Four tips to improve your candidate experience

Improve your candidate experience with recruiting

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By Paul Molony, Business Engagement Manager at JobAdder

There is a growing trend amid recruiters to focus on the candidate experience during the hiring process. After all, recruitment is your chance to make a first impression to potential employees. So, what do you need to do to ensure you create a positive candidate experience and secure top talent?

Consider the jobseeker journey

We’ve all been jobseekers at some point in our lives. We’ve scoured job boards for roles that sound interesting, we’ve pored over every word of an organisation’s website in preparation for an interview and we’ve gone through the, at times, painstaking process of completing online application forms.

Now that you’re on the other side of that fence, have you considered the process your job applicants have to go through? Is the process streamlined and user-friendly? If you have an option for online application forms via your website, are they usable for both desktop and mobile users?

If you have an option for online applications and you can’t answer the above with a definite ‘yes’ then consider implementing the following:

  1. Have someone on your team go through your application process on your site to  highlight any roadblocks users might encounter.
  2. Make a note of where changes could be made to the application process that would still provide you with the required information in a more efficient manner. For example, you might be able to verify a candidate’s tertiary qualifications via LinkedIn rather than asking for electronic copies. Make sure you’re only asking for information you need, and not creating unnecessary form fields.
  3. Ensure the mobile experience is as user-friendly as it could be. Consider how candidates need to navigate your mobile site in order to complete an application form. What works on a website might not be conducive to a mobile platform.
  4. Ensure candidates have a clear understanding of what the next step is after they submit a job application. Make it clear when, how and if the candidate can expect to hear from you.

Be upfront and transparent about your recruitment process

There’s a certain amount of give and take that happens during the hiring process.

Candidates, now more than ever, expect a certain level of transparency and communication.

When you’re pressed for time, it can be difficult to answer all the queries a modern candidate sends through. The first step to mitigating some of these queries is to make the hiring process as straightforward and transparent as possible.

Here are four tips to get ahead of an endless stream of candidate calls or emails.

  1. Make the job description as clear as possible
    Unless you want to be fielding phone calls with follow up questions, make sure your job description clearly answers common questions candidates may have about the role, such as: what’s the process after they submit their application; what hours are you offering; where are you based? If you find you’re getting the same questions from candidates it’s a good indicator that this information should be included in the job description.  
  2. Be honest and open about the hiring process
    In addition to outlining the process in the job description, make sure any interviewees are clear on what happens next, what the decision-making process is and how long the hiring process will take. If you require multiple interviews, make sure they’re aware of that, and also ensure that they understand when and if they will hear from you.
  3. Provide feedback after interviews
    If you interview a candidate, make some time to provide them with feedback on the process. Let them know what they did well, and how they could improve for next time.
  4. Create an FAQ page for candidates

A good example of this is Google’s How we Hire. The page answers common questions in the recruitment process and will help you avoid repeating yourself.

Speed up the hiring process

How long does it take you to fill a role? According to LinkedIn’s 2017 global recruiting trends report, 67 per cent of hires take between one and four months.  

What that suggests is that 30 per cent of companies are able to find, interview and make an offer to a candidate in less than a month. Those that can’t are running the risk of losing quality candidates.

So, how do you speed up the process?

  1. Be clear and concise with your job description – the more information you can provide upfront, the less likely you’ll get candidates who are the wrong fit.
  2. Be ruthless – only invite viable candidates to the time-consuming interview stage.
  3. Consider checking references early – you don’t need to wait until an offer is made. Checking references early may help you decide whether to push a candidate to the next stage or not.
  4. Group multiple interviews into one day – if the interview process requires three or more meetings with the candidate and various members of staff, consider grouping interviews into one all-day assessment and make an offer at the end of that process. No waiting for the candidate and no wasting time between interviews to schedule staff in.

Learn from mistakes

Whether it be Glassdoor, Google or Feefo, you are bound to read some eye-wateringly bad experiences from candidates who have been burnt during the job-hunting process.

Sadly, many reviews go unnoticed, which means that these experiences continue.

What can be done to mitigate this and ensure candidates don’t tar your organisation’s hiring process?

It can be as simple as managing expectations. When you next meet with a potential hire, start by asking them about their previous experiences. Try and get to the core of their criticism; it may be that they didn’t receive feedback, hated the length of time it took to be notified of the job outcome or didn’t receive the direction they felt they required.

Once you know what these expectations are, go out of your way to meet them. Create a system where these can be addressed to the best of your ability.

For example, if a frequent complaint is about the need for acknowledgment of a CV being received, set up an automatic response that ensures candidates are not left in the dark. This can be as simple as creating an email template that you are able to send out in a couple of clicks.

Similarly, while it’s ideal to provide each candidate with feedback, if this is just too time-consuming for you, you should at least ensure the candidate gets closure – update or notify all candidates on where their job application is in the process, including if they have not made the final cut.  

While technology is beginning to play a big part in a candidate’s experience during the hiring process, at the heart of the matter is the need for candidates to feel acknowledged and heard. Keeping this front of mind will ensure that the experience is a positive one for both you and for the candidate.  

By Paul Molony, Business Engagement Manager at JobAdder

JobAdder is built on the premise that “recruitment doesn’t have to be so hard”. Built exclusively for the web, JobAdder aims to remove the clicks and the clutter, and create beautiful, easy to use interfaces, providing world class customer support for people in HR and recruitment. JobAdder was a Gold Partner of the 2018 Not-For-Profit People Conference

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