In today’s competitive job market, ensuring great candidate experience is a key requirement to attract and select high potential talent. It has far-reaching implications on your brand as an employer and can influence whether candidates accept your job offer, recommend your organization to friends and family, re-apply to the organization and become a customer in the future. A study by IBM Analytics, indicated that applicants who have a good candidate experience are more than two times more likely to recommend the organization to others, and become a customer of the hiring organization.
How do we ensure great candidate experience? Candidate experience often begins before the candidate has even applied to the organization. Talent Board’s 2018 candidate experience report indicated that as many as 43% of candidates reported having some sort of past relationship with the employer. A transparent and clear brand messaging can help businesses attract high quality talent and alleviate some of the challenges that sourcing can create. Improve your employer brand by setting expectations early, improving communication and treating candidates well.
- Set expectations early: The most effective way to augment your brand as an employer is by setting expectations early. Provide candidates with information on the testing process upfront. Manage expectations about the application length and the interview process by providing complete and accurate information at each stage about who to contact with any questions, the steps and timeline of the process and how candidates will be notified of their progression. A recent trend in the field of selection is the increasing use of video job descriptions as methods to provide a realistic job experience. The Talent Board reported 60% of employers as considering video job descriptions for 2019.
- Improve communication: Candidates want to be kept well informed during the recruiting process. The Human Capital Institute reported one of the most common reasons for negative candidate experience as being experience unresponsiveness. About 75% of applicants never hear back from employers after applying for a job and around 60% never hear back from employers after an interview. Ensure that candidates are provided with the opportunity to ask questions and get help at each stage of the process. Top organizations are using chat boxes to help candidates get help during the process. Hiring organizations should use multiple channels to connect with candidates and keep them updated. The Talent Board reported mobile applications being at an all-time high at 93% and noted that 48% of Talent Acquisition teams reported leveraging texting to interact with candidates. Another study by IBM found the convenience of mobile recruiting is especially attractive to high-potential employees, which includes using a mobile device to search for jobs and to receive job related information via text message.
- Treat all candidates with respect: Respect candidates by valuing their time, and effort and providing them with opportunities to voice their feedback about the process. Applicant time being disrespected, was one of the most commonly attributed reasons for extremely negative candidate experiences. Not being prepared or engaged in the interview and showing up late were some common examples. Pre-interview preparation can have lasting impacts on applicant perception. Along with ensuring courtesy, it is also important to ensure that the selection tools themselves are job-related and not overly tedious. Candidates need to perceive they have had a fair chance to compete for the job. With career websites such as Glassdoor and Indeed, that enable candidates to publish their experience online, the best way to protect your employer brand is by providing candidates with the opportunity to offer feedback on their experience.
Creating a blueprint for positive candidate experience. A candidate’s decision to continue with the recruitment process, to exit the recruitment process, or even alter relationships with a customer or investor depends on their experience with the organization. Further, their experience with the organization is formed by the various exchanges throughout the recruitment process. A research study by Miles and McCamey (2018)1 describes a plan to successfully manage the candidate’s perceptions of the organization during each exchange. Primarily, they believe accountability for candidate relationship should be assigned to an individual. The events and outcomes of candidates, hired or not hired, should be recorded to further investigate reasons for positive and negative candidate experience.
Candidate experience cannot be overlooked anymore, at every stage of the recruitment process, and up until the exit or onboarding, objectives to improve employer branding should continue.
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1 Miles, S. J., & McCamey, R. (2018). The candidate experience: Is it damaging your employer brand?. Business Horizons, 61(5), 755-764.