In this blog post, we will be looking at how to improve candidate experience in recruitment.
Often when we think of recruitment, we look at it from the view of the recruiter. We talk about recruitment costs, sourcing great talent and even the length of the recruitment process. But more than often, the perspective of the candidate experience is overlooked.
Recruiters who fail to acknowledge the candidate experience are shooting themselves in the foot.
Because the experience companies provide throughout their recruitment process has consequences far beyond the individual applying for the role.
So what is the candidate experience?
Candidate Experience definition
The candidate experience is a reflection of the changing recruitment process happening today. Long gone are the days when the job market was business-led. Now we are witnessing a candidate-driven job market with businesses needing to compete more and more to attract the top talent.
Put simply. The candidate experience is the applicant's experience and perception of a company based on their interaction throughout the recruitment process.
Why is candidate experience important
Recruiters need to create positive experiences for candidates. This is because it's becoming harder and harder for recruiters to reach out and contact large pools of candidates with GDPR restrictions being enforced.
Recruiters need to change their tactics and introduce methods of attracting talent to them. One of the best ways to achieve this is to focus on the candidate experience and ensure candidates are engaged throughout the process.
Even if a candidate doesn't get the job, they can still be positive advocates for a company if they’ve had a great experience.
But the opposite is just as important.
72% of candidates who have bad recruitment experiences tell family and friends, not just face-to-face but also on social media!
A risk you cannot take when the influence of others is held so highly. This can even affect the company further by harming the perceptions of potential customers. You can bet unhappy candidates will steer clear of being their customers.
Benefits to recruiters who provide great candidate experiences
Other than the public image your candidate experience portrays, there are many benefits that a recruiter will receive from executing a well thought out candidate experience. These are:
Reduced time to hire
A better candidate experience typically leads to a more streamlined recruitment process. Bloated paperwork, long-drawn-out wait times and lack of communication are typically reduced or eliminated, making the length of time from application to hire much shorter. As we previously mentioned, great candidate experiences also narrow down candidate pools, making it easier for recruiters to review applicants and move onto the selection process much more swiftly than normal.
Improved onboarding and retention rates
Recruiters will find that retention rates will improve with a better candidate experience. This is because candidates find out about the company values and brand ethos very soon in the recruitment process. Allowing them to back out if it doesn’t suit their own values and beliefs. This carefully constructed process of engaging the candidate and familiarizing them with the company culture early on also creates better employee loyalty.
Happy, engaged and satisfied candidates and employees will naturally advocate for companies they are proud of and feel an alignment towards. This also means that the people they advocate will likely be of similar values and ethos. All in all, recruiters can save a huge amount of time and costs associated with acquiring suitable talent.
Higher engagement and productivity from employees
Companies who provide a positive candidate experience are more likely to carry on the positive experiences right through the HR department. Thus, ensuring all existing employees have great experiences with the company too. With high engagement between employer and employee, the result is more productivity- leading to a more successful business.
Reduced recruitment costs
You’ll find that all of the above benefits also result in great savings being made throughout the recruitment process.
How to improve candidate experience in recruitment
The process of improving the candidate experiences falls into 3 categories:
Communication between recruiters and candidates can be one of the biggest downfalls.
Let’s hit you with some candidate experience stats:
According to Talentnote, a whopping 81% of candidates felt that you would dramatically improve their recruitment experiences if recruiters communicated status updates to them. A shocking 75% of candidates who apply for a role never even hear back from the company.
Understandably, we can see why the biggest frustration for 52% of candidates is the lack of communication from recruiters.
A simple bit of communication from recruiters to candidates is all that is needed to reduce those negative feelings- regardless of how long the process is taking.
With this being said, sometimes recruiters can’t respond to all applicants instantly, so we like the ‘Two Day Rule’ initiated by Workable.com.
Recruiters need to act swiftly to ensure they reach potential candidates before they lose interest. An effective time to achieve this within is a two-day time frame. This demonstrates respect for applicants' time and gives candidates confidence that their potential recruiters will also react quickly to schedule interviews, gather feedback, and execute the entire recruitment process in a reasonable length of time. It sets the tone for the rest of the recruitment experience.
2. The interview
Next, the actual interview process itself needs to be executed well. Candidates who have great interview experiences should have clear expectations set ahead of time by the recruiter. Then these expectations should be met as planned.
According to Forbes, a big complaint from candidates is that they are left waiting with schedules usually suiting the company's needs, not the candidate. Candidates shouldn’t be left in the unknown about when they’ll be seen or how long they need to be waiting. They should be the most important part of the interview, and they should feel like it too.
Next, you should explain the role clearly, and the candidate should leave the interview with a good understanding of the role and the different requirements of the job.
3. The follow-up
It’s a given that successful candidates get a follow-up. However, it’s crucial to the candidate experience that unsuccessful candidates are informed that they didn’t get the role, but they receive adequate feedback.
The feedback needs to be open, honest and clear on the reasons why they were unsuccessful. Recruiters must give candidates reasons why they didn’t meet the needs of the job; they will appreciate the chance to work on their faults for future interviews.
The follow-up after an interview is all part of the candidate experience.
This leads us to the topic of candidate nurturing.
What is candidate nurturing?
Candidate nurturing is similar to marketing lead nurturing, where the same principles are applied to candidates instead of customers. All intend to attract, engage, and hire better talent. We call this in recruitment- the pull approach.
More and more employees are passively job searching and leaving jobs. Engaging and nurturing these potential candidates is crucial to the candidate nurturing process.
Beamery uses a simple analogy to explain this.
Even though you may be tied into a new 24-month contract with iPhone, Samsung still tries to convince you their phone is a great fit for you. This is because Samsung knows that you’ll be looking for a new upgrade down the line, and they want to stay in your mind for when you’re ready.
The point to take from this example is simple, even though candidates may not be actively looking to change jobs now, organisations should continue to talk to them to plant the seeds for when they do. We mentioned this earlier in this article. We live in a market of job hoppers. Back in the day, loyalty to one organisation for your entire working career was important. Today it is not. People will go through countless different jobs with different organisations throughout their working life.
To back this up, statistics show that passive talent makes up 70% of the global workforce! Organisations who prioritise candidate nurturing are getting access to the 70%, while reactive recruiters are left competing for the small 30% of active job seekers.
Beginning a relationship with future potential candidates is ideal for the nurturing process. People can digest your culture, values and other selling points over a long period of time. Allowing them to become familiar with the organisation on their own terms.
How does candidate nurturing work?
Candidate nurturing uses many tools and forms of communication to build that relationship with passive talent early on. You’ll see many recruiters utilizing these tools in the form of social media, email, and so much more.
Keep in mind that any tools used to enhance the three stages of the buyer's journey, such as awareness, consideration and decision stages, will enable you to nurture candidates more effectively. Viewing candidates as buyers will allow companies to incorporate new processes to capture their interest.
Social media shapes how an organisation is perceived. Organisations who invest in their social image have almost devout followers, who not only attach themselves to the company brand but desire to work for them too. We call this cultural alignment.
Social media is also an incredible platform to interact with potential customers and candidates. You can initiate conversations, and companies can reply and engage with online queries. - An opportunity they would otherwise miss.
Passive job searchers are not likely to be active on job boards. They’ll more likely engage with organisations and see job openings through social media.
Regular email surveys help organisations understand how your organisation is perceived with valuable insights into improving the candidate experience.
This has two positives- it allows people to feel valued and helps organisations strengthen their organisational brand. Please keep a lookout as we’ll next write a blog post on candidate experience surveys.
Personalisation of job ads through email marketing is also a key aspect of candidate nurturing. Therefore, it's a good idea to set up methods of capturing people's email addresses through blog subscriptions, newsletters or even free downloadable content through a subscription service.
Companies should aim to create content that showcases their company culture.
Nurturing programs should be personal. It’s advised companies employ a CRMs system (A Candidate Relationship Management). This speeds up and automates processes that help organisations identify, target and engage potential candidates. These tools also provide fantastic analytics to measure engagement.
Companies should capture potential candidates the same way they capture website visitors. This can include a simple email campaign for a potential candidate to apply for a job posting! Each time a candidate demonstrates interest in a company's content, a CRM system can be designed to react to these interactions and prompt further interaction.
Make the application easy for passive job searchers
The best way for organisations to nurture candidates is to contact them before they even realise they want to apply for a job with the company.
This means organisations will be targeting passive job searchers. The recruitment process should be made as easy as possible. That’s where remote technology comes in.
Video interviews are on the rise! It is easier and more convenient for passive job searchers to record their job interview at a time and place suitable to them and their busy schedules.
Candidate nurturing and the candidate experience
The candidate experience needs a little nurturing from organisations to create positive recruitment processes.
Going the extra mile to put in all the foreground work can potentially save thousands of recruitment costs.
But more importantly, it creates a positive company image and brand that stretches far past the recruitment stage.
We hope you enjoyed this post on how to improve candidate experience in recruitment. If so, we'd very much appreciate it if you share this post on your social media!