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Optimizing the Candidate Experience

The hiring process is stressful for both sides. Job seekers are putting their talents and career future on the line, so they’re in an extremely vulnerable place. Employers are investing considerable resources to find the right talent. Yet many organizations continue to underestimate the power and importance of the candidate experience. A positive experience is brilliant marketing, while a negative one is the catalyst to a poor corporate reputation.

Candidates who are hired after a positive experience hit the ground running and tend to have a strong sense of long-term loyalty to their new organization. Those who are not hired walk away feeling respected and are much more likely to recommend other talent to the business.

The Talent Board recently surveyed more than 45,000 candidates to learn more about their interactions with prospective employers. Of those who reported positive experiences:

  • 61 percent said they would actively encourage colleagues to apply to their organization.
  • 40 percent reported they would buy more goods and services sold by the company even if they had not been hired.
  • 50 percent noted that they would share their experience.

Among candidates who had negative experiences:

  • 27 percent planned to actively discourage others from applying.
  • 30 percent said they would buy less goods and services from the company.
  • 32 percent indicated they would broadcast the details.

Make it Personal

Keep the candidate experience front and center at all times. The more you understand and design the process from the job seeker’s point of view, the better.

  • Communicate. Seventy-seven percent of online candidates never get a response to their application – not even a form reply. Simply bringing respect and courtesy into your hiring process can significantly boost your brand. An astounding 90 percent of candidates who felt they were treated with a personal touch noted that they would encourage others to join the company.
  • Be honest and transparent. Keep candidates in the loop by explaining every step of your recruitment process. Always meet your established deadlines and markers. If anything changes, notify candidates in a prompt, direct fashion.
  • Flexibility is essential. Some of the best talent out there is idiosyncratic or eccentric. There is no candidate cookie cutter, nor should your hiring process be rigid. The last thing you want to do is lose stellar talent for bureaucratic reasons.
  • Provide a sense of warmth and inclusion. Try to predict questions and hurdles and provide updates before they arise. Watch your body language. Show candidates you’re there for them, not a thousand miles away in all but a physical sense. Candidates respond more favorably when they realize they are your priority.
  • Wait your turn to speak. Actively listen to candidates and hear them out. They should do up to 90 percent of the speaking during an interview. Know when it’s your turn to respond.

Seek Feedback

Your goal is to hire people who will naturally mesh with your corporate culture. Seek as much feedback from as many sources as possible in order to achieve this goal.

  • Ask the candidates. Inquire about your hiring process with both candidates you hire and those you do not. Turn on those listening skills again, then respond and keep tweaking your process to make it better.
  • Involve your current workforce. Enlist high-performing employees in designing and implementing your recruitment strategy. Have promising candidates meet with their possible future teammates including peers, supervisors and direct reports.
  • Monitor social media. Almost three quarters of candidates share their experiences online. The same percentage consider the look and feel of job postings as influencers in the decision whether or not to apply. Stay on top of social media from every angle and carefully watch every venue and platform.

The right search consultant can be an invaluable partner as you fine-tune your hiring process to achieve the ultimate candidate experience. Contact the team at BrainWorks today to learn more.

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