Managing Candidate Expectations in an Evolving Economy

Despite lockdown restrictions being mostly lifted, it still seems that things are unlikely to return to how they were any time soon. And with large numbers of people being made redundant, job security is a growing concern on many worker’s minds.

As a result, the job market has shifted dramatically, moving from a candidate-driven market to a recruiter driven one with the number of job seekers far outweighing the number of available roles.

But what does that mean for you as charity recruiters? We take a closer look at the changing job market and the best ways to manage candidate expectations going forward.

candidate expectations and changing economy

Adapting to an evolving economy

As a recruiter or hiring manager, you’re going to be faced with huge volumes of applicants that have to be dealt with primarily online. There are a few things you can do to save yourselves time while giving candidates a good idea of what to expect.

1. Make sure your job descriptions are crystal clear

Everything starts with the job description. It’s the first impression a candidate gets of you and the role. If you want to attracts the right candidates, you need to outline exactly what the role entails and the qualifications and experience that you expect your new employee to have.

Of course, growing numbers of job seekers means higher chances of irrelevant applications. People will be tempted to apply to jobs they’re not fully qualified for, so make it totally clear which requirements are ‘essential’ and which are ‘desired’.

It can also help to outline how your organisation is responding to the current situation. Are you are expecting candidates to work from home for the foreseeable future? Then be upfront about it. Most applicants are aware that remote working is likely, but it’s good to be transparent to avoid confusion.

2. Communicate clearly and often

Listen, you’re going to have to turn down the majority of candidates who apply for your roles. And that’s not always easy. But don’t be tempted to ghost them. Remember, candidates are having a tough time right now, and getting no response when they’ve applied for a job can be heartbreaking.

Our advice? Make it clear how and when candidates can find out if they’ve made it through. And if they haven’t been shortlisted, tell them so. You don’t have to provide feedback—you probably don’t have the time to do so for 100+ applications. But even just a simple rejection email will allow them to accept your decision and move on.

Making some effort to let candidates know the hiring process may take some time puts your organisation in a better light. Plus it will reduce the number of applicants who follow up when they haven’t heard anything.

3. Provide a timeline

Do you already have an idea of when you’ll be conducting interviews or when you’re looking to for the new hire to start? Put it on the job spec. Candidates want to know when to expect hearing from you or when they might advance to the next stage. You can always set up a trigger email that thanks them for their application and lets them know things like when they might hear back and plans for further interview stages.

Providing all this information gives candidates a realistic idea of what to expect and stops them from chasing you for updates. It’ll save candidates from becoming frustrated or disappointed if the timeline doesn’t fit in with their current situation.

charity recruiter - google for jobs and captivating job ad

4. Give clear guidelines for tasks and interviews

You’re going to be dealing with lots of candidates, and they’re likely to be applying for plenty of roles. So giving them some clear guidelines on what you expect from them during the recruitment process will save both of you time.  

If you’re asking them to complete a task, give them thorough instructions and indicate how long you expect it to take. This will give you and them a better understanding of whether or not their abilities meet the requirements of the role.

What to do if you’re not in a position to hire quite yet

Of course, not everyone has the resources or funding to invest in new staff right away. If you’ve had to put your recruitment plans on hold, then make that apparent to job seekers. It’s important not to leave job adverts up and still accept applications if you’re not in a position to hire anyone. This will leave some of the best candidates feeling disappointed and unlikely to apply to your organisation again.

If you have already received applications and your situation has changed, you should reach out to applicants and explain why things have been put on hold. You can always ask to keep their applications on file in case things change in the near future.

If you have work that’s beyond the capabilities of your existing workforce but no budget to hire new staff then there are a few things you can do.

  • Invest in software that can reduce workload or make processes more efficient. There are some great tools out there that can automate your process, such as project management software that help you get more done in less time. And chances are using this software cheaper than hiring a new employee.
  • Upskill and train your current employees. Why not invest in the employees you already have? You could subscribe to LinkedIn Learning or explore some of Shopify’s free courses for growing organisations.
  • Consider freelancers or voluntary positions. Not all jobs need to be done full-time. You can reach out to freelancers to help with specific projects or ask volunteers to use their skills to help you achieve short-term goals. And who knows, maybe these positions can eventually become full-time if funding becomes available.

With huge numbers of applications for roles, it’s important to plan out how you’re going to filter and respond to candidates. Managing their expectations in an evolving economy is going to be focused on communicating clearly and keeping them informed about the process.

If you have any other questions about the recruitment process, feel free to get in touch with one of our Account Managers today.

Tags: candidate expectations, Covid-19 resources, hiring the right people, job market

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About the author

Rodney Laws

Rodney Laws is an ecommerce expert with over a decade of experience in building online businesses. Check out his reviews on and you’ll find practical tips that you can use to build the best online store for your business. Connect with him on Twitter @EcomPlatformsior.