Candidate experience: noun. A job seeker’s perception of and reaction to a potential employer’s recruiting and hiring process, beginning with their first exposure to the company and continuing through their entire journey.
How important is candidate experience? It’s always been meaningful, but in a candidate-driven market like we’re in right now, it becomes crucial. Take a look:
- 78 percent of job seekers told CareerBuilder that their experience with a brand is an indicator of how that organization values its people.
- 83 percent of job seekers said a negative interview experience can change their mind about a role or company they once liked, according to LinkedIn.
- Conversely, according to a 2017 candidate experience report from Talent Board, 74 percent of job seekers will strengthen their relationship with a company when they have a positive interview experience.
What kind of experience are you providing to candidates? Not only could a poor hiring process cause talent to turn elsewhere, they could also post about it online and hurt your brand reputation. Don’t let a poor process harm your bottom line. These are the four things you should be doing to provide a great candidate experience.
1. Write clear job descriptions
Here’s a telling disparity: 72 percent of hiring managers told Allegis Group they provide clear job descriptions for candidates, while only 36 percent of job seekers said the same. To write clear job descriptions:
- Be simple, detailed and direct. Don’t use cutesy job titles like ninja, rockstar or guru; not only are they tiresome, but they don’t really say anything. Use a strong, clear job title followed by a full explanation of the necessary qualifications and responsibilities.
- Highlight your expectations. What will they be expected to achieve at three months, six months, and a year into the job?
- Avoid jargon and don’t be vague. Candidates shouldn’t have to guess about what the job entails or if they’re qualified.
2. Simplify the application process
The Society for Human Resource Management reports that 60 percent of candidates have abandoned an application due to its complexity or length. This underscores our next point: Streamline the application process.
Don’t fall prey to the old-fashioned notion that a lengthy process is good because it weeds out applicants. Strong candidates have plenty of opportunities in today’s job market, and they won’t stand for wastes of time.
Make it easy on them. Candidates should be able to apply:
- On a mobile device. Nine out of 10 job seekers look for jobs on a mobile device, Glassdoor found; if you have any barriers to applying on mobile, candidates will simply bounce.
- By submitting their resume and cover letter. This should be easy, in one or two taps; don’t make them jump through hoops.
- Having to answer no more than a few additional questions. The same principle applies here; keep it simple and intuitive.
3. Give frequent status updates
This is perhaps the biggest indication that you value a candidate’s time. According to the same CareerBuilder report, 81 percent of job seekers said that employers giving frequent status updates during the recruiting process would greatly improve the overall candidate experience.
Early on, explain your company’s application process and approximately how long each stage will take. Then, update candidates by using a recruiting software with the capability to send out personalized responses at these stages, such as TrackerRMS. Doing so gives candidates the best possible service.
4. Give feedback
According to the above-mentioned LinkedIn report, a whopping 94 percent of candidates want feedback after the interview. Oblige them.
Offering feedback gives the candidate closure—you don’t want to let them draw their own conclusions, which they could take to social media— and reflects well on your company brand.
How to give constructive feedback that doesn’t offend? Try to:
- Focus on the problem, not the person; don’t make it about their character.
- Position the feedback as a means to help them perform better in their next interview.
- Offer tips on how they can improve.
- Highlight a few things they did well.
When you give feedback in this manner, you help them feel like it has been a worthwhile learning experience.
Candidates are potential brand advocates for your company
An excellent candidate experience shows that you value job seekers as people and are interested in nurturing those relationships. It’s vital they feel valued, regardless of whether they get the job or not. Every interaction with your brand counts.
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