How to Improve the Candidate Experience

10 Ways to Improve the Candidate Experience

Providing potential employees with a positive experience from the first job post through the interview process is a golden opportunity to create a glowing brand ambassador for your company. This person is experiencing your company firsthand, from the initial contact of viewing your career website to later meeting the executive leadership team. CareerBuilder’s 2017 Candidate Experience Study reports that 47% of applicants say employers do a good job of setting expectations in terms of communication at the beginning of a potential hiring interaction. While 78% of employers feel they do a good job of setting expectations upfront and communicating throughout the process. There is a clear disconnect.

This initial communication shapes how your company and your brand is viewed in the marketplace. Candidates who have a positive OR negative experience will rapidly share this with peers, colleagues and friends. Projecting your company in a positive manner to candidates will attract your industry’s top talent, help retain your current all-stars and set your company apart as the best place to work. 

Over the last decade the U.S. economy has gone from having an over abundant supply of job seekers during the Great Recession, when roughly 8.1 million jobs were shed, to today where the unemployment rate has leveled. This means that there are now fewer job seekers for each opportunity and employers are finding it more difficult to find qualified candidates.

This limited talent pool has led companies to reinvent the way prospective candidates experience their company. Companies who don’t focus on creating a positive and collaborative hiring process will hurt their brand. Use these 10 strategies to ensure that your company has a top-notch candidate experience.

10 Strategies to Improve the Candidate Experience

1. Evaluate Your Process

Take a walk in the candidate’s shoes and play the applicant. Go through each motion of the hiring process to understand what the candidate experiences. During this process you will identify your weakest link and from there you can address the frustrations and redevelop the hiring procedure.

2. Analyze the Market

What are people saying through online forums and social media channels? Conduct an informal focus group with recently hired employees and use this feedback to define the benchmark of how you want your company to be perceived.  

3. Source Inspiration From Other Companies and Industries. 

Steve Jobs said it best with his hiring advice that suggests, “One way for you to learn as a recruiter is to borrow a hiring strategy from some of the greatest recruiting minds of our times.” Assess the competition and determine what you could incorporate. 

4. Hire Collaboratively

Bring employees into the process and seek their input when implementing your processes. Have them meet with the potential candidate. One of Apple’s key hiring principles was built from Steve Job’s belief in a collaborative hiring process. “When we hire someone, even if they are going to be in marketing, I will have them talk to the design folks and the engineers.”

5. Train Hiring Managers and Others Interviewing the Candidates on Relevant Interview Topics

Only 40% of hiring managers are actually trained, and among these, still only 40% are trained specifically on the topic of relevance for the job and candidate. Hiring collaboratively requires your entire team to understand the responsibilities of the open position and what it takes from everyone to reach company goals.  

Learn More: 3 Interview Styles to Avoid

6. Build Trusted Relationships With Candidates

Ensure a human touch during each step of the journey. Understand that searching for a job is one of the most stressful events in life. In today's candidate-driven market, candidates want to work with a recruiter that is a trusted partner and can partner closely with them through the hiring process. Build the relationship with the candidates and gain their trust. 

7. Tighten up the Application Process

The No. 1 frustration stated by 52% of job seekers during the overall job search is the lack of response from employers. An example could be uploading a resume and then having to manually fill out applications. Identify the frustrations and easily close the gap on the highest rated complaint from applicants.

8. Tailor the Communication Process

Whether it be through text, social media, phone call or email, know your candidate and communicate effectively the way they prefer. According to CareerBuilder’s study, 81% of job seekers say that if employers continuously communicated status updates to them, that would greatly improve the overall experience. Set the expectations early by establishing how you will communicate and provide a clear timeline of the hiring process.

9. Have a Career Site on Your Company's Website

Does your company's career site offer key information that is pertinent to candidates? Often this is the first step job seekers take to gain information on your company. With CareerBuilder reporting only 24% of people saying that the employer site, even if present, did not convey what it is like to work for the organization, providing an optimal experience at this initial connection is crucial to give candidates a realistic feel of the work environment.

10. Leverage Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS)

Implementing an ATS to improve your candidates experience should add hours back to your day and help with ongoing communication efforts to deliver a better experience.

Turn your organization’s hiring process into a powerhouse marketing and recruiting tool. With today’s limited talent pool you must accelerate your process to differentiate your company from the competition in order to compete for top talent. Sparks Group can help attract your top talent and take your company to the next level.

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Written by Sparks Group

Sparks Group

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