On a scale of 1 to 10, how would you rate your company’s candidate experience? If you’re like most HR professionals, you want job seekers to have a fair and consistent encounter with your organization. After all, making applicants feel good about working for your company will make job seekers hold your organization in the highest esteem. These same candidates will be promoters of your organization rather than detractors. And who knows, they may also become a customer too.
A negative experience has an adverse effect. It can leave top talent feeling sour about your company and discourage them from applying in the future. According to LinkedIn, only 52% of HR professionals think their companies provide positive experiences. So, how can you make sure all candidates have an equal shot at a great experience? Read on to find out.
What is the candidate experience and why does it matter?
The candidate experience begins the moment a job seeker finds out about your open position. It includes all interactions they have with your company–shaping their perception of your brand.
The experience you provide is important because, in today’s candidate-driven workforce, job seekers possess more opportunities. In many cases, they aren’t willing to settle. If your company can’t give them what they want, they’ll easily find another organization that can.
Many top candidates, for example, are often fielding multiple offers of employment from different employers. The way your company interacts with them will determine if these candidates see your hiring process through to the end and accept your offer of employment.
So, if you can provide a better experience than your competition, you’ll tip the scales in your favor in the eyes of job seekers.
How to ensure all candidates have a positive experience during the hiring process
A positive candidate experience puts job seekers at ease. It proves to them that your organization values its employees enough to put the right systems and processes in place. It also gives job seekers a glimpse of what it’s like to work for your company.
But your process can’t be hit or miss, where some candidates have a positive experience and others don’t. To ensure fairness, your business needs to deliver the same experience to every candidate.
Here are a few tips to include in your hiring process to ensure all candidates have a positive experience.
1. Deliver a consistent experience throughout your organization.
Train everyone in your organization involved in the candidate journey on what constitutes a quality candidate experience. Include everything from how they should communicate about roles to the process for candidate follow-up after interviews are complete.
2. Be clear about why you’re asking for candidate information.
Don’t ask candidates to provide unnecessary information–whether it's salary history or their family status. Ask for only the information you need and make sure the candidate understands why you need it.
3. Provide feedback.
Job seekers value constructive and personalized feedback. A recent study revealed that 52% of applicants who received feedback were more likely to increase their relationship with the company. The better the quality of feedback, the higher that percentage goes.
4. Provide candidate progress visibility.
This may seem basic, but it’s a practice that’s often overlooked. Candidates want to know where they are in the process and when they can expect to hear back from you. Even if you can’t provide definite information on when you’ll contact them again, make it a point to have someone in your organization follow up.
5. Reject candidates the right way.
Only 7% of candidates receive rejection via telephone and 63% receive automated emails. Let candidates down gently, taking into account the time they invested to go through the process. Call them on the phone and provide detailed feedback to ensure they understand why they weren’t chosen.
Common mistakes companies make with their candidate experience
Your candidate experience should inform candidates about the job and prepare them to do it. It should provide job seekers with sufficient information about your company and show them what to expect when working there.
If candidates are inadequately prepared, it can result in an unproductive recruitment process. Here are some other mistakes companies often make:
- Not listening to candidates' feedback. You can gain a lot of insight by asking candidates for their feedback on your process. Don’t just wait until the end. Check-in with them as they go through different stages and collect the data.
- Not documenting feedback from each interview. Sometimes, candidates go through the whole process–receiving zero feedback along the way. When this happens, it shows job seekers that your organization doesn’t value the experience they have with your company.
- Asking repeated questions. Don’t repeat questions that have already been covered in other interviews. This will either annoy the candidate or they’ll just get really good at answering that question.
- Not investing in candidate relationship management tools to create candidate experiences that attract the best talent for your company. If you fail to build a positive relationship with candidates, they’ll lose interest in your organization and move on to another. Applicant Tracking System (ATS) tools are much more than just candidate trackers: they help you strengthen candidate relationships throughout the candidate journey and beyond.
- Not investing in candidate experience research and iterative design to ensure candidate experiences meet expectations. Many companies invest time in hiring managers to create candidate experiences, only to find out later that it didn’t work. Candidate experience research can help identify candidate expectations so you know how to design an experience to match them.
- Not putting the candidate experience first. The candidate experience is an opportunity to show how much your company values its employees. When you get it right, candidates see the real picture. They can see where they fit into your organization and they can imagine themselves working for your company.
Track and measure the success of your candidate experience efforts
It might seem like an arduous task to ensure that every candidate's experience is positive—but there are a few ways to keep your candidate experience consistent across different stages of your talent acquisition process.
Some tips for tracking and measuring the success of candidate experiences in the hiring process include:
- Employing hard data.
- Reviewing candidate feedback frequently.
- Creating accountability across teams.
To ensure the candidate experience is positive regardless of who's involved, we created this checklist. Download it now and get started on hiring the best talent for your business.