The majority of employers still don’t understand that a poor candidate experience has a real business impact.. for the negative. These companies need to open their eyes. Harvard Business Review found that a poor employer reputation costs 10 per cent more in salary per hire. When you think about it that way, candidate experience—i.e. the impression candidates have of your company after the application process—is extremely important, essential even, to your organisational success.
Poor candidate experience is more prevalent than you think. Ideal found that “only 32% of candidates rate their most recent job search experience as ‘very good.’” The good news is that the solutions are simple, and mainly include leveraging tech that you already have to create more efficient processes.
Here are the tips that experts swear by to create a positive candidate experience. (Hiring managers will thank you as well!)
1. Clear Expectations:
Set clear expectations from the start. When candidates know what the process will look like it reduces stress and anxiety. Not to mention they will be more prepared for conversations with hiring managers which will help with selection. Once the application and interview process is complete, keeping shortlisted candidates in the loop with next steps (like employment background checks etc.) helps your candidates prepare and move through the hiring process faster.
Here’s an example of creating clear expectations: Before an interview, notify the candidate who will be conducting the meeting including their role at the company. You can also share the purpose of the interview (is it a skills test or more of an information session?) so the candidate can better prepare. Finally, make sure the timeline is clear as to when they can expect to hear back from your team regarding the next steps.
2. Consistent Communication: Slow communication or lack of communication is probably the number one candidate complaint. Candidates find it frustrating and disrespectful to be ghosted after they invest so much time and mental/emotional energy into the application process. And it’s not just ghosting, it’s setting candidates up for success by being clear about next steps and how they can best prepare for the next phase of the process.
Of course, there are only so many hours in the day—and in today’s economic climate applicant volumes are skyrocketing—so how can you give everyone the personal touch. Some simple solutions include implementing a chatbot on your career site to answer questions and even provide screener questions and send confirmation/rejections emails with an offer to op-into receiving notifications about future jobs. Or automating your employment background screening - for a faster and more secure process that the candidate can complete on any device at their leisure.
3. Congruous Employer Brand: When candidates have a good idea of what the company stands for from the beginning, they won’t have disappointments or confusion down the line. Make sure your job ads, career site, and interviewers are all speaking the same language and communicating like-information.
This is advice your parents may have given you in high school, but honesty is the best policy. Be yourself! If the company is formal with traditional hierarchies and rigid processes, let candidates know. Don’t pretend to be laid back with flat hierarchies and ‘ask for forgiveness not permission’ mentality just to attract more applicants. You will only end up disappointing both sides and wasting time.
4. Regular Feedback: Don’t get complacent, there’s always room for improvement. Continue to review your process with key stakeholders including hiring managers and applicants (accepted and rejected). You may be surprised about what works and what doesn’t, they may even have some solutions.
One method for collecting feedback would be regular surveys. This could be embedded in confirmation or rejection emails. Remember to keep the survey short and to the point. You can update the questions based on what you notice in your own data. Perhaps there’s a big drop off point somewhere in your process, that could be something you want to inquire about.
Candidate experience has been brushed aside for too long, but at the end of the day many of these candidates are actual or potential customers and you want them on your side. The costs of a poor candidate are clear: overpaying wages, employee turnover, and low candidate conversion. It’s time to take stock of your processes and build an employer brand that reflects how you value your employees.