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As you're building your talent pool, one of the most significant factors to consider is candidate experience (CX). How a candidate feels going through the interview process holds significant weight in the success of your hiring process. From the job description and application to the interview and onboarding process, each step shapes the candidate's experience.
Why is candidate experience important, you may ask? The answer is simple yet impactful. The candidate experience not only influences their decision on whether to take your offer or not, but it also gives them a perception of your organization as a whole. In other words, it can make or break a brand's reputation. Not to mention, a great CX can lead to more high-quality applicants and improve the company's ability to attract and retain top talent.
What is candidate experience in recruitment, specifically? It is the sum total of every interaction a potential employee has with your organization. From researching the company on social media to submitting applications, from interviewing to onboarding, each step should be crafted in a way that makes a candidate feel valued and respected.
So, how do we create that experience, or maybe the better question here is, What does a great candidate experience actually look like?
First, a great CX begins with a well-written and clear job description that accurately defines the role, expectations, and its requirements. It continues with a simple-to-navigate application process and timely communication from HR, hiring managers, and recruiters- which is not easy to do if your team is busy and overwhelmed.
Secondly, an exceptional CX should include timely interviews, assessments, and feedback. A potential employee should be given ample time to prepare for interviews, and if there's a delay in the process, they should be notified of it immediately. This is where automation tools can come into play- ensuring that every step goes smoothly and efficiently. Interview scheduling platforms, interview intelligence software, and video interview tools have many of these features built-in.
For example, Pillar's interview intelligence software has interview scheduling, automated candidate introductions, and a library of more than 1000 interview questions that are role-specific and tailored to help you unlock candidate insights that will help you make better hiring decisions.
Finally, an ideal candidate experience should include post-interview debriefs and onboarding processes. Keeping candidates in the loop- even if you are not offering them the job- will give them a positive impression of your organization. This doesn't mean sending them an automated, "We enjoyed meeting you but went with another candidate....email.
A great candidate experience gives applicants the closure that they need to move forward if they're not fit for your role and do better in the next interview experience. That means being clear about why you felt they weren't a good fit.
As for onboarding, (which is a huge topic in itself) it is essential to ensure a smooth transition into their new role. Try to immerse them at their own speed. Activate the highest levels of their personal learning agility, challenge them through methods such as e-learning, group workshops, or one-on-one coaching, and also listen to them as they provide feedback. Their feedback will give you a metaphorical "finger-on-the-pulse" of how they're feeling about your company and their abilities.
To sum it up, a great candidate experience doesn’t have to be complicated but must come from the heart. After all, top talent won't wait around forever and you want them to join your team feeling excited about the journey that lies ahead of them.
As hiring managers and recruiters, we have a responsibility to find top talent for our organizations- but we also need to remember that the CX can play an important role in achieving this goal. But with the right strategy, tools, and processes in place, we can make great hiring decisions.
As an HR software company, we're asked constantly how to improve candidate experience in recruitment - after all, improving CX is a key focus for many organizations. Here's a handy candidate experience checklist to guide you in this process.
Firstly, clarity is critical. Start with a clear understanding of what your company is and does. Then, take an inventory of your company's hiring needs and consider how best to communicate those needs. Then, create clear and inclusive job descriptions that accurately reflect the role, expectations, and requirements. Remove any of the nice-to-haves and focus on the necessary skills and traits a candidate must possess to be a good fit. If you read that again, you'll notice a theme... clarity.
Secondly, have a user-friendly application process. Make sure all forms are simple and easy to fill out, with manageable expectations on what is required from job seekers. Remember that many of your applicants will be using tools like Simplify to complete an application online - I know it's not ideal but it's the way of the world now. If your applications are complicated, you'll lose candidates who may be a great fit but they're tired of filling out endless online applications without getting responses.
Use technology to create a seamless experience for applicants. Automated scheduling platforms, interview intelligence software, and video interview tools will help you reduce time-to-hire and free up resources from manual admin tasks. Make the careers page easy to find and the application instructions clear and concise. Offer options such as LinkedIn or resume parsing to make the process more convenient and user-friendly. Moreover, keep the application process short and mobile-friendly.
Thirdly, respect the candidate's time. Remember that candidates have lives outside of the job hunt, so make sure you offer quick responses and the process doesn't take too long. Offer feedback on their applications and don’t leave them hanging around waiting for an answer - a simple email response, even if it's a, "No," is better than nothing! Candidate experience surveys show that companies that take longer than two days to respond have a higher rate of candidate drop-outs.
Finally, make sure that your hiring managers are well-trained to offer a great CX. Hiring managers should be able to get the most from an interview by asking meaningful questions, listening carefully, and asking follow-ups. They should also be able to provide feedback in a constructive way - building up candidates with praise where applicable and providing value at each step of the interview experience while interacting with candidates.
Tracking candidate experience metrics and conducting surveys can also provide valuable insights. These tools can help identify areas of improvement in your recruitment process, thereby enhancing the overall candidate experience. Once you have feedback, take the necessary action to improve processes.
Improving candidate experience is an ongoing process that requires careful consideration and planning. Let's face it, helping recently unemployed individuals navigate the interview process while dealing with financial insecurity and looming expenses can be challenging - hopefully with these tips, you can build a more effective recruitment process and create a great candidate experience.
Either way, candidate experience is a key factor in successful recruitment. With the right strategies, processes, and tools in place, you can create an amazing candidate experience that will have job seekers coming back time and again. The result? Improved hiring success rates and better teams.
Now, let's talk about what a great candidate experience really looks like. First and foremost, a candidate should be made to feel like an individual - valued, important, and understood, even if they're not fit for the role.
At its core, a good candidate experience is one that respects the candidate's time, provides clarity, and maintains open and prompt communication. It's about making sure the candidate is heard, and that their application experience is as smooth and stress-free as possible.
Ultimately, a great candidate experience can be the difference between making an "okay" hire or letting a potential rock star slip away - so make sure you invest in creating unique, memorable experiences for your applicants. You never know - those same jobseekers may be your future team members even if you don't hire them in this round.
But what are some of the best candidate experience examples? Companies with the best candidate experience statistics often share common traits. They have a transparent and efficient recruitment process - with many also offering salary and benefit clearly, "up front." They offer constructive feedback, maintain regular communication, and are open to hiring timeframes and where candidates are in the process. They also respect the candidate's time by having a streamlined and user-friendly application process.
Companies with great candidate experience also understand that candidates are more than just an application - they're people and should be treated as such. So it's important to make sure your company provides a warm, welcoming atmosphere, responds quickly and courteously, listens to feedback, and treats everyone fairly throughout the recruitment process (but this isn't the first time you've heard me say that in this article, so I digress).
A good candidate experience has far-reaching effects beyond the recruitment process. It influences the candidate's decision to accept a job offer, how they talk to others about their experience and perception of your company, and even whether they choose to reapply for open roles in the future. If you'd like to see we've helped our customers lower time-to-hire while delivering excellent candidate experiences, book your demo of Pillar today. We'd love to help your team make better hires.