Candidate experience covers every touchpoint in your recruiting process, starting from before an application is submitted to employee onboarding. If you deliver a poor candidate experience, you can negatively impact your organization's ability to hire talent. The 2017 North American Talent Board Candidate Experience Benchmark Report surveyed 180,000 job seekers and found that 61% of candidates will share their negative experiences with their inner circles, and 77% will share their positive experiences with their significant others, close friends, colleagues, peers, etc.
These days, candidates have more choice and more specific requirements when it comes down to deciding whether or not to work at a company. When you create a positive candidate experience, candidates trust you and will be more loyal to your organization. Also, 4 out of 5 candidates (78%) say the overall candidate experience they receive is an indicator of how a company values its people. When they are employees (as long as their employee experience is great!), they can become advocates for your organization and can help improve your employer brand. With a great employer brand, you can authentically distinguish your company as an employer of choice. Sounds like some excellent benefits of candidate experience.
There are many ways you can improve your candidate experience and we get that you can't necessarily do it all. Before you dive into things, we recommend starting with a Candidate Experience Checklistso you can review your process from the shoes of a candidate. In this checklist, you’ll get questions to ask yourself and your team at every stage of your hiring process. When you’ve completed the checklist, it will be clear where you can start improving your candidate experience. Get your checklist here.
Now that you've completed your checklist, here are the best ways to improve your candidate experience to take it from "so-so" to AMAZE-ING! [INFOGRAPHIC]
Want more? Keep reading for even more advice on how to improve your candidate experience.
How to improve your candidate experience
Focus on your employer brand
Every company has an employer brand which defined as the identity of a company as an employer of choice. Employer branding is the process of promoting a company, or an organization, as an employer of choice to ideal candidates. There are many ways to promote your employer brand but it must be true, credible, and authentic. Essentially, it starts from within. If you feel you have a strong employer brand, start by making it known via employer review sites such as Glassdoor or Kununu. Simply create an account and ask your employees to provide honest reviews. If you’re not sure where your employer brand stands, start first by conducting an internal employer engagement survey. Typeform has a great template to get you started.
Your employees can be your greatest advocates, so encourage them to share their experiences. Start small with gathering employee testimonials for your careers page, either as statements or better yet video testimonials! If your company is active on LinkedIn or if you have an active blog, ask your employees to share their experiences via articles. One great idea from our friends at Hubspot includes Employee Takeovers where you can let an employee takeover your Instagram account for a day - here's how they do it. Whatever you decide, do what feels right for your company. The goal of employer branding is to give candidates an honest, inside look at what it’s like to work for your organization. For more employer branding ideas, check out our recent guide - Easy Employer Branding Tactics You Can Start Today - created in partnership with Kununu.
Make a good first impression
Your first impression is everything! There are a few things you can do to improve your organization's first impression on candidates. The best thing you can do is update your careers site. If the careers section on your website is hard to discover or if it has zero content about what it’s like to work at your organization, then you need to put some time and energy into this. Common factors that drive talent to apply include attractive benefits and perks (48%) and company culture (35%). So go ahead, share it all on your careers site, include images, perks and benefits, employee testimonials, and more. Just make sure it’s easy to use and mobile-friendly.
Your first impression is also important in your social channels. In fact, 59% of candidates use social media to research companies they're interested in. Instagram is a great social channel to show off your company culture and values. Check out these great Instagram accounts - PeopleLikeUs and Slack. Facebook is also awesome for this and you can include your job openings right on your company page. LinkedIn and Medium are great places to share your employee’s articles about what it’s like to work at your company.
Be super clear in your job description
Your job description is meant to attract candidates and it’s important for you to be as clear as possible for what the role entails. So, when you’re writing your job description, write it with the candidate in mind! Be engaging and specific about your qualifications. It’s also a good idea to see how inclusive your job posting really is. We highly recommend you run it through the augmented writing tool Textio. It will help you draw the most qualified and diverse talent pool from the city where you’re hiring and type of role your filling.
Prepare Your Candidates
Please be as clear as possible during your hiring process. In fact, research shows that 83% of candidates say it would greatly improve their overall experience if employers could be clear about their expectations. When a person knows what they’re up for, they’ll be more at ease with less self-doubt, nervousness, and confusion. So, communicate next steps with your candidates, promptly! The #1 frustration for candidates is the lack of response from employers (cited by 52% of all job seekers in a CareerBuilder Survey). A great way to really understand what your candidates need is to map out their experience with a Candidate Experience Journey Map. Rally Recruitment Marketing has a great template you can use. Get it here.
Upgrade Your Apply Process
A lengthy and outdated application process negatively impacts candidate experience. In fact, 60 percent of job seekers quit in the middle of filling out online job applications because of their length or complexity.Focus on what it’s like for your candidate to apply for job. Put yourself in their shoes. They’re about to embark on applying for your company, they’re likely unsure about how long it will take or what they will need to have prepared ahead of time. Let's give them a hint on how long it will take to apply and if it takes them longer than anticipated, give them a chance to save their application as a draft to complete later. Before they begin the application, give them a summary of what they can expect before applying. Do this in your job description, so they will clearly know what to expect.
A great user experience can go miles when it comes to online application. If your current hiring technology is outdated and not mobile-friendly, explore other options that can make the application more seamless. It’s a big turn-off for candidates to have to click a million different places before even getting to the application page, and my goodness, let’s not ask them to hand over their personal info before applying. Give them a choice to create an account, after the application is completed, not before.
Improve Your Interview Experience
Do you know that 83% of talent say a negative interview experience can change their mind about a role or company they once liked. It's up to you to make sure it's a positive experience! Think about it this way, interviews are by far one of the most unnatural situations for people. People meet in person or over video and both are assessing everything said and not said. The anxiety candidates feel can be equivalent to how you’d feel at an audition. You’re on stage, there for everyone to see and judge.
So, why not remove some of the anxiety and create some comfort by giving candidates a good idea of what the interview will entail. Give them a few sample questions and let them know ahead of time who will be interviewing them. Some companies even go so far as to include a video of the interviewers in the invitation email. Or you can provide them a pdf of the typical interview structure so they clearly know what to expect.
It must go without saying that a structured interview is an absolute must. You need to have the same questions for every candidate so you can easily assess objectively. Here’s a great interview scorecard you can use! Get it here.
Examine Your Candidate Experience
After you close your job, examine your candidate experience by surveying all candidates. Don’t be afraid of what they might be say! It’s better to know than not know right?! Candidates who didn’t get the job would greatly appreciate the chance to be heard, and the fact that you’re showing that you care about their experience can go miles in terms of improving your employer brand. This approach, also keeps you accountable. If you leave candidates in the dark, you know what the result will be. If you engage with all of your candidates, you might be pleasantly surprised with what they share. We absolutely love using Typeform for our surveys. It’s easy to set up and the user experience is incredible on mobile, making it super easy for your candidates to complete it. The reports are great too!
Let's prioritize candidate experience
In summary, we highly suggest you prioritize candidate experience going forward. It’s hands-down the best way for you to compete in today’s war for talent. Candidates deserve more and you can deliver an experience that is second to none.