Candidate experience can be described as the collective result of all interactions and engagements candidates have with your organisation during the hiring process.
Many of these interactions are technology-driven – such as your career site, job postings, social media interactions and the like – while other interactions, such as interviews, are more personal.
Regardless of the format, it’s important to get candidate experience right. Consistently leaving candidates with a negative impression makes it much more difficult to hire great talent in the future.
Why candidate experience needs to be taken seriously
As late celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain once said:
“If you have a good experience in a restaurant, you tell 2 people.
If you have a bad experience, you tell 10 people”
The same goes for hiring processes. If you make life unnecessarily difficult or complicated for candidates they’ll be pretty unhappy. And you can bet they’ll tell their peers about it.
According to an IBM report, more than 60% of candidates talk about their experience with friends and family. And with the explosion of mobile technology and social media, feedback – both good and bad – spreads faster than ever.
Candidate feedback on websites such as Glassdoor.com impacts your organisations reputation, your ability to attract other candidates in the future, and your ability to retain candidates as customers or fans of your company.
By taking proactive steps to improve your hiring process, you have the power to win or lose out on great talent. Offering a first-class candidate experience is a great way to gain an edge in today’s increasingly competitive job market.
5 tips to improve candidate experience
Overhauling your recruitment process won’t happen overnight. It takes time to iron out some of the more complicated candidate pain points such as the UI design on your careers page and company brand messaging. However, there are still many quick and easy changes you can make right now:
Write a clear, engaging job description
A job description needs to be appealing to encourage candidates to apply for a role. You should always aim to provide a clear and accurate explanation of the job and responsibilities. Its important candidates aren’t presented with a job description that simply lists a long set of requirements. This comes across as dry and boring and will likely put off many good candidates off before they even apply.
Candidates want to know about the salary range, benefits, and company values. They also want to know about opportunities for learning and growth, the kind of problems they’ll be working on, and the impact they’ll have at your organisation. Finally, all this information should be presented in an easy-to-read format e.g. making the text as concise as possible and using bullet points where appropriate.
Email candidates regularly
Taking a few minutes to email a candidate to inform them of a delay or acknowledge receipt of an application isn’t difficult. But it has a huge impact on candidate experience. Candidates like to be kept in the loop and won’t be happy if you leave them guessing. Informing them of timescales helps manage expectations and crucially, reduces the chances that candidates will accept another offer as they haven’t heard anything from you.
This seems so simple but many companies don’t do it. The 2015 CandE Research Report by The Talent Board, found that 73% of candidates reported they never received any communication after submitting their application. This highlights the fact that a basic application confirmation email goes a long way.
Even though a candidate might not be a good fit for your company right now, he or she might be suitable for another opening in the future. If you ruin the first candidate experience they have with you through lack of communication, they won’t be rushing back to apply again for another role.
Always provide feedback
Offering useful feedback isn’t a big change. But again, it has a big impact on how candidates perceive your company. Feedback should be given whether a candidate is successful or not, as it makes a candidate feel appreciated and recognised. After, all they have taken time out of their own busy schedule to commit to your application process.
If you have another suitable vacancy coming up, a candidate who has received constructive feedback will feel empowered to apply. And in the ideal scenario, they will perform better second time around as a result of the advice you gave them.
In fact, research from Talent Board found that 64% of candidates who had a positive experience will increase their engagement with the company whether they were successful or not – and feedback is a big part of this.
Always collect feedback
You can’t improve without honest feedback on your current performance. So it’s important to ask candidates for their thoughts on your recruitment process. One effective way of doing this is to have all candidates complete a short feedback form. This helps to highlight any areas that could be improved. By collecting data in this way and actioning the findings, you can completely overhaul your recruitment process in the long-term. This is something most companies aren’t currently doing.
Give candidates a chance to meet the team
When candidates come in for an interview, you should give them a chance to meet the team they would be working with. This gives candidates an important glimpse of the life within your organisation. An informal chat with the team can also help the interview experience feel a bit less intimidating. If it then comes to a salary negotiation situation where you can’t beat a rival, the candidate could end up choosing you because your organisation feels like a better fit.
About the Author: James Deeney is the lead content writer at Venturi Group, an IT recruitment agency. A Science Communication graduate from The University of Manchester, James aims to take the jargon out of technical and scientific writing.
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