What is candidate experience and why should you care? Very simply, it refers to how job applicants feel about your company after experiencing your hiring processes. A great hiring experience will increase the likelihood of the candidate viewing your company favourably, whilst a bad hiring process… well, not so much.
Clearly it’s preferable to be viewed favourably, but what are the tangible benefits? Candidates are far more likely to accept an eventual job offer if the process is smooth – we all want to work for a company that values us from the first point-of-contact, right? They’ll have a better perception of your brand and may even share their positive experiences with others, improving your business’ reputation in the marketplace.
What about a bad hiring experience? It’s easy to ignore the implications of rejecting candidates as you’ll probably never see them again. This IS a big mistake – these candidates will lose respect for you as a business, as an employer and more importantly, as a brand. It’s therefore essential to ensure a candidate who doesn’t make it through to employment is still treated fairly and with respect.
Here are five tips to improve your company’s candidate experience and hiring processes.
Tip #1 – Convince the candidate to become an employee
This one just makes sense. Treat anyone applying for a position at your company as if they were already working with you, or even as one of your customers. Provide timely feedback and updates on the hiring process. If a candidate is not successful, that’s ok! It’s far more rewarding to provide meaningful feedback so they can learn and improve – remember, they’ve invested in your company by putting time into applying for the role and showing up for interviews. Types of feedback? Tell them the real reason they didn’t make it to the next stage, maybe their resume wasn’t up to standard or their interview style wasn’t a match. They’ll thank you and stay ‘warm’ towards your company – who knows? – maybe they’ll try again one day with the full package to match. Sell your company as a great place to work! That starts by valuing candidates as much as your customers.
Tip #2 – Customise for different candidate types
Tailor your processes to best meet the needs and expectations for candidates of varying role types. A company usually requires a range of staffing profiles to fulfill their labour requirements – whether it be contractors who do project-based work, casual staff who work based on shifts, part-timers who have other commitments or freelancers who demand freedom to work how they do best. Each of these candidates have different motivators and expectations. For example, requiring a global freelancer to do three face-to-face interviews might not be a fantastic experience. However, a full-time applicant would likely be far more receptive. Understand how each job role successfully attracts their ideal candidate and focus on providing that experience holistically throughout the hiring process.
Tip #3 – Align the process with your strategy
This should be a given. Your company-wide strategy should be truly that, covering every touch point in your business – including people, operations and management. How would you convey your company’s strategy in the recruitment process? If you’re obsessed with customer-service (as you should be!) show that to your candidates. Create an experience that leaves them feeling valued and ‘in-the-loop’ at all times. As great as a keen candidate is, they shouldn’t have to be calling you to know where the process is at. Communicate your company culture as much as possible throughout the process – love a good social? Why not let the candidates come along and join the fun!
Tip #4 – Embrace technology
Technology is amazing. Use it. End-to-end onboarding and recruitment software, such as MyRecruitment+, is a modern way to manage the process of hiring successful candidates. Do we really want applicants printing, signing and providing information manually? This software allows candidates full transparency and immediate delivery of all required information. They can view their schedule, receive feedback and hopefully, their employment contract (along with other relevant documents) all via their mobile phone or laptop. Not to mention how much simpler it is for HR – all the candidate information is online, in the one place.
The necessary steps and communications can be automated so that everything is ready to go during the interviewing process, as well as the starting period. No more waiting for IT or management approvals that take longer than they absolutely need to.
Tip #5 – Personalise as much as you can
So you know the candidate’s name… you also have their resume and, if you’ve interviewed them already, you know a little bit about them as a person too. Anyone making contact with the candidate could have access to basic notes, or at the very least, exactly where they’re at in the process and what they can expect next. They’ll feel special, they’ll feel that you actually see them as a real person! I recently had a client tell me that they use MyRecruitment+ software to automatically get name-customised glass mugs ordered and ready to go for their new starters’ first day – how cool & unique!
It’s beyond clear that the candidate experience is highly complementary to the success of your organisation. Cutting out negative experiences is not only extremely desirable, it’s really not that difficult to do. Communicate and treat candidates with respect. Embrace modern recruiting & onboarding automation software at a minimum. Implementing company-wide strategy and values into the hiring process will align talent acquisition with your company goals, attracting applicants that are more likely to match what you’re looking for. Customising your processes for different role types and varying individuals are two further ways to go above and beyond. I want to leave you with one message… If you want exceptional candidates, create an exceptional candidate experience.
Until next time, take care.