Employee insight: Delivering a great candidate experience
“Candidate experience is an integral part of employment brand, and maintaining and executing a solid employment brand is something which happens at every level of an organisation. Are you asking your team to be brand ambassadors and also playing your part as an executive leader to make this happen?”
Craig Sweeney, SVP, Global Strategic Talent Solutions, WilsonHCG
A candidate’s experience with a recruiter is typically the first interaction that is made with a prospective company. They’ve applied to the role and they’ve done their research but getting a person on the phone is where the journey really begins. You want to make sure the candidate walks away with the best impression of the company and you have one chance to get this right and get them excited about the opportunity.
Every candidate you speak with, regardless of whether it’s just one conversation or you’ve walked them all the way through the hiring process, will form an opinion based upon how they were treated by you and will likely share it with others.
Some 72 percent of candidates who had a positive experience with a recruiter would refer someone in the future, according to research by Talent Board. That’s why it’s so important to manage this process efficiently and make sure you leave a positive lasting impression on candidates. There are several approaches to delivering a positive candidate experience but here is a short summary of the main ones with a few basic touch points:
Your communications should instill trust between you and your candidates - be consistent, honest and transparent. Be upfront about the job description, explain how long the process will take and what they can expect throughout each step. Communication is important to job seekers, in fact, 21 percent stated that they wanted better communication when it came to hiring process steps, according to a blog by Furst Person.
Communication is key
Be available when you say you will be and return all emails and calls in a proactive and timely manner. Even if you do not have immediate time or information to provide, reply back via email or make a quick call to let them know you received their message and will follow up as soon as you have information for them.
Poor communication is one of the main causes for delivering a poor candidate experience. Increasing your level of communication throughout the application process will not only help to improve your reputation as an employer but can also increase the likelihood of your candidate recommending your organization to their networks. According to CareerArc, 60 percent of candidates say “better communication throughout and after the applicant process,” would make the most positive impact.
Recruiters should be passionate about their company, the role they are hiring for, and the interview process. By demonstrating a professional and enthusiastic attitude you are helping to show that you are happy where you work and that they will be too!
Build a relationship with the candidate
As you interact with candidates, make them feel important and be positive. Far too often the interview process is cold and more stressful than it needs to be. Make your candidate aware of their strengths. Boost their confidence. Answer any questions they may have and let them know you are there to be their biggest cheerleader.
Be an adviser
If you are failing to coach your candidates prior to their interview, you may be unnecessarily losing qualified candidates simply for trivial reasons. Educate your candidate on best practices when it comes to interviewing such as what to expect during the interview process, proper dress code etiquette, likes and dislikes for the hiring manager and maybe even some coaching when it comes to typical interview questions such as their strengths, weaknesses and goals.
A vast majority of companies do not take the time to provide closure to a candidate. Most job seekers say the response time to applicants awaiting a hiring decision is the part of the job search process that is in need of the most improvement. According to Work Place Trends, 80 percent of candidates say they would be discouraged to consider other relevant job openings at a company that failed to notify them of their application status. Even if the answer is “no”, people still want closure.
There’s nothing worse than having put so much time and effort into preparing for an interview and then enduring radio silence after the interview. Although recruiters coach candidates before the interview, they also have the opportunity to coach them afterwards and deliver constructive feedback that will help them be successful in their future endeavors.
In conclusion, Bill Boorman said it best: “A great candidate experience starts with a great recruiter experience.”
Victoria Fortier is a Senior Recruitment Consultant at WilsonHCG.