Nowadays, the recruitment process is a two-way street. Gone are the days when job seekers are at the beck and call of recruiters because candidate experience is now very important.
However, what exactly is candidate experience, and how can companies improve it? Find out here.
Before discussing the different methods on how to improve your candidate experience, it is important that you have a good understanding of what it is all about in the first place. The term “candidate experience” refers to the series of interactions between a company and a job seeker during the recruitment process. These interactions can include any form of communication the job seeker receives from your employees, software system, or brand messaging.
Considering the definition mentioned above, candidate experience includes the following main aspects:
- Job advertisements
- The online job application process
- Communication using applicant tracking systems
- Corporate sites
- Interview process
- Communication with HR professionals, leadership, and team membership
- Application process notification
- Candidate job offer or rejection
How is candidate experience measured?
There’s no specific formula for measuring candidate experience because it can be a little difficult to quantify, and it can also be a bit subjective. But, it would be difficult to improve what you can’t measure, right? In this case, the following metrics can help you assess whether your company has a positive or negative candidate experience:
- Application abandonment
- Time to fill
- Offer acceptance rate
- Interview to offer ratio
- Candidate satisfaction
- Net Promoter Score
Regardless of whether you are a big or small company, you must make an effort to measure your candidate experience data. This can significantly help improve your overall reputation, and it can also make you competitive in terms of getting the best talents to work for your company.
Now that you have a better understanding of what is a good candidate experience, the next question in your mind must be “why is it important to improve your candidate experience?” Here are the top reasons:
Suppose job seekers know of your good candidate experience. In that case, they are more likely to keep an eye on open positions for your company. When this happens, you can get two benefits.
First, you can attract more candidates because what you offer becomes more desirable. Second, when more people are applying for a position, it’s more likely that you will also get better candidate pool quality.
The main difference between top talents and regular candidates is that many companies compete to hire them. Whereas regular candidates are more likely to find ways to please recruiters to give them a chance for the position that they applied to. Unfortunately, there are more regular candidates than top talents, making the competition even tougher. This is a good candidate experience that can be helpful.
Top candidates are more likely to apply for positions in a company with good candidate experience. This is because companies who invest in streamlining their candidate experience are usually those with good company culture as well.
The most important reason you should improve your candidate experience is that it can also help increase brand awareness. It is common for job seekers to talk about their experiences with peers and even on online platforms in this day and age.
The more positive awareness you get through a good candidate experience, the better it is for your company. On the contrary, if your candidate experience is not so good, it can reflect how your company handles other aspects of business, resulting in potential clients being turned off.
Actionable Tips on How to Improve Candidate Experience
What exactly can be considered as a good candidate experience? Well, a good candidate experience generally offers clear, consistent, and honest communication. When you are able to effectively communicate with job seekers in all the phases of your recruitment process, it is more likely that they will get a better candidate experience.
Aside from efficient and honest communication, here are some actionable tips that will help create a good candidate experience:
Naturally, job seekers will be very eager and willing to work hard on a job. This is mainly because they will get a lot of incentives for their efforts. However, that will not be the case for the job application. This is why an unnecessarily long and frustrating hiring process can result in a negative candidate experience, which can significantly impact the company’s reputation.
There are several ways that you can streamline the application process for your company. You can be strict with your requirements and straightforward from the get-go. This way, candidates who feel like they don’t fit what you are looking for will not need to apply.
Aside from that, it would also help a lot to make it easier for job seekers to apply for the job. For example, if you would be posting a job advertisement online, don’t make the job seeker go through multiple tabs before they can submit their resume.
Job descriptions are one of those tiny details in the hiring process that are undervalued. However, the biggest problem with unclear job descriptions is that it creates a false sense of hope for the job seeker that they fit the characteristics that you are looking for.
Although a general job description does give you a bigger pool of job seekers to choose from, this pool is not necessarily quality. As a result, you will be wasting the job seeker’s time and your own resources in filtering tons of applications that do not fit your requirements.
A clear job description must have the following information:
- The responsibilities of the job
- Your expectations
It is natural for job seekers to feel some degree of anxiety during the hiring process. When you let it be, this anxiety will be all that they will remember in the entire process, which, again, can lower your company’s reputation.
One way of helping ease the anxiety of the job seeker during the hiring process is by introducing them to existing team members. This will allow you to show that your company has an accessible and friendly vibe. It will also allow the job seekers to get to know the people they will be working with if they get hired in your company.
Most of the time, job seekers are left anxious, wondering about the status of their applications. Some of them resort to constantly refreshing their inbox, hoping for good and bad news. Unfortunately, there are instances when job applications get no reply, which is even more frustrating.
If this is a problem in your candidate experience, you can improve it by efficiently communicating with the candidate. Luckily, there are now tools that allow you to do this without needing to invest much time and effort. Some of these tools include automated email, which you can use to inform the candidate that you have successfully received their application. You can also use it to update them with new information regarding the status of their application.
On this note, it would also be helpful if you improve your accessibility. Another major problem job seekers have is that hiring managers and potential employers are often untouchable to them. When this happens, nobody is there to address concerns or answer questions.
You have to consider that job seekers might be currently employed in other jobs, or they also have their own daily routines and plans. This is why one highly recommended way of improving your candidate experience is by being accommodating with schedules.
You can do this by asking them what is the most convenient time for interviews during the start of the beginning of the application process. This will allow job seekers to prepare ahead of time, and it would also help minimize interview rescheduling, which is a win-win for all parties involved.
Most of the time, when a job seeker is late to an interview, it will have a significant impact on their chance of getting hired. Conversely, if it’s the other way around and the recruiter was late, all they have to do is apologize, and it wouldn’t be a big deal. This shouldn’t be the case.
You have to remember that your time is as precious as theirs. This is why you should always start and end interviews on time. It will also help if you do not schedule interviews that will disrupt the job seeker’s schedule.
One common mistake that many recruiters commit that affects their candidate experience is being too secretive about their company. These recruiters often want to know everything about the job seeker. From their previous work history, education, and even in some cases, their family history, job seekers have to be transparent.
Unfortunately, some recruiters wouldn’t give out information about the company no matter how important and relevant it is. For example, they will not reveal the salary range or benefits for the position unless they are already giving out the job offer.
Although confidentiality is important, you have to know that the hiring process is a two-way street. By not revealing important information about the company which is relevant to the job seeker, such as the salary range, it’s more likely that you would only be wasting your time if they feel like the job offer is not satisfactory. On top of that, you will leave a bad impression on the job seekers.
You can avoid all these by giving out relevant information about the job without necessarily going onto the specifics. For example, if the job seeker wants to know about the salary for the position, you can give a range. The same thing applies to the benefits that they could get if they get hired. Besides, these types of information will not be used as trade secrets anyway.
Instead of wondering on your own what you did well and which aspect you can improve, you can ask the job seekers directly by giving them a feedback form. The first-hand information that you can get by doing this can identify the strengths and weaknesses of your hiring process.
You have to remember that a job seeker took careful consideration and time to apply for a position in your company. This means that they believe that you offer a good work environment that is deserving of sincere gratitude. Unfortunately, this is often overlooked.
You don’t have to be extremely grateful that they applied for the position. But, you can show small gestures at the end of the recruitment process. For example, you can send a thank you email saying that you appreciate that the candidate took an interest in your company and has given you some of your time. If you want to go the extra mile, you can give points of improvement which can help them in future endeavors.
Besides, how you conduct yourself also has a significant impact on the company. Suppose your behavior shows that you are rude or ungrateful. In that case, the job seekers’ impression of the company will also be like that. In the worst-case scenario, they might even discourage other job seekers from applying to your company because of their negative experience.
Improving candidate experience is important, especially if your goal is to increase your brand awareness and improve your reputation. Even if it is not, a positive candidate experience can help you hire talented individuals into your company.
The tips mentioned above are quite simple, but many often neglect them in the hiring process. By incorporating some of them into yours, you are sure to get a more positive candidate experience as a result.