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Hiring Best Practices

5 Hot Tips to Address the ‘Chilling Effect’ With Your Talent Pool

Written By Kama Dodge | June 20, 2023

Talent acquisition (TA) teams strive to build engagement at each phase of the recruiting process. The top of the funnel attracts candidates through media rich career pages and vibrant recruiting events. Candidate dropout is a risk at any phase, but some dropout occurs before a prospect even reaches your talent pool.

Overall, the chilling effect is described by the social sciences where a law, rule, or procedure deters a behavior. Specifically in TA, the chilling effect describes how a process like a pre-hire test might dissuade prospects from applying to a job or dropping out of the hiring process at the hurdle. Finding the chilling effect is a challenge when mapping the candidate journey because the dropout might occur before that prospect applies to the role. In technical recruitment, the chilling effect may impact diverse candidates in ways not captured by item bias and sensitivity reviews or adverse impact analysis.

5 Ways to Counter the Chilling Effect

But stay cool — there are methods to address the chilling effect for both technical and non-tech recruiting.

1. Extend Funnel Metrics

Extend your funnel metrics to include your career page traffic. GDPR introduced some challenges to collecting rich visitor statistics, but if all applicants enter your talent pool through your career page, make sure you know who is visiting and how they are engaging.

2. Look Into the Abyss

Most companies have some type of listening post or candidate survey to collect feedback, but prospects who abandon the process before they reach the survey still have useful insights. Like an exit interview, reach out to those candidates or prospects to better understand their actions and why they decided not to continue.

3. Take Your Own Candidate Journey End to End

The chilling effect may not be because of huge hurdle; it might be an inconvenience like having to re-enter data after uploading a resume. Pre-hire test length should be short to maintain engagement. Endless interview loops should not feel like “free consulting” to a candidate. Identify points of friction and work to reduce them.

4. Walk in Someone Else’s Shoes

Is your time-saving panel interview intimidating qualified candidates? Did your female software engineer candidate meet a female on your engineering team? DEI goals cannot be reached if diverse candidates abandon your talent pool.

5. Communicate Early and Often

Lack of communication creates a chilling effect on your talent pool. For high volume recruitment, automation makes communication nearly effortless, and AI makes personalized emails scalable. Tell candidates what to expect and when to expect it to avoid more costly dropout at later stages.

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How to Incorporate Candidate Feedback Into Your Hiring Process