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What Makes A Great Candidate Experience?

Estimated reading time: 7 mins

Most organisations these days are facing the issue of having too many disengaged workers. It is understood that a disengaged employee will be actively looking for new opportunities or attend calls made by recruiters about job openings. The thing is that these disengaged employees usually do have strong talents and skills and that is why they are confident in landing better jobs. The problem with organisations having too many disengaged workers is that they are not utilizing the full potential of these employees or undermining their abilities.

Even though there can be many reasons for your staff to be disengaged, the one certainty is that employee engagement actually starts from the recruiting process. Strong companies have the ability to successfully create experiences to help candidates connect with them even before they actually apply for the job. This is commonly referred to as the “candidate experience.” It can be thought of the job seeker’s overall impression of the interactions that take place during the hiring process. To put it simply, it is the candidate’s experience as they go through the process of application, interview and joining your company. In this blog post, I will talk about all key components to consider when developing a great candidate experience.

The Importance of a Good Candidate Experience

While I have already discussed one major reason to have a good candidate experience, i.e. employee engagement, there are also many other points that make it a mandatory exercise for any organisation.

Finding the Right Talent. As companies witness shortage of skills, they will want to ensure they find qualified candidates whenever needed. A positive candidate experience will attract the best candidates to your organisation and keep the on good terms until a need arises.

Reduction in Recruitment Time and Cost. There is no organisation in the world that has unlimited resources and funds for their recruitment efforts. Companies are always on the lookout for ways to find the best talent with the help of minimal resources. This is why creating a positive candidate experience is essential to cutting costs of hiring top talent as they will themselves be drawn towards the organisation.

Competitive Advantage in Industry. Whenever a company manages to hire and retain top talent, it automatically becomes better in products and services they provide. This will translate into larger market share and increased profits.

Create Positive Company Brand and Culture

People always want to work for companies that they are proud of. They want to work for organisations with a purpose. This does not only include the usual organisational mission and vision but also its values. The benefits for businesses creating positive brand image are very clear. This will attract the best talent and greater profits. Most of us feel that a company with a strong sense of purpose are in a strong financial position. These companies usually tend to demonstrate higher employee and customer satisfaction. The reason is quite simple – people like to win. They want to work for companies they feel are winning.

Having a Solid Career Website

Job seekers always research organisations before applying online. This is where the company needs to have a positive brand. Candidates would like to see if the company is a good place to work before applying. Talent these days is very selective and they do not want to waste their time applying for companies they do not genuinely like. Apart from the standard job openings and instructions for applicants, a company career site should include the following:

  • Organisational vision, mission and values
  • Company purpose and its connection with the community
  • Awards and recognition the company has received
  • Photos and videos of the employees and the work environment
  • Details of professional development, future opportunities and benefits

In essence, the company career site must be a clear reflection of the employment experience. You should focus on sharing the right information with the candidates in the right format.

Implement Candidate Resource Management (CRM) Techniques

At times, companies are so busy on filling the current job openings that they miss some important steps in filling the talent pipeline. Strong recruiters these days are using the methods from sales playbook in using principles of customer resource management (CRM) to remain in touch with interested candidates. Leading companies around the world are creating talent networks to help them develop candidate database, build up talent pipelines as well as keep candidates regularly engaged with the company. Combining talent networks with CRM techniques will offer you a way to scale your recruiting processes, saving time and money. The value of CRM actually lies in the passive job seeker. These individuals might not currently be ready for a job switch but still want to keep their options open.

Have Realistic Job Postings

The last thing a candidate would want is any surprises about the company. They also do not want any surprises about the job they are applying for. Candidates are always looking for accurate and realistic position description. As a company, you would want to ensure that you have provided a realistic job preview before a candidate applies as well as when the interview process starts. Some helpful job information would include posting on the official career website the company videos and photos of employees doing their work. This basically gives the candidates a “behind the scenes” preview of the company. At the time of the interview, the hiring manager can share both, the formal and informal responsibilities of the job. Most of the companies would explain the formal responsibilities using the job description; however, there will always be other parts of the job that are not explicitly mentioned in the job description. These should be explained in detail as well, leaving nothing to guesses. The “in-box assessment” is a great activity that can help candidates get a real sense of the job. These are simulations to see how a candidate will organise and prioritize his or her work. Not only will this give the company a sneak peak of the candidate and what to expect, it will also provide the candidate important insight into what his or her typical day will look like.

Embrace Social Media

People want easy ways to find and apply for jobs. If it is too hard or complicated, candidates just will not even try. One way to make this process a lot simpler is by using social media platforms to post job openings and give candidates the ability to even apply using their smartphones or tablets. This is because an increasing number of people are using smartphones and tablets as the primary source to access the internet and social media. Businesses simply cannot afford ignoring these devices and even their websites need to offer a native experience to users, no matter what the screen size. Also, allowing the option to share job posts will make it easier for your current employees to let their friends and family know about an opening. Mobile devices and social media makes sharing job openings just a click away. What you need to ensure is consistency in your message. Some social media platforms like Twitter have character limits, meaning that you can simply give the main news there and then redirect your followers to your dedicated career website.

Optimise the Application Tracking Systems (ATS)

Being disorganised can seriously damage your recruiting efforts. Having an Applicant Tracking System (ATS) in place will allow your company to stay organised and in contact with the candidates. One major complaint candidates usually have is that the companies fail to stay in touch with them after the hiring process. This is where an ATS will help you communicate consistently and effectively. Therefore, when it comes to hiring top talent, companies are then able to outshine their competitors by having a robust communication strategy in place. Many big organisations have an ATS these days and it is high time that you do so as well, if you have not already.

Uplift Your Screening Interview

Once you start receiving responses, you will need to have an efficient and effective way to sort through the entire crowd and define the best candidates. Traditionally, this use to be done during the screening interview. Screening interviews are structured with the sole purpose of an individual is an initial good fit for the organisation. This allows the company and candidate to save time that might be later wasted if the screening is not done at an early stage. You could introduce video intros for candidates for initial screening. This includes having them prepare a quick video that showcase their talents to you. Such videos would allow you to assess their verbal communication skills, creativity as well as their passion for career, company and industry as a whole.

Conclusion

Providing a great candidate experience can be the difference between you getting a good talent to you getting the top talent. Once you have adopted the above recommendations in your hiring process, you should be ready with interviewing and finalising the best candidates for your organisation. Have you implemented any of the above recommendations? Do share your experiences with us in the comments section. I also recommend that you read my other blog post on Top Tips To Hiring The Best Person For Your Business or this blog post on How Your Hiring Processes Might Be Affecting Your Company’s Culture.

 

About the author /


Simon is a creative and passionate business leader dedicated to having fun in the pursuit of high performance and personal development. He is co-founder of Applied Change, a Business Change consultancy based in the UK. Simon is also an Ambassador for Gloucestershire business. Simon is an Associate Member of the Chartered Institute of Professional Development.

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