17 Apr Stellar Candidate Experience – Is it worth the investment?
Have you applied for a job and never heard anything after the application was sent? How about receiving a “no thank you” letter and wonder what this is related to, and finally realizing it was a position you had applied to 8 months ago. Have you had seven different interviews, spent a day doing psychometric assessments, and answered the same questions in all the seven interviews? Finally, after all this you get an automated email template telling you that it was a difficult decision and we received many good candidates, but unfortunately, we did not pick you this time, but we hope you will apply to one of our other positions and start the process all over again. Then on the other hand, some companies are walking in the dark what comes to measuring the candidate experience and how to use the data to provide better experiences and to give feedback to the recruiting organization.
This seems to be reality, at least according to social media, where these experiences spread extremely quickly. In addition, experiences like these often result in negative comments to an employer review site, such as Glassdoor. A new job seeker quite often does some preliminary research about a company, even before applying. If a company has bad reviews and negative comments all over the internet, it will definitely decrease the number of relevant applicants to a position and the competence level of these candidates, will negatively affect people’s reaction once contacted directly through sourcing, and eventually will affect customers’ opinions on the company. All this due to a bad candidate experience. Also, it seems like most companies are walking in the dark what comes to measuring the candidate experience, not to mention how the data could be used to provide better experiences and to improve the processes.
So, what actually is candidate experience and how can a company influence how it is perceived? Candidate experience is the perception and reaction of a candidate, who is a potential future employee of the company, about the employers’ sourcing, recruiting, interviewing, hiring, and onboarding processes.
It all starts way before the candidate is on the company’s radar or vice versa. People love to work for companies they know and having a positive image publicly will help companies to attract more talent. Also, surveys show that people trust more information, which they perceive to be authentic i.e. coming directly from the employees. If the employees say positive things about the company online that will definitely attract more qualified candidates.
Should you invest more time and effort to networking events, referral programs and social media presence? The most important factor is identifying your target group and the right venue, so figuring out to who and where you should be communicating, and then start maintaining the relationships. The key is talking with potential candidates in order to influence their perception of you as an employer in a positive manner.
The key for stellar candidate experience is communication. Always tell the candidate what to expect next, preferably with a personalized touch, but at the minimum keep them informed every step of the way. This could be easily compared to change management, to which most hiring managers are more familiar with from some point of their careers. In both cases. communication is the key to success. People are eager and curios to get answers, so even if nothing has changed and you feel like there is nothing new to communicate, you need to communicate that. Searching and applying for a new job is a change situation to the candidate, and you should respect and nurture it any way possible. Having the right, and timely, communication and keeping candidates informed, makes it actually quite easy to gain positive candidate experience. This can be made even more convenient with automated tools but requires the commitment from everyone involved in the hiring process.
Having everyone involved in the hiring process on the same page is extremely important as well. Your hiring team should be very professional and organized, because that’s how the candidate perceive your company. Here you can also differentiate and make a more personalized perception of your company. Train your team starting from how to communicate during the process, how to conduct interviews, what to tell about the culture and way of working, and how to answer some of the most common questions candidates will have. Also, structure your interview process properly and avoid multiple “same-same but different” interviews in a row and avoid too many overlapping questions. Communicate internally, so the candidate does not feel like the entire process is repetition. This also gives you the possibility to dig deeper into subjects that you had some additional questions related to. Always remember to create value to the candidate, and to your company, with each step.
Once you have figured out the basics of having a positive candidate experience, it is time to put in the test and start improving. How should you approach this? The most efficient way is to collect feedback and start measuring your candidate experience. How to measure it and use the data in the most effective way, constantly improving, is one of the most crucial things in maintaining a positive candidate experience. This would be a topic for a blog post of its own, but to sum it up, every company should collect candidate feedback on their recruitment process to gain improvement ideas, insights and recommendations from the candidates. Candidates are your consumers and are willing to give you feedback, usually all you need to do is ask!
Motivators for creating a superb candidate experience should be quite easy to understand. Everyone wants to get better candidates, who are more likely to accept your offer.
Do you want to improve your candidate experience flow? It all starts with a talent strategy, which you can read more about in our other post.
For the love of good experiences,
Your Talent Designer