According to the Talent Board, 70 percent of companies rated candidate experience as either very or critically important to the performance of their talent acquisition program. Although you don’t have control over every aspect of a candidate’s experience, there are plenty of areas you can control. Here are five elements of the process that you own, and what you should be doing to improve the candidate experience.
Simplify your application process
A good portion of the prospects you court are digital natives, raised in an “always-on/instant gratification” world. That’s the type of experience they expect - a simplified, streamlined digital interface with information exchange that’s fast and easy. Don’t have a time-consuming application that requires extraneous information, yet fails to provide a way for applicants to highlight what they feel are their most relevant, and valuable, assets to the position. Also, make sure your website is optimized so they can apply from their smartphones, LinkedIn, Dropbox or Google Drive.
A prospect’s communication expectations begin the moment they hit the submit button on an application. Your first response should be more than “Thanks for applying!” Be creative and clear in acknowledging the application, and include what the next steps are in the process. Then stick to the process and timelines you’ve outlined. According to an article in Inc. Magazine, nine out of ten employers never make contact beyond the generic acknowledgement of receipt. Simply taking this one additional step puts you in the top ten percent of employers when it comes to response communication.
An advanced applicant tracking system allows you to create an automated and personalized candidate communication experience from beginning to end, ensuring you have consistent contact throughout the recruiting process. Remember, every candidate could also become a customer, so treat them as one.
Interview quickly and efficiently
The most important step in the recruiting process is the interview, for both for you and the candidate. Yet, many companies fail to adequately train department managers, recruiters, and hiring managers on conducting a proper interview. It’s usually the candidate’s first contact with a real person in your organization, and they can quickly be turned-off by a poorly executed interview. Train your interviewer - outlining clear expectations, etiquette, and roles. Create a positive first impression and most importantly, ensure you get the information you need from the interview to make an informed hiring decision.
Develop a fast, efficient approval process
Don’t expect candidates to wait around while you conduct a long and laborious vetting process towards a hiring decision. Every moment you delay increases the odds of a competitor snatching the ideal candidate out from under you. In addition to a streamlined process, consider giving a verbal offer before the written offer goes out, to help accelerate the final stage. This also gives the hiring manager an opportunity to contact the candidate directly and answer any questions they have.
There is one sure way to find out what your job candidates think of your hiring process: ask them. According to the Talent Board, over 60 percent of applicants were never asked to provide feedback on their screening or interview experience. Whether you have a formal feedback loop or simply contact candidates informally at the completion of the process, learn about your candidate experience from the source.
Differentiate yourself from the competition. For more information download our free eBook Candidate Experience: Prepare to Communicate with Your Prospect