A female candidate smiles as she sits in front of her laptop.

Why is Candidate Experience Important to your Company and Brand?

The candidate experience, much like employees, must be considered and understood as an integral part of the hiring process. Candidates present themselves not only as a brand but as an organisation to the people who will form impressions about the company they are applying for. As a recruiter, how you respond or reject their interest in vying for a position, for some applicants, speaks about the company and its culture, which can sometimes be enlightening and disappointing on both sides of the recruitment spectrum.

In a recent webinar between Talegent and Rocket-Hire, Talegent CEO John Austin remarked that there are often things recruiters forget during hiring such as the company’s objectives and culture. Going back to the point of the applicant’s experience upon receiving a neutral, negative, or often lack of response from the recruiter, the candidate often makes up their mind on the overall perception of the recruitment process, which extends to a negative, lasting impression of the employer and their brand. And they will act on it by telling their colleagues, friends, and family, blasting the company on social media, or leaving an angry review on job portals like Glassdoor and The Muse.

“It becomes very real for you as an applicant when you see posts from others about their experiences,” Rocket-Hire President and Founder Dr Charles Handler said, stressing that it frustrates the candidate not knowing whether their application was successful or not. “In the U.S., it is disappointing that it is normal to not hear feedback from companies,” he continued.

It is important to remember early on that recruiters and HR as a whole is the candidate’s gateway to forming a connection with your company. Unfortunately, they are met with a few roadblocks toward landing that job offer.

Often, factors play in the candidate’s disengagement in the hiring process, like misusing technology upon talent selection, inappropriate measurement tools for identifying personalities and cognitive abilities, and miscommunication between the candidate and recruiter pre- and post-hire. So how do we improve the recruitment process with the candidate’s perspective in mind?

What should talent acquisition professionals focus on when building a good candidate experience?

Ask for feedback from all your candidates.

In the webinar, Handler reiterated that candidate experience is only developed with candidate’s feedback. Many companies recognised the importance of candidate feedback as about 80% of them from a 2018 report ask their candidates about their experience at some point of their hiring process. However, the same report said these companies mostly gather feedback after these candidates have already been hired. Considering this, companies may have just seen a limited view of the experience of the candidates.

Make sure to gather feedback from all your candidates’ about their experiences – from early dropouts to the new hires and everyone in between, giving you and your hiring team a complete picture of what the candidates think about your recruitment. Further, asking their feedback at every step of your hiring process makes it easier for you to get more accurate results from them. Improving your candidate experience by getting feedback from your applicants does not only boost engagement from them but also can give you significantly more positive reviews from them, both online (e.g., review sites and social media platforms) and word-of-mouth.

Respect your candidates’ time by enabling an easy application process.

Today’s job seekers are very aware of their time and the value they place on it. Candidates won’t hesitate to move on quickly from company to company if they don’t hear back from the former quickly.

A lengthy hiring process can result in candidates dropping out of the application process, with candidates to losing interest in starting at a certain company. In a 2016 study, research shows that a typical candidate spends three to four hours a day preparing and submitting a single job application. This same candidate belongs to the 60% of job seekers who quit in the middle of filling out job applications because of its length or complexity.

It is also important that recruiters must be aware of what they are asking from their candidates. Test your own application process and assess whether it’s lengthy, complicated, and accessible on all devices. Evaluate from there, see which procedure you can shorten and simplify, and narrow down to only the things that you really need from people at this first point of contact.

Austin stressed that it’s crucial that “the process is engaging and intuitive” so you can minimise the dropout rate very early. This is usually achieved by using personable assessments and structured interviews where the candidate is at the centre. “It is now a mindset that we treat our candidates as our clients — how we gather data [and] feedback to improve the companies’ engagement with them,” Austin said.

Give candidates a personalised, positive hiring process.

Handler echoed Austin’s sentiment and added that HR should apply the company’s values and culture throughout the recruiting process, from early in the candidate’s journey to the job offer. “The more that you get the company’s values aligned, the more you get a connection with your candidates and employees [once you appeal to that] human side of things,” he said.

A key place the company values are demonstrated is in the interviews. Not only are the success of interviews determined by the candidate’s preparedness, but it is the recruiter’s overall responsibility to what constitutes a positive and comfortable interview.

LinkedIn research shows that 83% of job seekers say that a negative interview experience can change their mind about a position and company they were once interested in. On the other hand, 87% of talent say that a positive interview experience can change their mind about a role and company they once doubted.

To keep your candidate interested, it’s best to keep interviews short while still offering them a chance to learn about the role and company culture, like for an example, giving them a quick tour of the office. Afterwards, follow up with consistent updates and feedback over the phone or email, even if it means delivering bad news saying that they didn’t make the cut.

 

Your hiring process is a two-way street: you measure your candidates on how they are fit to work in your organisation while you also give them the opportunity for them to consider and choose you as an employer by giving them a good candidate experience.

Learn more about how you can improve your hiring process for your company and your job candidates by watching the recorded webinar here or have a look at our other resources.

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