An oft-discussed recruiting topic is the candidate experience. Maintaining an excellent relationship throughout the recruiting process, from the candidate’s initial exposure to the company and jobs through the final interview, is a crucial element of attracting – and hiring – applicants. Potential candidates first encounter your organization via employer branding techniques. The candidate experience comprises the second level of introduction – your chance to confirm your viability as a superior employer, and continue to interact and present compelling reasons as to why candidates should want to work with you.
The candidate experience is especially important when interacting with top talent. They have a multitude of employment options, and if they get the impression that you could care less whether or not they joined your team, they may very well jump ship from your recruiting process and sail on to your competitor’s job offer. Therefore, you must make it clear that they are your number-one priority, and that your organization needs them. Providing a good candidate experience enables you to raise the percentage of top talent who are impressed by your attitude, the rapport you create, and your commitment to bringing them into the fold.
On a parallel level, the candidate experience is similar to customer experience – transparency and good service is key! Just like a grocery store puts a high value on customer experience, whether it be by placing greeters at the entrance, bright lighting, wide aisles for shopping carts, and clear signs, recruiters must remember that that in order to promote a positive effect among candidates, they must go out of their way to show the candidates just how much value they possess.
Just a little R-E-S-P-E-C-T
While you may invest in different services in order to accommodate candidates – including an informative career website and an ATS - all it takes to start providing a good candidate experience is common decency, transparency and respect.
Remember, you are the one with the open position – candidates should not have to chase after you to stay informed. Be mindful of their time and personal considerations, and be sensitive to the delicate situation they may be in while considering a job switch. Present a user-friendly application stage in which the open job and requirements are clearly explained, a set timeframe so that they know what to expect throughout the process, flexible morning and late afternoon interview times so that they do not need to take a lot of time off from their current positions in order to meet with you, and consistent status updates and feedback.
Why all the fuss?
Providing a good candidate experience is now more important than ever. Social media makes it incredibly easy for people to share their impressions with the general public – posing a challenge for your organization. Because while you have a larger platform on which to deliver your own messages, so does everybody else – meaning that you don’t have total control over the information that is distributed and viewed about your company. Social media has changed the way that candidates do their organization information mining – and griping.
Remember: potentially damning gossip can travel far, and a recount of someone’s poor candidate experience has the potential to go viral on social media. While you may try to mold your own online standing, other people’s ‘real’ word-of-mouth testimonies can carry more weight. Indeed, according to a recent report by Mystery Applicant, 64% of people share on social media, and 78% of those with bad experiences said they would recommend others to not apply.
Candidates deserve the best
It’s not enough to have a fancy website and a flashy product – your employer reputation can be marred by an simple online rant of a disgruntled candidate who was not treated with the respect that they deserve.
Everyone is a potential future candidate – including those who are not accepted for a position and those who choose not to apply at the time. Those who have already had some sort of interaction with your organization’s hiring process should be able to walk away with a clearer picture of what you offer as an employer – and a reason to continue the process with you in the future.