Building a great candidate experience used to be nice to have. In fact, when we all had multiple candidates clamoring for our open jobs, we could even expect them to put up with out of date candidate experiences, characterized by things like:
However, today’s candidates know they’re in high demand and with the technology available to them in their everyday lives, they expect a better experience when finding a job. Consider the fact that almost every other aspect of a candidate’s life has become easier than getting through the hiring process. Finding a house, obtaining financing and purchasing that house can now take as little as 30 days. Finding that special someone has become as simple as swiping right, and buying a car or planning a trip no longer requires special assistance. All these large aspects of a candidate’s life have become as painless as they’ve ever been, which is why building an end-to-end candidate experience has never been more important.
41% of applicants who have terrible candidate experiences will take their loyalty and money elsewhere. But of candidates with five-star experiences, 64% say they’ll definitely increase their relationship with the employer — even if they didn’t get the job.
How do I improve the candidate experience?
The process of building an awesome candidate experience starts with an assessment. You need to know how job seekers find you, what they see before they decide to apply and what that apply process looks like and feels like. Chances are you haven’t audited your application process in some time, so take the time to do so now. No true transformation can happen until you put yourself in your candidate’s shoes.
Some quick tips to make the auditing process more accurate:
Now that you’ve applied to your own company, you’ll begin to get a taste of what your applicants go through. Yes, that’s correct. You get to wait by the phone (or the email inbox.)
What many companies neglect to take note of is that candidate experience is only half about candidate and recruiter interaction, the other, far more important half, is the time you are NOT interacting with the candidate, for instance:
These are just a few examples of the time a candidate spends thinking about your position, preparing for interviews, waiting by the phone and interviewing with other companies. 66% of job seekers said they will wait less than two weeks to hear back from an organization before moving on to another job opportunity.
Your audit continues with the waiting game. Here are some things to watch out for during this phase:
As the resident HR professional, you can also look internally during this time. Has your carefully crafted resume bubbled up to the hiring manager? Does it make it through the ATS? What can you see on the back-end? Hopefully, you’ll be called in for an interview and then the gig is up. The remainder of your audit will have to be done from the inside.
Once you’ve realized how long it takes and what it’s like to go through the process, you can start to survey recent hires. If they’ve been at the company for longer than three months, ask them about their experience. Here are some questions to ask recent hires to get some anecdotal evidence for your candidate experience audit:
Once you have some anecdotal evidence to impact your ongoing quest for the best candidate experience ever, you can begin sorting through it to determine any trends or issues. From there you’ll be able to see what is clicking (and what isn’t) with your candidate experience.
Most of these answers will help you move past the search piece and start giving you clues into what needs to change about your hiring and interviewing piece. Perhaps your candidates feel there was bias or maybe you can eliminate an entire round of videos. Look for ways to tighten and streamline the process (hint: it will likely be with the people rather than the technology during this portion.)
Building a stellar end-to-end candidate experience begins with understanding, auditing and fixing your technology and processes but there are less obvious places to ensure your candidate experience is as pristine as possible. For instance, Sharlyn Lauby mentions in a recent SHRM piece the importance of employee testimonials and reviews in marketing the company since 75% of candidates conducting their own job hunt research across multiple channels before applying.
Organizations can include their employee values on their company website and career web pages. They can also add information about their values to the company pages on social sites like LinkedIn and Facebook. In addition, organizations can use employee testimonials as soundbites in job advertisements or compile them as a video to be housed on the company website or shown at job fairs.
Another frequent misstep? Forgetting that unless the hiring manager, the recruiter and everyone involved in the hiring process on the company side is on the same page, the process will suffer. Candidates are interviewing you as much as you are interviewing them, especially in a market where the number of open jobs and the number of people looking is essentially equal.
By organizing a meeting before the interview process (preferably even before the job is posted) your team can figure out wants and needs, whether requirements need to be changed based on the current talent pool or location, and each person can decide who is in charge of finding out what from the candidate. If Joe the hiring manager is focused on skills and assessment analysis, that can free up Ruth the recruiting admin to ask questions about the candidate’s work habit and history. And the candidate can get the most out of the interview without answering the same questions multiple times.
Do you still send out the same form letter to everyone you hire? If so, you could be missing one of the easiest (and cheapest) ways to impact your candidate experience. It’s called candidate experience, so why not make the offer and subsequent communications an ‘experience’? Some ideas:
There are a thousand other ways to make your candidate experience amazing. You know which ones are right for your organization. And they take very little extra effort and budget!
This article was originally published on the ClearCompany Blog.
About Sara Pollock:
As the head of the Marketing department, Sara makes sure that ClearCompany’s message, products and best practices reach and assist as many HR practitioners as possible.
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