What experience are your candidates getting?

Nine years recruitment experience has made me sensitive to the struggles of a Jobseeker. All too often I hear about the very lengthy and daunting recruitment processes that follow.

Unfortunately for Jobseekers, clicking the ‘apply’ button for that perfect job can mean being redirected to a site and an application process of 6+ pages to complete; an arguably ‘necessary’ requirement for gaining candidate information.

But are the words ‘lengthy’ and ‘daunting’ really the words an internal recruitment team or recruiter want their candidates to associate with a brand?

Gerry Crispin, whom I met at #TruLondon, and a group of editors and authors released a ‘virtual monograph’ aimed at explaining ‘The Candidate Experience: What they say it is; What it really is; and What it can be’. On page 11 of the piece, Gerry gives a detailed yet simple definition of candidate experience.

“The attitudes and behaviors of individuals who aspire to work for a firm about the recruiting process, the stakeholders in the process, the work and the company itself as a place to work.”

The experience starts from the moment a candidate decides to apply for a job and whether it is a good or bad experience entirely depends on the recruitment process in place. Did you know that the average time it takes to complete a first time application with a corporate is 2 hours? Yes, you read it correctly, 2 hours, with a minimum of 50 clicks and 50 screens. That is a lot of time when you consider that the majority of job applicants are not even shortlisted.

Just recently I heard a story from a friend who interviewed with a well-known retailer over a 12-hour period. This was their first interview and they had to meet with 10 stakeholders. That’s right, 10 interviews in one day. At the end of it all they received zero feedback and a simple no. What kind of impression is this type of recruiting leaving with our valued candidates? They are being asked to bend over backwards to try to secure an interview and then most of the time don’t even hear that their application has been received.

With 2013 hot on our heels, it’s probably a good time for all recruiters to think about more innovative and candidate-friendly ways to recruit.

Applicant tracking systems should be working on ways to make it easier for both candidate and recruiter too. Jobvite for example, connects them via social platforms, actively linking candidates to a more appreciated brand experience with recruitment agencies.

LinkedIn is of course a major player in the market. Candidates are more aware than ever before of the importance of having their profile on LinkedIn. I think more companies should be utilising this advantage and using social profiles as part of the process. Having an option to apply via LinkedIn seems like the obvious step forward.

Another consideration is mobile recruiting. To-date, recruiters and corporates have been slow to take up mobile in the application process. This is slightly disappointing considering that 4 out of 5 smartphone users are using their phones to search for jobs, with a lot expecting to be able to complete job applications with their devices.

Research has found that 56% of UK organisations have increased their spend on Employer Branding in 2012 with 93% saying they want to increase the spend further in the future. It will be well worth the spend when you consider the information that candidates have access to via Glassdoor. If the recruitment experience with your brand isn’t being reviewed at a high standard, this could have a serious impact on future applications.

We need to remember that candidates have as much potential to be advocates for our brand as clients or customers do, if not more. They are the ones to help amplify our online presence and strengthen our business, and this will only happen when we are delivering the best candidate experience possible.

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