When companies think about ‘experience’ the first thing that comes to mind is ‘customer experience’. Every organisation wants its customers to come away with a favourable impression of the goods, services, and interactions associated with that business. It’s business 101: happy customers equal better returns (and more referrals!) . What we often forget is that experience also applies to the people within the business i.e. the candidates and employees.
A whopping 82% of employers don’t think a negative candidate experience has any impact on the company. Why is it so easy to brush aside candidate and employee experience? Perhaps it’s because the return on this investment is not so immediately apparent. However, Ideal reports that Virgin Media found they were “losing $6 million annually in potential sales revenue due to a poor candidate experience.” Imagine opening up that revenue stream for your business!
These early interactions are extremely important and lay the foundation of the working relationship and wider brand perception. These experiences, (negative or positive) have a real effect on your company’s bottom line and are not to be discounted.
What is ‘candidate experience?’
Candidate experience starts when the potential applicant becomes aware of your business and continues all the way through the hiring, background screening and onboarding process.
The main complaints of candidates are that applications are long and clunky, recruiters are slow to respond or do not respond at all, background checks are manual and take forever to come back and onboarding is ad-hoc and sporadic. The same article from Ideal found that two-thirds of surveyed candidates rated their experience as less than “very good.”
How does candidate experience affect your organisation?
A negative candidate experience isn’t just bad for the people applying, it’s bad for business. In addition to the evidence from Virgin Mobile, a Lever survey found that a negative candidate experience will affect how those people feel about a business in the future, discourage those candidates from applying again, and motivate them to leave a negative Glassdoor review. Not to mention the fact that people talk - they tell each other about the poor experience they had with your brand...
This negative fallout will harm your employer brand and make it harder to win candidates in the future. This may lead to higher sourcing costs and lower volumes of qualified candidates.
What is the ideal candidate experience?
So many people have a poor candidate experience. You probably have one or two memories of potential employers ghosting you after an interview or failing to onboard you properly. So let’s remember what the candidate experience should look like.
The main factor is communication. Candidates want to know the status of their application (even if it’s rejected) and receive prompt answers to questions. Some specifics to consider implementing in your hiring process are mobile-capable applications, ‘easy apply’ with a LinkedIn profile, application confirmation email, a chatbot to automate your FAQ, and rejection notifications that offer the candidate to opt into a talent pool to learn about future opportunities with the company. If you want to dive into these strategies see our article ‘4 Tips to Create an Outstanding Candidate Experience,’ here!
Then, there’s the actual offer and hiring process. This, too, can be streamlined. Enable candidates to sign offers digitally, automate your employment background checks in a way that streamlines the process for both you and your candidate and enables them to complete the background screening process and the checks you requested on the device of their choice etc.
Measuring candidate and employee experience
You may agree that of course, you want all your candidates and employees to have this ideal experience, but how do you determine your company baseline and whether your strategies are working?
To begin you’ll want to establish some KPIs (key performance indicators) so you can measure your performance and optimize your strategies. Here are ideas for your organisation…
- Application conversion rate: The per cent of candidates who finish your application. See if there is a large area of large drop-off.
- Talent pool Opt-in: What percentage of rejected candidates opt for future job updates?
- Employment period: How long do employees stay with the company?
- Surveys: You can survey candidates and employees to see how they feel about the process. Remember, to keep it short.
The importance of candidate and employee experience is only underlined by the major changes caused by COVID-19 in the last year, namely a remote-first hiring/work environment and tightened resources. You want the biggest return on your hiring investment - that means hiring quickly and keeping those employees. At the end of the day, this can give an organisation a competitive edge through these trying times and do wonders for your employer brand.