Today's competitive hiring market means job seekers have countless job opportunities at the tips of their fingers and they're likely applying to several open roles at once. And when qualified job seekers apply to your open roles, it's critical to keep them engaged - or risk losing them to competing job opportunities.

According to a recent study from Addison Group, 70 percent of job seekers lose interest in a job if they don't hear back within one week of an interview. But most job seekers have experienced at least one instance in which they've waited weeks - or even months - to hear back from an employer. Leaving candidates waiting to hear back from your team is no longer an option given the historic-low unemployment rate.

To avoid losing top talent to competing job offers, consider implementing the following steps during the hiring process.

Streamline Interview Feedback

If your team is simply taking personal notes during the interview process, their feedback might not be entirely objective and it can be difficult to measure whether or not candidates are the right fit for your open roles. And ultimately, comparing handwritten feedback across several team members can delay your timeline for getting back to candidates.

Rather than taking disorganized notes, your team should ask all candidates the same questions and score all interviews on an objective, uniform scale. For example, each interview question can be scored on a scale of one to five or using terms such as poor, adequate, good and excellent.

Once you have an objective scoring system in place, hiring technology such as an applicant tracking system or recruitment CRM can help you collect and streamline interview feedback from your entire team. Then you can automatically determine an average interview score and share feedback with candidates quickly - even as soon as the same day as the interview.

Data from Talent Board found that candidates who received feedback on the same day as their interview were 52 percent more likely to increase their relationship with a prospective employer, which includes reapplying, referring others or making purchases when applicable.

Update Candidates on Next Steps

Even if you aren't quite ready to share feedback immediately following the interview, reach out to candidates as soon as possible to keep them engaged. Thank each candidate for their time and let them know about potential next steps in the hiring process - such as additional interview rounds or other steps like background and reference checks.

Provide an estimated timeline for when candidates will hear from you next, so you don't lose their interest as they wonder if they're still in the running for the open role. If for any reason the next steps in the process get pushed back, update candidates so they continue to be excited about the possibility of joining your team.

If you have candidates who seems like the ideal fit for your open roles, don't hesitate to move on to the next hiring steps as soon as possible - or they might get scooped up by another job offer. Immediately following the interview, touch base with your HR team to see how you can help move the candidate forward.

It's also important to update candidates who are not moving forward in the process. For all you know, these candidates might be a fit for a future role or have friends or family members who have the right background for one of your openings. The last thing you want to do with candidates, even if you can't hire them at this time, is stop communicating with them without closing the loop.

Today's candidate-driven job market means your company needs to sell job seekers on the opportunity of joining your team, rather than the other way around. And a key way to do this is by keeping in constant communication with job seekers - just as you would with customers. By following these tips, you can stand out from other employers, keep candidates engaged and hire your best team.