What is candidate experience? This recruitment term has gained popularity in HR trends, and for good reason. Candidate experience reflects how a candidate may perceive and feel about the entire hiring process. Every interaction with your company matters - from job search and job application to interviewing and onboarding.
In this interconnected world, there's no hiding from a bad candidate experience. Dissatisfied candidates will speak louder than happy ones. They will complain to their families, friends and, most likely, to the internet in the form of social media venting or negative reviews on websites like Glassdoor or Indeed.
Providing an outstanding candidate experience is more than just caring for people's feelings. Whether you hire a candidate or not, you still want that person to remain a loyal customer and supporter of your brand. Aim for an excellent candidate experience to ensure that you:
- Improve your employer brand and raise brand awareness;
- Attract more applicants and compete for top talent;
- Get more referrals, both from employees and past candidates;
- Increase employee retention by offering memorable onboarding experiences.
So how do you turn job seekers into fans of your business? Here are five ways your company can improve the candidate experience:
Set clear expectations within the application process
Neither you nor your candidates want to waste time and resources on a lengthy recruitment process if they're not a good fit for your team. So why not clearly express your requirements and expectations from the very beginning? If you’re smart about your hiring process, unsuitable candidates won’t even end up on the shortlist.
Relocation, frequent travelling, a lack of remote options, unrealistic salary expectations can all be deal breakers, so you should inform all your applicants of these essential details before moving forward.
During the application process, you can devise a list of comprehensive questions to help you shortlist the right candidates. You can create a framework inside applicant tracking systems like the one we've developed at SeeMeHired. Don't make your questionnaire too complicated, though. You want your candidate's first experience with your company to be as streamlined as possible.
Keep communication channels open
Did you know that nearly 60% of job seekers never hear back from employers after applying for a job? This professional ghosting is not only incredibly inconsiderate, but it also makes for a very unpleasant candidate experience.
When communicating with your applicants, you can create individual responses or use tools that send automatic updates. Set regular intervals to inform your candidates where they stand in the decision process.
The candidates you're rejecting are just as important to your company's reputation as the ones you're onboarding. Politely let them know that they haven't been selected and do this as quickly as you can.
Be punctual and organised during the interview
Another frequent source of candidate dissatisfaction is feeling like the interviewers disrespected their time. When recruiters or managers show up late for an interview or don't show up at all, it sends a negative message about the company culture. Few candidates will ever walk out of an interview because of tardiness, but they'll most likely be wary of accepting a position if they feel like their time isn't valued.
Should emergencies interfere with your schedule, have a plan in place to accommodate candidates while they're waiting - whether that's offering beverages or asking the receptionist to provide updates.
During the interview, stay focused and concise. Prepare your questions beforehand and demonstrate diversity and inclusion in the way you address your candidate. Make sure you don't rush your applicant. Instead, plan for a buffer time in between meetings. This gives candidates enough time to ask their questions and greet you on their way out.
Provide and ask for feedback
Any time during the application process, you should provide feedback to your candidates. Craft a simple e-mail template that explains how to get to the office, dress, and prepare for the interview. This will take the edge off what can be a nerve-racking experience for any candidate.
Offering feedback to unsuccessful applicants is just as important. Go a step further in your letters of rejection and explain why your candidate won't be moving on in the interview process. Your feedback should be appreciative and delicate since you want to keep your candidate loyal to your brand while also honest about where they could improve.
Feedback goes both ways. Rather than just thanking candidates for applying, you can follow up on the interview and survey them for impressions on the candidate experience. If issues come up repeatedly - like candidates feeling left out or confused about their role in the company - you should make changes in your hiring process and train your team to be more welcoming.
Embrace the digital application age
Everyone is on their phones these days, and it's only a matter of time before digital applications become indispensable to all aspects of a business. Long gone are the days when a candidate would hop in a car or a train and go schedule a meeting with an agency.
Job seekers now expect to have the possibility to apply for jobs online, choose interview time slots that best suit their needs and have the option of video conference instead of in-person interviews.
All these technology "perks" not only create a great candidate experience but also help your HR team save a lot of time and effort when sourcing and shortlisting the best candidates. You can optimise this process by using a single hiring platform like SeeMeHired for all the recruitment steps instead of relying on multiple apps to do the job.
Overall, creating a good candidate experience is all about making the candidate feel welcomed and included in the interview process. No one likes to be kept in the dark or feel like their needs aren't being met.
Tools that facilitate communication and ensure regular, quick updates are a great way to help you build the best team and get stellar reviews every time. Schedule a free demo and learn how SeeMeHired can help your business stay effortlessly connected with your candidates.