Candidate experience, have you thought about it? SMEs work hard to make their workplace a good environment for current employees, but what environment are you creating for prospective employees? We set out to outline why candidate experience matters with the help of some of our managed recruitment experts. | Published April 24, 2023.
A Better Candidate Experience Matters
Have you ever considered the candidate experience your business provides during the hiring process? While candidates might only be interacting with your organization for a short time, it is still an interaction that can have many implications, both on a personal and organizational level. That’s why it is important to evaluate your talent acquisition process from a candidate’s experience perspective.
There are statistics to back this up. Studies have shown that consumer behaviour can be impacted by candidate experience, for B2C organizations, applicants are less likely to shop at a place they have had a bad experience applying to, or if their friend has had a similar experience. For B2B organizations, those who provide a bad candidate experience are less likely to attract a qualified talent pool, or candidates who are rejected will later direct their employer to work with different companies.
It is your first impression just as much as it is the candidates. With that in mind, it is time to think about candidate experience seriously, and what a business can do to provide the best experience whilst also getting the information they need.
Candidate Experience According to Recruiters
Suppose you go to a new restaurant. The place is a hit, with excellent service and delicious food. The next day, in your morning meeting, you tell your coworkers about this restaurant, you tell your friends outside of work. Now more people are interested in going to this restaurant, maybe a few months later your workplace has an event there, as it’s now liked by multiple members of your staff.
Apply this analogy to your candidate experience. If a prospective candidate is impressed by the interview style, and how you treat them throughout the process, they might not get the role, but will still appreciate the effort you put in. They might encourage others to apply there, they might coordinate a project between their place of work and yours, knowing how well structured and respectful your team is. The reverberations of a good candidate experience have the potential to be organization wide, beyond just how an individual feels, that’s why it’s vital.
The first impression sets the scene for the rest of the relationship, in all areas of work. This extends to the application process as well. When they arrive at your office or log onto their first video chat, they’re likely to be interacting with your organization for the very first time. Establishing trust at this moment, having your candidate feel comfortable, will help them be more authentic.
Improving the Candidate Experience
Right from the start, remember that a candidate’s time is valuable. The more time you keep them waiting the less they’ll be interested in hearing back from you, and the less they’ll try should you reach them. This means only opening applications when you’re ready to hire. Often is the case where postings are opened, candidates apply, and months will pass before the next step in the application process is done. By this point, you candidate list is outdated, and your candidates no longer care.
Make sure your application is succinct and easy to fill out. Candidates spend just 14 seconds deciding if your job posting is worth applying to, so use words wisely. Clearly outline what the role requires, the type of person who would fit the role, and finish with information about the company. Make sure it is easy to apply, with links to your company profiles and website. When you get applications, reach out to qualified candidates right away; do not wait, because they are likely another business’ qualified candidate as well.
Once you make first contact with a candidate, outline the hiring process, so they know where they stand the whole way. It helps the candidate prepare and establishes a mutual sense of trust. Give them the LinkedIn profiles of the people they will meet first, allowing them the chance to get to know a little more about the people at your organization. Have both professional and personal highlights from their application on hand for the interview, and let them know what comes next after every interaction, even if you already stated it.
Once you’ve decided on a candidate, a best practice is to let your other candidates know the role has been filled. While some might not be interested in pursuing things further, there are still some steps you can provide, asking them to provide feedback on their experience, or directing them to other positions if you think they’re still a right fit. For the candidate that fills the role, make sure you reach out regularly between signing the offer and their first day, so they can prepare for the first day and the onboarding process.
If the candidate experience had to be reduced to three key points, they would be: be transparent, be time sensitive, be personable. Keys to achieving these points are to make your job postings accessible, succinct, and only available when you need the job filled, respond quickly with the processes that begin once an application is filled, and never leave the candidate at a dead end. These simple instructions will drastically improve the experience candidates have with an organization, in turn making it easier for the organization to attract qualified candidates that fit the workplace culture.
Organizations that prioritize a good candidate experience will have a competitive advantage. We can help you with yours if you’re not sure where to start auditing your candidate experience.