Ask anyone who’s tried to hire recently and they’ll tell you it’s a tough market right now. There are more jobs than people looking with both the Australian and US job markets showing steady growth over 2019, a trend that is expected to continue into 2020. So how can businesses make sure that they’re at the top of every candidate’s wish list?

Start by focusing on the candidate experience! 

Why the candidate experience is important 

When it comes to wooing your candidate, first impressions count. According to time-tracking software Toggl’s research, 62% of candidates believe their experience while interviewing reflects what their experience will be like as an employee. Furthermore, 46% of those surveyed believed that employers treat candidates with the same respect and accountability as employees. So if you forget to send vital information, change meeting dates constantly or waste the candidate’s time, it is going to reflect poorly on your company as a whole. 

The best way to make a good first impression is to remember interviewing is a two-way processAccording to LinkedIn, a candidate’s experience can change their mind about a company for better or worse. Not only is it good manners to give your candidate a great experience, it is good business. Don't forget, a candidate can also be a customer. Also, a negative candidate experience can have a painful ripple effect. Approximately 42% of candidates said they wouldn’t reapply after a bad experience and 72% said they would share their bad experience on sites like glassdoor.com. This will hurt your talent acquisition process as the average person looks at six reviews before making a decision about whether or not to apply for a role. 

Creating the best candidate experience 

Creating a wonderful candidate experience in a world where we are all pressed for time can be tricky. In an ideal world, every individual would get a personalised experience when applying for a job. However, the reality is that prospective employers only spend on average just 7.4 seconds on a resume before making a decision on whether or not to offer an interview. On top of this, 75% of candidates don’t receive any response at all after submitting their resume. This illustrates a huge problem. Candidates are either not given a fair chance or are ignored, or both! That means great talent might be slipping through the cracks. The same talent will also be left with a negative impression of your company, something that may prevent them applying again in the future or even buying from your company again. Given that changing jobs more frequently is the new norm, this is not an ideal scenario for recruiters. 

The good news is there are easy strategies you can implement to help your company deliver the best candidate experience.

Curious to learn how? Read our tips below. 

Streamline your process

Did you know that 65% of candidates will be put off by a lengthy recruitment process? Avoid this by ensuring your process is streamlined and super friendly before you start hiring. 

How to do this? 

  • Ensure your initial application is not asking too many questions (or worse - asking for the same information over and over again). 
  • Create a structure (or semi-structure) for your interviews so they are smoothly conducted. 
  • If a skills-based test is required, keep the right information on hand. 
  • Give your hiring committee a checklist so everyone knows what they are looking for. 

Overall, your interview process should give the candidate a chance to meet a cross section of the people they’ll be working with, help them understand their day-to-day role and introduce them to life at your company. 

To begin streamlining your candidate experience, have a team member undergo a mock interview process and provide feedback. Ask them to look out for anything that was too burdensome and flag any components that they felt didn’t add value. This will help you start making your process more efficient. 

Use timely communication

Communication is key. The number one contributor to a poor candidate experience is lack of communication. Try to communicate as quickly, transparently and personally as possible. 

As soon as you receive a resume send a reply email (either using an automated email or copy/paste) to explain when candidates can expect to hear back from you about their outcome. Stick to the timeframe you outline and if there are delays for any reason, make sure you communicate them. 

If candidates make it to the interview rounds, make sure you clearly outline the next steps and set timeframes. If you can’t stick to a timeframe because someone is sick or an unexpected project comes up, communicate those changes to candidates the whole way through. 

It is also really important to prepare candidates properly for each stage of their interviews. It’s a great experience when candidates know who they’re meeting and what the interview is about (if there is a particular theme or purpose to the interview) so that they can properly prepare and feel like there aren’t any surprises. 

It’s also important that you make your communication as personal as possible. If you’re using an applicant tracking system (ATS) then test your automated emails to make sure they look like they come from you (rather than automated.email@). This will go a long way to developing trust with candidates. 

Invest in technology where appropriate

If you’re recruiting steadily, it might make sense to invest in technology to help you offer a better candidate experience. An ATS will help you keep track of applicants and allow your hiring team to quickly and easily review resumes and share feedback. This will speed the process up and make it easier to keep candidates in the loop. 

There are also tools that help you get more information about potential candidates at scale (Curious Thing is one such tool). If you’re dealing with large recruitment processes that require an emphasis on soft skills, investigate what solutions technology can provide. For example, when hiring graduates who all have the same qualifications, recruiters are required to go beyond resumes to make choices. Technology like Curious Thing can help you make those decisions at scale. 

Provide constructive feedback

If a candidate has been good enough to invest in an on-site interview, you should also invest in giving them constructive feedback. Candidates who receive constructive feedback are more likely to apply for a role again. Providing feedback also mitigates the risk of a candidate having a negative experience. It also gives you an opportunity to show that the company saw their strengths and offer them areas to work on to help them be more successful next time around.

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