So, first - what is the Candidate Experience?
Simply put, it’s every candidate’s experience as they apply, interview, and on-board with your company. And it begins the moment they see your vacancy.
Why is it more important now than ever?Today’s workers are staying far more connected to and open to job opportunities, even when they’re gainfully employed and satisfied in their current role. Or, as Indeed.com put it when they released the latest findings of their huge global talent attraction study: “No one is ‘passive’ about their career in 2015.”
That same study found that 58% of adults look at jobs at least monthly. They’re doing their research on organisations they’d like to join, keeping an ear and an eye out for opportunities, and if something feels like it might be a good fit and a good move, they’ll apply.
Before they even apply...
The best candidates are going to judge your organisation and your opportunity right from the job ad. These are some of the biggest turn-offs - are you guilty of any of them?
Overly formal, dry writing or too much ‘management speak’ and buzzwords
A Job Ad (or Careers website) that doesn’t sell the culture, values and personality of the workplace
A Job Ad that doesn’t sell the employee benefits
Making it difficult for them to reach out to someone personally (a real person, to ask questions or discuss role) – especially for senior level roles, when more often than not the candidate will want to discuss the opportunity before applying
Unclear application instructions
Extremely long application forms
No confirmation email when application is received
No communication when application is unsuccessful
No updates on the status of their application
No feedback on why the candidate wasn’t selected
No information about interview/hiring process, or timeframes for these
Minimal job description (or a full job description is not quick and easy to access)
Impressions are formed at Interviews
LinkedIn's 2015 Talent Trends study (especially the Australia & New Zealand report) had some excellent insights on the candidate experience – one being the huge impact the interview phase has on talent’s final decision.
Candidates don’t want to just meet the recruiter, either (only 5% want to meet the recruiter) – they want to meet their prospective manager. And here’s what else they’d like:
Feedback is Fundamental
Don’t just think about how well you treat the 5 finalists – as Chris Forman, CEO of StartWire says: “how you treat the 45 that you didn’t hire may ultimately impact your ability to hire the applicant you want.”
At the very least, every single applicant deserves an email so they know they've been unsuccessful. That really takes no more than a couple of hours to set up a well-written, branded email template, and then 5 minutes at most to personalise the template a little and send. Offering feedback shows you respect your candidates and their time. And today, when every person has a social media network and professional peers to talk to, a little disrespect can travel a long way.