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The One Simple Step You Can Take to Improve Candidate Experience

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Kurt Jones
on February 29, 2016

We spent most of 2015 learning the ins and outs of the candidate experience and how it can impact your organization. Volumes have been written on the subject, sharing stories of successful companies and how their hiring was improved thanks to focusing on the candidate experience. Some even received awards for their efforts. Other examples showcased nightmare stories that lead to declines in employer brand status and poor reviews on social outlets like Glassdoor and others, making it harder to recruit top candidates. These stories all highlighted different aspects of the recruiting process that affected, for better or worse, their own candidate experiences.

 So if you had to choose one thing, and one thing only, what would you change to improve your Candidate Experience? Purchase new technology? Provide sensitivity training to your Recruiting Team? Hire an outside agency to help with employer branding? I suggest none of the above.

 Remember that the Candidate Experience is based on one thing: the candidate. That candidate is a person, just like you, who has a certain level of expectation on how they will be treated throughout the job search process. The one thing that all people love is clear, consistent, and honest communication. So that one element you should change? Communicate more quickly and more efficiently with your candidates from start to finish.

 Research from TalentBoard, the organization behind the Candidate Experience Awards, shows that top organizations achieve this goal of clear communication in part by avoiding the “black hole” syndrome. That refers to candidates in your process who don’t receive acknowledgement, feedback, or answers to their questions. They fall into a black hole and have no idea if their resume was ever even received and, if it was, was it ever reviewed.

 The next point of communication to examine in your candidate experience is the candidate who you have identified as a potential fit who is then scheduled for phone screen and/or interview. After they speak with a member of your team, do they receive any input on how it went and if there will be any next steps? This is another major point in the process where many organizations fall into silence for the candidate. This is also where you run the risk of losing their attention and interest – which can mean a loss of a great employee.

 Here are some simple guidelines to follow to avoid lapses in your communication with candidates:

  • Acknowledge receipt of their resume: Your technology vendor (ATS) should have a simple trigger that alerts candidates that the resume was received. If yours doesn’t, find a new one.
  • Communicate feedback quickly: Once you have had a candidate speak to someone at your organization, either by phone or in person, make sure feedback is communicated quickly. Do it onsite if you can. If it has been 48 hours since a candidate interviewed and they still don’t know how they did or if there will be a next step, your process is too slow.
  • Provide honest answers and feedback: We are all professionals and not everyone gets every role they apply for. Make sure you are candid and professional in your feedback as to why the candidate did not get the job. If provided in a clear and professional way, the candidate can use the feedback as a way to improve their efforts when they interview for other opportunities. Don’t make them wait for it. This is another area your ATS partner can help with automated communications.
  • Share Good News Fast: If you love a candidate and they receive positive feedback from the hiring manager and others who interviewed him/her, make sure they are aware of the positive response. If you plan to make the candidate an offer, make sure that happens quickly. If it takes your organization more than a week to draft and approve an offer to go out, you can guarantee you will lose good potential prospects. Don’t let days go by without communicating with a strong candidate you are interested in.

With improved and consistent communication, your organization can dramatically improve its Candidate Experience and, hopefully, land more high quality new hires.

In order to be successful, you have to create the opportunities to deliver an exceptional candidate experience – which means you need to find and attract candidates for your organization! Download The PeopleFluent Guide to Finding Highly Qualified Candidates in No Time to learn how to proactively attract and delight the best candidates.  

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