What is the Candidate Experience and why does it really matter?
The candidate experience follows the journey of a candidate before, during, and after their initial application. It encompasses their experience from the very first touchpoint, such as the original visit to your website or job board, to the point when they apply, and finally through to the processing of their application, interviewing and onboarding.
The candidate experience extends to the way in which candidates are treated and are made to feel by the hiring company. This may include how they are contacted during recruitment, how they are interviewed and kept informed during the process all the way to the final outcome. It is a crucial part of the hiring process that can contribute to increased trust between a candidate and employer, while building firm foundations for future working relationships.
A candidate’s experience can be positive or negative, and organizations can’t afford to get it wrong. In today’s social media led world, a positive or negative experience can be amplified by an individual’s online presence to the benefit or detriment of your organization. According to research, more than half of job seekers will not apply to a company after reading negative reviews about the employer. In contrast, the probability that a candidate will accept a job offer is increased by 38% if their experience was positive.
It’s essential that organizations invest the resources and take the time to understand what their candidates are looking for. In order to attract the best candidates, a company needs to strive for the very best candidate experience.
Top Benefits of a Positive Candidate Experience
Offering a great applicant experience can enhance your hiring outcomes in a number of ways. Here are some of the most impactful benefits of a positive candidate experience.
1. Boost your Brand and Employer Reputation
When you provide an outstanding candidate experience, job candidates talk - whether that be with friends or through online reviews. This creates favorable awareness of your business and employer brand, which may result in an increased number of employment applications and sales. Not only can your candidates benefit from a great experience, but this can also have a major influence on your business's overall performance and, ultimately, the bottom line.
2. Attract Top Talent more Quickly than your Rivals
When you consider that 60% of job seekers have abandoned an application due its length or complexity, offering a simplified and streamlined hiring process will give you a better shot at attracting top talent before your rivals - particularly in today’s fiercely competitive environment. This may include utilizing easy apply options or integrations on job boards, putting yourself in the candidates shoes and testing the proces, and ensuring your application forms are easy to navigate on mobile and desktop alike. Your application and onboarding process should act as an enabler, not an obstacle for sourcing the best talent.
3. Increased engagement
To have a real fighting chance of attracting the best candidates, your organization will need to ensure consistent engagement throughout the recruitment process to avoid alienation or losing applicants along the way. Considerations that can keep a candidate engaged may include responsiveness to any questions or queries. In addition, sending generic responses rather than personalizing emails, may come across in a negative light and could give the impression that your company doesn’t have the time or lacks care . You should aim to set expectations from the start to avoid drop off and to set yourself and the candidate up for success. Keeping the candidate in the loop throughout is an important yet often overlooked consideration. This may take the form of a follow up with a candidate after they have applied or checking in with them at regular intervals.
4. Productive and engaged employees
A positive candidate experience can help your organization convert top talent into employees. Candidates that have experienced a smooth and engaging process are more likely to become engaged employees. It is a well-known fact that candidates who are treated well during the hiring process are more likely to stay at their jobs and become more productive workers.
What can HR do to Improve the Candidate Experience?
There are many ways that HR teams can improve the candidate experience. Below are some best practices to make the recruitment process more engaging while helping to improve the job application process.
1. Make your company's careers page more personalized and engaging. This includes adding video content, infographics, and a career blog. Adding a section that highlights the company's culture helps candidates become more familiar with the organization and attracts those who value what is important to your company.
2. Make your hiring process easier by removing any unnecessary steps. This will help ensure valuable candidates remain engaged as well as saving time on hiring decisions in the long run.
3. Make sure that you are using technology to drive efficiency in the recruitment process. Examples may include using chatbots for application tracking or video interviewing software for top candidates who prefer to connect remotely.
4. Focus less on formal recruiting and more on informal recruitment. Explore utilizing social media, word of mouth, and referrals as part of your hiring strategy. Ensure the process is open to candidates with different skill levels.You should update the company's career site frequently so it's easy to find the types of roles available without having to sift through postings.
5. One of the last phases in the hiring process (and the start of onboarding) is background screening. Given the time and effort dedicated to finding, recruiting, and interviewing candidates, it is crucial to retain a positive applicant experience throughout the entire hiring process .The stage that is least understood by many job applicants is employment screening. In what may be an unfamiliar situation, it’s important you set expectations upfront and provide clear instructions. Here at Veremark, we strive to offer the very best candidate experience at this critical point. For example, we do this is by offering native mobile experiences for the candidates, as well as using SMS for consent, notifications and nudges - you can see this in action here.
How do you Measure the Quality of your Candidate's?
When it comes to measuring the quality of a candidate’s experience with your organization, there are many different metrics and factors that you can use. For example, soliciting feedback directly from the applicant at varying touch points along their journey. Another method is monitoring the time-to-hire, which fundamentally tracks the number of days it takes from a job opening to be posted to when a job offer is accepted. This can help your organization identify potential weak spots including candidate drop off or a cumbersome process.
Other considerations from an employer’s perspective include getting a sense of whether the candidate has a good understanding of the role and the responsibilities of the position. When it comes to interviews, the quality of an interview is not only based on how many questions were asked or if it was conversational in nature, but also how well you were able to answer the candidates' questions and whether the company benefits are conveyed effectively to the candidate.
Below are some metrics that can be used to evaluate an organization’s interview process to the benefit of the candidate:
- How clear is the explanation of the roles and responsibilities
- How effectively did you increase the candidate’s interest in working for the company
- Did you make the candidate feel that they are being considered for a position and not just interviewed
- Did you meet the expectations of the candidate in terms of what they are looking for when applying for your company
The smallest details in your hiring process may have a significant impact on creating a positive candidate experience. An amazing candidate experience and a favorable impression of your business are the result of going above and beyond an applicant's expectations at every level of the recruiting process. In today’s competitive hiring landscape, you can engage more job seekers, attract top talent and shorten time to hire by simply providing an excellent candidate experience.