail to ensure you are getting what you need and know what you’re using.
Ways to Use Candidate Notes
There are many ways to improve your hiring process by using the candidate notes offered by your small company applicant tracking system. Once you start using them, you may even think of creative new uses for your individual business.
Save Time and Hire the Best Candidate
The first and most obvious benefit of using candidate notes is that it keeps you from wasting time.
Hard copy candidate notes can be lost or misplaced, making you have to spend valuable time looking for them or being forced to do without. With a small company applicant tracking system, everything about the candidate, their resume, records from interview, step in the workflow, candidate notes, and even their onboarding stage, can be easily viewed in one place. No more searching for missing items, gathering everything together before an interview, or having to remind yourself.
And because a good small company applicant tracking system can be used both in your office and on your mobile devices, you can access this candidate information anywhere you are, and so can any other hiring manager with access to your system. The notes aren’t just confined in the office.
Also, if you conduct a phone or face-to-face interview without notes, you may forget key information and observations from the interview or confuse them with other candidates. This wastes your time and effort in the sense that it wasn’t nearly as effective as it should have been. You may have to ask the candidate again or do without. What if you decided for or against a candidate based on misremembered information? Then you also wasted time and financial investment in a poor hire.
Improve Candidate Experience and Appear More Professional
Candidate experience plays a large part in attracting quality candidates and building a sense of loyalty with your business. You don’t want a great candidate to get fed up and apply for a job with your competitor, or for a candidate you just can’t hire right now to never apply again in the future because they got a bad impression of your business. You also don’t want the candidate you do hire to have less than the best expectations about your company because your hiring process didn’t project excellence.
Companies frequently fail at candidate experience. They’re so busy trying to handle massive amounts of candidates while reducing their time to fill metric that things like actually listening to the most basic and important information about candidates gets forgotten about.
In a previous post, we discussed what job candidates wished recruiters and hiring managers knew and our research found some accounts of terribly unprofessional and inconsiderate communications that could be prevented with the use of candidate notes.
Here’s an example from Ripoff Report,
“What she sent were three jobs about as far away from the job I am looking for. I responded and asked why she sent those to me, and reiterated what it was I was looking for and could she please get back in touch with me. Two days after that I got the same cookie cutter e-mail with the same three jobs.”
And here’s another from Job Tips for Geeks,
“The problem with many recruiters, it seems, is that they simply don’t pay any attention to the desires of candidates. This results in lost time for all involved – candidates waste time reading about jobs that don’t apply, hiring managers read résumés and interview candidates that are not qualified or interested, and the recruiter is wasting time with activity on both sides. Many of the complaints I hear about techies getting bombarded with emails from recruiters would be easily avoided if the recruiter would simply do a little reading, or (God forbid) thinking.”
Candidate notes can supply you with valuable information that may impact your decision.
- Schedule conflicts
- Location preferences and needs
- Salary requirements
- Personality clues
- Expectations for the job
- Additional skills and experience
- Corrected information
If you don’t record supplied information and review it so you can take it into consideration when dealing with the candidate, you could give the candidate a very bad impression of your company, potentially costing you both current and future interest.
Streamline Hiring with Multiple Managers
With candidate notes, any hiring manager with access to the candidate’s file can see all of the information you’ve collected on the candidate in black and white. Should multiple hiring managers be making a decision on the candidates, or if the primary manager leaves, the other party has every collected fact at their disposal without the need for communication. This greatly improves team hiring and helps you hire efficiently while a hiring manager is on vacation or if they have quit or been fired.
It’s very frustrating to candidates, and a terrible waste of your time, to write to a candidate with information from a step of the hiring process they’ve already completed or to ask them a question they’ve already answered, as the quotes above show. It’s an insult, showing them you aren’t paying attention to who you are talking to at all and disrespecting the fact that their time matters too. While they’re waiting for and dealing with you, they could be pursuing jobs with companies that do pay attention to candidates.
If you make thorough notes, you can have proof of the information that led you to hire or reject a candidate. Should someone else need proof that you didn’t discriminate against a candidate, they won’t have to rely on your word or your memory, but can view the recorded facts.
There are many factors that have nothing to do with the candidate’s resume that may impact their fit for a current job opening.
- Schedule conflicts
- Additional skills or experience
- Soft skills
- Poor culture fit due to attitudes or expectations
- Emotional intelligence
Record your honest and fair judgements on these factors in candidate notes to explain your choice.
A great way to both improve your interviews and your compliance is to ask everyone the same questions, or have a sort of pattern, and record the answers in your candidate notes.
You might have a script for yourself, and recording the answers proves you asked everyone the same questions, giving them the same shot as far as the interview went.
Some employers don’t really do scripts or use the same type of questions that are typical in interviews. For instance, IKEA focuses more on attitude and soft skills and asks people what talent they want to bring to the job. The questions are not so important for your candidates. That’s a culture thing. But utilizing and showing the consistency helps you review your hiring process, helps you share information with other hiring managers, and benefits your diversity efforts.
Collect all the information you gather on the candidate in one easy-to-access place and record your reasoning on the candidate for future review by you, your team, and anyone investigating your hires. Use candidate notes to save you time, make better hires, save you money from poor hires and poor retention, improve your candidate experience, and prove compliance. Candidate notes are the perfect compliment to all the benefits you can enjoy with your small company applicant tracking system.
Best Small Company Applicant Tracking System
Using the right online recruiting software for your business can save you lots of time and money! Thankfully, Recruiteze is here to help you!
Recruiteze is our free small company applicant tracking system that allows candidates to easily apply to be added to your database immediately. End-users can access candidate resumes online and make changes quickly. This is only the beginning and our cloud-based recruiting systems offer so much more. Give Recruiteze a try and start hiring smarter!