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7 Tips to Improve the Candidate Experience

Why the Candidate Experience Matters…
and How You Can Make It Better

For hiring managers and other HR professionals, a major focus of 2023 is on the candidate experience and how to improve it within their organizations. Recent research unanimously supports the idea that optimizing the candidate experience is not only crucial to staying competitive in the search for qualified talent, it can also help build your brand and your business.

We have compiled some tips on how you can create a positive candidate experience and where a recruitment agency can provide additional support. But first…

What is the candidate experience and why does it matter?

The candidate experience entails any interaction or communication that a job seeker has with your company throughout the recruitment process. It can include the careers section of your website, your job postings, the online application process, the interview process, candidate rejection letters or offer letters, and any communications or notifications from the company throughout the process.

Three reasons why the candidate experience matters in 2023:

  1. In today’s candidate-driven job market, applicants are evaluating potential employers as much as, if not more than, employers are evaluating applicants. According to CareerBuilder, 78% of applicants say the candidate experience is indicative of how a company treats and values its employees. By creating a recruitment process that is efficient, transparent, and responsive, you demonstrate at the outset that your company is organized, open, and respectful of its people.
  2. With the proliferation of professional networking and third-party career websites, the reality is that reviews are no longer just for restaurants and books. Applicants share their experiences through social media or on job sites like Glassdoor and Indeed. In fact, a survey conducted by Future Workplace and CareerArc found that almost 60% of job seekers had a negative experience and of those, 72% shared the details online or directly with a colleague or friend. By the same token, 72% of employees are likely to encourage others to apply to a company if they’ve had a positive onboarding experience. Give candidates only positive things to say about your company with a positive recruitment experience.
  3. It’s important to remember that candidates can also be customers. Of the 300 job seekers surveyed by Software Advice, 71% said they would be more likely to purchase the company’s products or services if they had a positive experience and 66% would be more likely to tell others to purchase products or services. With statistics like that, a good candidate experience also just makes good business sense.

The key to creating a superior candidate experience is through better communication. Job seekers value communication that is consistent, clear, and timely. Here are some ways to build a positive experience and how a recruiter can help.

7 ways to improve using more effective communication:

  1. Stay on brand – All of your communications and notifications should reflect your company’s brand, tone of voice, and personality. This will help applicants get to know your organization better, build brand awareness, and form a more meaningful connection with them as candidates and as customers.
  2. Share your key selling points – As candidates review a job posting, they are not only looking to see if they are a good fit for the role but also if the company is a good fit for them. Make this information easy to find by including a section about the company and the culture in the job posting. If you offer benefits such as flexible hours, an RRSP matching program, medical and dental coverage, or professional development, be sure to mention them.
  3. Send a confirmation of receipt – Although a confirmation email may seem like a basic part of the recruitment process, Talent Board found that 73% of applicants surveyed did not receive a communication at all. This small oversight can have a significant impact as 86% of those candidates reported that not receiving a basic application confirmation email created a bad candidate experience. You can easily set up an automatic response that lets candidates know their application has been received. We recommend taking it one step further by explaining your recruitment process and what they can expect should they be chosen to advance to the next phase.
  4. Continue to keep in touch – The recruitment process takes time which can be frustrating and challenging for job seekers but if you communicate regularly with them on the status of their applications, they will continue to be engaged and will view the experience more positively. This is particularly important for high calibre candidates who typically do not stay on the job market for long. They may be more likely to turn down other offers knowing that they are still in the running for the job.A busy HR manager may not have the time or bandwidth to implement regular touch-points with every candidate. A recruiter can add value by managing ongoing communications with applicants to alleviate any of their concerns and respond to their questions in a timely manner, which all contributes to a more positive and memorable experience.
  5. Prepare yourself and the candidate for the interview – Ensuring that you get the most out of the interview requires preparation for both the interviewer and candidate. When making arrangements with the candidate for an interview, provide them with key information such as who they will be meeting with, how long it will take, if they are expected to bring a portfolio or other materials, what the check-in process is, and any other helpful details. As the interviewer, be sure to ask questions that are relevant to the job posting and have been tailored to the individual’s specific experience and skills. This will not only create a smooth interview process but will show the candidate that you paid close attention to their application.If time does not allow for more in-depth interview preparation, a recruiter can help by providing the candidate with information and answering their questions. They can also take a closer look at the applications for details that would be relevant and helpful to discuss during the interview.
  6. Show them around – If time allows during the interview, take the candidate on a tour of the office and introduce them to a few employees from different departments. This will give them an idea of what it’s like to work there as well as build excitement about joining the team.
  7. Circle back with feedback – Even though only one candidate can be hired, you may have met with several that were a good fit. Be sure to contact all candidates who were interviewed to thank them for their time and encourage them to apply to future opportunities. Job seekers surveyed by Talent Board said they would be 3.5 times more likely to reapply to a company if they received a simple email or phone call notifying them that they were declined. Other research shows that applicants are four times more likely to apply to future postings if they received constructive feedback, which also serves to help candidates improve their skills and strengthen their applications.While providing feedback to each person that was interviewed may be time-intensive, it is a worthy endeavour to expand your talent pool with candidates who are qualified, pre-vetted, and now familiar with the company’s hiring practices. Consider engaging a recruiter to help execute this important part of the process.

Developing an exceptional candidate experience is now imperative to any organization looking to attract the best talent, to generate positive brand awareness, and to boost revenue. From minor tweaks to major overhauls, there are countless ways to improve the candidate experience. And the bottom line – every effort makes a difference.

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