How to give a good candidate experience in recruitment?

Vaisagh Viswanathan

September 6, 2019

In this competitive business environment, candidate experience has become more important than ever. The prevalent talent shortage in the industry has changed the power dynamics between a candidate and an organisation. Candidates have turned into consumers and expect similar treatment. They expect a certain level of engagement at different stages of the hiring process. Infact, several candidates base their decisions of joining the firm based on this experience.

  • What is candidate experience?

    In simple terms, it is the overall impression that a candidate makes during the hiring process. It is the collective result of all the interactions and communications from the firm’s side during this period. It starts at the point when a candidate applies on the company’s website and ends when he receives the result. If the candidate gets selected, it extends to the onboarding as well. It includes all sorts of communications and comprises both, technology-driven as well as human interactions.

  • Why is candidate experience important?

    Things were a lot different before social media became such an important part of our lives. Earlier, if a candidate had an unsatisfactory experience, the risks were nominal. The candidate was most likely to decide against joining the firm or would not apply in the future. He would perhaps talk about this experience to his friends and colleagues.

    We are living in a different time where people are more vocal about their experiences on social media. There are employer review sites where people can share their opinions and reach a much larger audience. We live in a time where people prefer to read reviews before they buy a product or visit a restaurant. Similar behaviour can be noticed among the job-seekers who prefer to read reviews about a company’s culture and values before applying.

    Moreover, this is a time where every talent figure matters. As per Korn Ferry, the talent shortage is acute and will only widen in the future.  As per a Linkedin survey, 89%  of candidates say they are more likely to accept an offer if they are contacted by the recruiter. 

    Click here to read a detailed CandE benchmark research report in North America.

  • 7 steps to improve the candidate experience.

    1. Hire for a real need

    Recruiters and hiring managers are likely to take the candidate lightly if they are simply scanning the market or benchmarking their roles and salaries. A hiring strategy based on filling an actual gap is more likely to garner positive actions and reactions from both the parties. The thumb rule is to perform a gap analysis before posting the job. Analyse the skills that are required to perform the job satisfactorily. It will be easier for the candidates to understand the job duties and ask relevant questions.

    2. Invest in pre-application engagement 

    Starting early and engaging with the candidates even before they apply can be a key differentiator. Several companies are investing in chatbots for this purpose. These chatbots are AI-driven and can handle general employment queries from the candidates. Furthermore, they are smart and learn to simulate a more human-like response. They can also free up your recruitment team for other tasks like developing metrics and holding interviews.

    3. Write simple yet detailed job description 

    It may be the time to revisit your JDs if you haven’t done so in a long time. It is a good practice to use a simple and easy-to-read language while formulating it. Instead of having an endless list of duties and responsibilities, it is advisable to include only the most relevant ones. For example, candidates must know if they are expected to perform managerial duties.

    4. Make job application easy 

    Avoid using a complex or lengthy application system. The candidates are likely to leave their applications midway or give incomplete information in such scenarios. Allow them to apply through LinkedIn or parse their resumes. It will make the entire process much faster and you are likely to receive more responses for a job opening. Secondly, make it easier to find your careers page. You can make the tab more visible on your company’s site. An ‘apply from phone’ feature can further simplify the application process.

    5. Respect the candidate’s time 

    This is perhaps the most rewarding step that you can take. It is particularly important if you have seen significant candidate drop-outs in the past. Start the interview at the time that was communicated to the candidate. It is suggested to send calendar invites to avoid any misunderstandings. If you are expecting a delay, let the candidate know in advance. During the interview, give him your full attention so that he feels valued.

    6. Immediate and constant follow-up 

    It is advisable to make reasonable guidelines for your responses. This will ensure a uniform and consistent response across the organisation. It is also advisable to share feedback or an interview invite as soon as possible. Let the candidate know if the interview led to positive results. The candidate will feel respected and is more likely to apply again in the future. Keep them updated about their application status during the process. Silence from your end leads to disengagement and they may lose their interest in pursuing the roles.

    7. Give them a smooth onboarding 

    This is the last leg of the candidate experience that can strengthen their bond with the employer. Communicate all the necessary details about the joining well in advance. Let them know what they can expect on their first day. Schedule the early days in a comfortable manner. This can drastically improve retention in your organisation. Furthermore, the candidates are likely to refer their friends for suitable openings.

    Apart from this, it is equally important to track the candidate experience. You can do this by taking candidate feedback at different stages of the hiring process. Enhancing the candidate experience with a few simple steps can drastically improve your hiring statistics. Word travels fast in the market and your organisation will earn a good reputation. You can steer ahead in this talent war as more candidates will flock to apply for your job openings.

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