Here’s how to ensure the candidate experience you’re offering leads job seekers to choose your organization.
Attracting the best talent available is key to running a successful business. Every hire is critical to operations, no matter how entry-level or highly skilled. Successful recruitment is the net result of candidate experience. The more engaged the job seeker is throughout the hiring process, the more likely they are to accept your offer. The best hires convert to long-term employees, and that longevity begins with a stellar candidate experience.
Under the best market conditions, a good recruitment experience helps boost hiring metrics. Under today’s hiring conditions, and those predicted for the near future, a great recruitment experience is required. There were over 4-and-a-half million more available jobs in the United States than unemployed workers in December of 2021. Talent has a lot of options: great candidate experience leads them to opt for your organization.
Why candidate experience matters
Just as employers gauge the value of potential hires through the recruitment process, so do candidates assess the value of your business. When job seekers feel they’re valued and treated fairly, they’re more apt to join the team. If they feel they’ve been treated poorly, they’re happy to move on to another company.
One study found 67% of job seekers report having at least one negative experience in the hiring process in past the year. When an offer comes, 58% will decline if they’ve had a poor experience with an employer. That’s more than half of potential new hires lost simply because they don’t believe they were treated fairly through the process. Alternately, 80% of job seekers who had a good candidate experience report accepting the offer.
One study found 67% of job seekers report having at least one negative experience in the hiring process in past the year. When an offer comes, 58% will decline if they’ve had a poor experience with an employer.
The experience of a job seeker can go beyond the hiring process. The same study found 37% of candidates report they left a negative review about the company online due to a bad experience: 61% left a positive review after a good experience. Those reviews can make or break future recruitment. Glassdoor reports 86% of job seekers research company reviews to decide where to apply: 50% wouldn’t work for a company with a bad reputation, even for a pay increase. Your online reputation may be attracting or repelling candidates before they even apply.
Candidate experience touchpoints
Candidate experience begins long before you pick up the phone to schedule an interview. There are many touchpoints along the way that can accelerate the process or shut it down. To make sure your company puts its best foot forward, review these from a job seeker’s point of view.
Your website should represent your company in the best possible light. An outdated website is worse than no website at all. Make sure yours is current and puts forward your commitment to employees, customers, and community. Highlight your efforts to promote a diverse and welcoming organization, your corporate social responsibility, and the value you place on every worker and stakeholder in your organization.
Career pages and job postings
Your career pages should read like an invitation to join the team, not a laundry list of “you must haves.” Job postings should be inclusive and encourage candidates to apply. Then the process should be seamless — a quick link to upload a resume or a short application to complete and they’re ready to take your call. Make sure you’re optimized for mobile searches and applications, as well. A majority of job seekers look for work and apply with a smartphone.
Applicant Tracking (ATS) and scheduling
If you use an ATS system to screen candidates, it should immediately link to scheduling an interview if they make it through the system. The faster you can get a candidate on the schedule, the better the experience and the more likely you’ll be affecting a hire.
Once you’ve selected a job seeker, communication is key. Contact them immediately to schedule a first interview (if you’re not using scheduling apps) or connect immediately with pre-interview questions. The sooner you make a connection the better.
Communicate openly with the candidate. Let them know what the process will entail:
- One interview or several
- Your projected timeline
- When they can expect a hiring decision to be made
Keep the lines of communication open throughout the process to provide updates and encouragement. The connection you make during the process could mean offer acceptance at the end.
LinkedIn found almost half of job seekers respond positively to getting information about the interview ahead of time. Candidates want to do well, so provide them with tools to do so. Let them know who they’ll be meeting with and what they’ll discuss. A best practice is to provide a copy of a current job description so they can ask smart questions and discuss where their background meets your needs. If there will be multiple interviews, let them know with whom and when. The more information you can provide, the more you set them on the road to success.
What’s your biggest 2022 HR challenge that you’d like to resolve
Answer to see the results
You’ve invested time and resources to find qualified candidates, make sure they know how excited you are to meet with them. Start with small welcoming gestures — like a reminder call the day before they’re scheduled to interview to let them know you’re eager to meet. Throughout the process keep that energy level high: your enthusiasm not only shows your interest, it can help alleviate some of their “interview jitters.” When it’s time to make an offer, the effort you’ve made along the way should pay off.
What do candidates want?
The longer applicants wait to have their resume acknowledged or to be scheduled, the less interested they’ll become in your vacancy.
A survey by Talentegy asked job seekers what they value most during the application and hiring process. Almost 95% said they wanted to understand how to follow up on their application. This is a common pain point for business. The longer applicants wait to have their resume acknowledged or to be scheduled, the less interested they’ll become in your vacancy. If you’re not using an automated system to screen and immediately schedule candidates, check your inbox frequently to let applicants know if they’ll be moving forward in the process and when you’d like to meet.
Beyond the hire
A great candidate experience typically results in a new hire, but not every great candidate gets an offer. For those applicants who were nearly selected, keep the lines of communication open for jobs that become available in the future. LinkedIn found 52% of job seekers who were given feedback were more likely to continue a relationship with the company. Providing information on what went well during the process, and where they can improve, helps job seekers prepare for the next interview— possibly with your company. You may find a bit of coaching today leads to a great hire in the future.
If you want to assure you’re providing the best possible candidate experience, take your application process for a test drive. Examine every step along the way to see whether your organization is responsive, communicative, and welcoming. Make sure your hiring process translates you value applicants and want them on your team. You’ll find the better candidate experience you provide, the better your hiring metrics will become.