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Smashing the candidate experience...and why it matters

Martin

Let’s put it in simple terms. Candidate experience refers to the feelings a person has about your company whilst or having engaged with your hiring process.

These feelings can never be downplayed or dismissed as they play a vital role in whether the candidate goes on to apply for and/or accept a job offer that you’ve advertised. It’s the reason that developing an outstanding candidate experience is critical for attracting top talent.

Though many agencies and employers work hard to refine the experience they provide, some still flounder in the simplest areas. Providing a good candidate experience helps your business remain competitive. A truly outstanding one will make sure you stand out from the pack.

In this piece, we give you seven top tips to help ensure that even unsuccessful candidates maintain a great impression of your business.

Keep it clear and concise.

Clear and to-the-point job descriptions are an essential component in the early stages of the recruitment process. Whether it’s around salary, responsibilities, experience, or skills required, candidates like to know exactly what’s expected and what they can expect.

No candidate will appreciate having applied for a job they liked the look of and felt they were qualified for, only to be rejected because a core skill they do not possess was not specified on the job description.

It’s also important that you take the time to acquire a thorough understanding of the role being advertised. This will prove to the candidate how valuable they’ll be to the organisation, rather than getting the impression that they’ll be just another face in the annual team photo.

Make it easy.

So, you’ve written a stellar, super engaging job advert. Well done. But how easy is it for candidates to find and apply for?

If your job adverts are buried somewhere in the third, fourth or fifth search results page or aren’t properly displayed, you are failing at the first hurdle of creating a great candidate experience. Forcing people to go out of their way to find your jobs will only have them heading to your competitors instead.

The same can be said for your application process. If your candidates must trawl through reams of unnecessary and poorly worded questions, they won’t be your candidates for long.

Communicate.

Once a candidate has applied for a job, you need to stay in regular contact with them. A simple thank you acknowledging their interest with a roundabout time they can expect to hear back, will always be appreciated. 

Obviously, tailored replies to each candidate is the ultimate goal, but when hundreds of applications are incoming, it’s just not possible. Nevertheless, with early, intelligent communication a fantastic candidate experience can still be achieved.

Help your candidates out.

Once a shortlist for a job role has been drawn up, send an email to each candidate detailing what they can expect from the interview process. Include a clear set of instructions for how they can prepare, where they need to go on the day, and what they need to bring.

 

Interviews are a nerve-jangling experience for even the most assured candidates. Instructing them with times, dress code, and type of interview questions to expect can help settle anxieties. Their candidate experience will also be mightily enhanced from it.

Don’t forget your candidates.

Ghosting doesn’t only happen on Tinder. Recruiters do it too. Though it may be the easy way out where many applications have been received, it leaves candidates feeling abandoned and disrespected. Certainly never do it after an interview.

Candidates who’ve been ghosted rarely come back. This means the company ends up losing people who could have been perfect for other roles. Moreover, candidates talk to each other and share their experiences. The more candidates you ghost, the fewer you’ll find applying for roles.

Though rejecting applicants may mark the end of a particular hiring process, it’s important that rejections are handled respectfully to protect the candidate experience.

Never leave a candidate feeling frustrated or ill-informed about their application. Doing so hurts you in the long run more than it hurts them.

Get some feedback.

Providing quality feedback to unsuccessful candidates is the practice of the best recruitment firms. It provides them with the information needed to improve and understand why they missed out on a role.

Asking candidates for feedback can provide compelling insight for how you can improve your process. It also demonstrates a human side to the business and that the candidate’s input is valued. This strengthens the connection you have with your candidate and boosts their experience, whether they got the job or not.

Maintain engagement.

Maintain contact with those applicants who reach the final stages of a recruitment process but just fall short. Let them know about other relevant roles that you’re recruiting for either now or in the future. They might have been the wrong candidate this time, but they could be a perfect fit for another role.

Missing out on a job at the final step can be devastating. However, the boost you can give unsuccessful candidates by assuring them you’ll keep in contact regarding future roles can take the edge off the heartbreak.

Businesses that prioritise their candidates’ needs by providing outstanding experiences rarely struggle with their hiring efforts. With skills shortages still widespread in the UK, attracting quality talent is essential.

Fashioning a best-in-class candidate experience goes a long way to helping you do just this.

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