How to Improve Candidate Experience?
Word of mouth is miraculous. It can spread good news, but it can also spread bad news very effectively. Every company, regardless of its size, needs to be aware of this.
However, it seems like companies are aware of this, but only when it comes to their products. They are often missing to pay attention to one very important thing — employer branding.
Employer branding is the perception potential employees have about your company. This basically describes the value your company gives to its employees. Good employer branding is what attracts the best talent.
The core of employer branding is candidate experience - how your job candidates feel after they’ve interacted with you. Candidate experience is the way you treated them during the whole recruiting process and how they perceived it.
People who are looking for a job start forming an opinion about your company from the time they’ve sent that application email. That’s where you step in, to prove that you’re not just one more company that ignores candidates. Only one negative opinion is needed to create a buzz that discourages others to apply to your job ads. Now that everyone shares their opinion online, you can be sure that every mistake you make will be noted.
Well, it seems like companies are making many mistakes. According to the Human Capital Institute, 60% of job seekers have a negative candidate experience with companies they apply to. Moreover, 72% of job seekers share their negative experience online, while 55% of job seekers avoid companies that have negative online reviews.
What are the top reasons that cause a negative experience?
- The process takes to long. From waiting for the first answer to the application email to being asked to do too many interviews, the recruiting process often takes way too long. A lot of companies hold on to complicated and unnecessary phases of the recruiting process that are irrelevant to the job opening. The recommended length of the recruitment process is from two to four weeks.
- No consideration for the time of the candidate. It’s simple. You want the candidate to show up on time and you don’t want to waste time waiting. Well, the candidate wants the same. Not showing up can be quite frustrating, especially if the candidate is coming from a faraway place.
- No response. This is the most common reason that causes a negative experience with job seekers. 75% of candidates who have sent an application don’t get a response at all, while 60% of them never hear back from the company after they’ve had an interview. Pretty devastating!
So, what can you do to eliminate all of the above and create a great candidate experience for job seekers applying at your company?
Start with the job ad
In order to prevent confusion, start with the job ad. Be as precise as you can, defining the requirements and responsibilities regarding the job position. Being unclear in the job ad specification can attract people with different skills than the ones you need. Even worse, it can discourage top talents, who will immediately form a negative opinion about your company.
After listing requirements and responsibilities, it’s also very important to list the benefits your company provides to its employees. Without listing them, it seems like you’re only asking, and not giving anything in return. It looks like you don’t care about your employees. Top talents don’t apply to ads if they don’t know what the company is willing to do for them.
This was an obvious one, but it had to be mentioned. Candidates expect transparency all the way. Inform them about every next step, starting from the first email. Remind them for your upcoming meetings and thank them for taking the time to meet you.
Job seekers are constantly waiting. Waiting for someone to review their application, to invite them for an interview, to inform them about the final decision. Don’t make this harder for them, it is already tough enough. That’s why you shouldn’t leave any questions open. You need to be transparent and give them all the details.
In this age of billions of tools, there’s no excuse for bad communication. The least you can do is to use one of them to create an automated thank you email.
Treat each candidate like they’re the best
You want top talent? Act like that! Treat each candidate like they’re the top talent you want. Be polite, and don’t act like you’re just trying to confuse them. Don’t ask unclear questions and don’t try to intimidate them. Make your company seem like a place they want to work at and make them talk positively about you.
That long, boring recruiting process
If you want to get the top talent, act faster. They won’t be available forever just because you’ve created a too long and complicated recruiting process. This process has to be efficient, without unnecessary questions. The longer it takes, the more frustrated your candidates get.
Please, please stop asking those boring questions
Where do you see yourself in five years? Really?
Use online tools
There are many online platforms that can help you create tests that effectively highlight the right candidates. There are also a lot of video recruiting software types that enable candidates to answer questions remotely. This will prevent both you and your candidates from wasting time in interviews that might not give the best results. Moreover, your candidates will be much relaxed answering your questions from the comfort of their own home. In fact, my best candidate experience was when I talked to a chatbot. The questions were clever and precise at the same time, and I had enough time to answer them without the pressure of how my body language may seem to my interviewers.
The thank you letter is a must
And you should send it out the moment you decide to reject someone. The best thing would be to give honest personal feedback and explain why you’re rejecting them. This can help candidates improve and be more prepared for their next interview. However, if you’re having too many candidates, you can at least create a thank you letter you’ll be sending out to the ones you’re not moving forward with. Not replying at all is not an option.
Yes, we understand. You get a lot of applications and not all of them are good enough. However, candidates do talk with each other. They share both positive and negative experiences. How you treat your candidates during the recruiting process can seriously affect the level of attractiveness of your company to top talents.