Candidate experience is a hot topic in the human resources field. Many recruiters wonder: How do companies balance the reality of needing to acquire the best talent—and put them through a rigorous vetting process—while creating the best possible applicant experience? The two goals are compatible, but require strategic planning. Here's a look at some ideas HR leaders should consider when thinking about their candidates’ experiences.
Recruiting starts with technology
Much of today's recruiting process happens entirely online. Before a candidate is contacted by a recruiter or hiring manager, they may find jobs online, research your company through websites, and perhaps go through the application process. Using best-in-class applicant tracking software demonstrates your commitment to the recruiting process. It may also make it easier for candidates to find information, apply for jobs, and navigate the process using a mobile device. Investing in HR software can also make it easier for your HR team to source candidates, vet resumes, and structure the hiring process.
Follow a defined process
If you analyze the gaps and challenges in your recruiting process from the business side, there's a strong chance they align with the same frustrations candidates face. For example, taking a long time to fill a position translates to a lengthy recruiting experience with unnecessary delays from the candidate perspective. Take the time to map out what's working and what's not, and then put a systematic recruiting workflow in place that's designed to address those issues. Both the candidate experience and business outcomes will benefit as a result.
Communicate your process
Candidates can become frustrated when they don't understand the hiring process. Once you've created a process that works, communicate it clearly. If your recruiting team, candidates, and hiring managers are all on the same page about what's happening, there are likely to be fewer communication and process breakdowns. A well-communicated process is easier to follow, with fewer delays internally. Candidates who understand what's expected of them can be ready for case studies, interviews, and reference checks with minimal delays.
Share an insider perspective on culture
Today's candidates want more insight into what it's like to work at your company. Before applying, candidates are looking for interviews with current employees, culture videos, and tips about the company's mission and values. The more information that you provide throughout the interview process (i.e. in your job ads and on your careers page) the happier candidates will be. Being explicit about these things also impacts business outcomes. Recruiting candidates who are a good cultural and company fit is important for performance and retention. When you're clear about what you're looking for from the start of the hiring process, you're more likely to attract candidates who meet your needs.
Focus on automated, regular communication
Candidates routinely state that a lack of communication is one of their biggest frustration points. Resumes go off into a black hole without even basic acknowledgment. Candidates go through a phone interview, and then there's a long delay before they hear back about the next step. The time that elapses between communications and interactions has a strong impact on the applicant experience. Businesses also benefit when lines of communications stay open. Candidates are less likely to drop off or form a negative impression of your business. If there's movement in the employment options of a top candidate, visibility lets you take action. Frequently update candidates on where their application is in process. Take advantage of automated communications, such as confirming receipt of a resume, for simple improvements. Use enhanced communication as a tool to help your business attract top talent.
Delivering a world-class recruiting experience benefits your company in multiple ways. A top candidate experience is also inherently focused on generating top business results. Align these two objectives and you can capture high ROI across the board.