By Nicole Martin
As both a staffing / recruiting specialist and a career coach, I have a bird’s eye view of the candidate experience – and boy is it enlightening. Some of the application stories I hear from my career transition clients are incredibly frustrating, but they do offer valuable learning experiences that I can share with my corporate clients. A bad candidate experience can devastate hiring initiatives. I’m able to use the insights I glean from my job seeking clients to improve recruiting processes, bolstering the chances of my corporate clients finding and bringing on board the ideal candidate they are seeking. If you want to gain a competitive advantage when it comes to hiring, this post is for you.
What Exactly Does the Candidate Experience Mean?
The candidate experience refers to how job searchers perceive a company’s hiring process – from the job description to the interview to the communications to the hiring to the onboarding. This is your opportunity to demonstrate why candidates should work at your company.
Why the Candidate Experience Matters
A positive candidate experience can attract and help you hire the right candidate. On the other hand, a poor experience (which can be the result of anything from a too complicated application to an overly long decision process to poor follow up communication) can keep you from landing the ideal person. A negative experience can also impact your brand’s reputation and cause a trickle effect. Candidates can share their frustrations with your hiring process online, not only scaring away other candidates from applying, but possibly also deterring customers to purchase from you again.
What Makes a Great Candidate Experience
Here are some tips to help you build a candidate experience that lets your brand shine.
Create a Robust Career Page
Think of this page as your elevator pitch. Make sure it highlights what makes your organization unique, what employees think about working there, and the benefits of being part of your team. Incorporate photos and videos to engage job searchers. Most importantly, make this page easy to navigate and find open positions. If you have a job search function, ensure it is not too complicated or confusing.
Write Clear and Enticing Job Descriptions
Your job description is in reality an advertisement, so treat it that way. Highlight all the important info that will resonate with the right candidate: how your company is different and what you can offer. Also fully explain the job responsibilities, required qualifications, preferred qualifications, and salary/benefits – and don’t forget to make the description legally compliant.
Streamline the Application Process
I understand you want to gather as much information as possible up front to help you screen out unqualified applications, but don’t make your application so complicated and convoluted that it prevents applicants from completing it. Keep it simple: ask for contact information, a resume, and maybe a cover letter.
Communicate with candidates during each step of the process. This includes sending confirmation of receipt of the application, scheduling the interview, providing information on what to expect during the interview, following up promptly after an interview, providing timely description of next steps, and offer/notification of moving in another direction.
Prepare for the Interview
Make sure the person conducting the interview is prepared and knows how to elicit the right information about a candidate’s abilities and potential culture fit, gives the candidate their full attention, and develops a relationship with them. You want to make sure the candidate thinks the interview was fair and not a waste of their time.
Maintain Connection with Non-Hires
Stay in touch with candidates you passed over, keeping them in mind for future positions.