Recruiting quality people hinges on the Candidate Experience

Monday, June 08, 2015
The Candidate Experience is integral to recruitment. A positive one can see you win the best talent from competitors, but a thoughtless one will lose you good candidates and damage your brand...

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 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.

More and more so, your applicants aren’t all that desperate to join you. They have a job already. The best ones could take you or leave you, no skin off their nose. If the candidate experience is poor, cream of the crop talent will self-eject (or not even apply at all) and look for opportunity elsewhere.

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:


Data from 2015 LinkedIn Talent Trends study - Australia & New Zealand report

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.

Stay connected after interview day

According to LinkedIn's 2015 Talent Trends study, close to 50% of candidates want to hear from you periodically, even if there’s nothing new to share!  Are you capitalising on that? Do you add the best unsuccessful candidates to an email newsletter list? This is the perfect opportunity to build a talent pool. Communicate with the 'runner-ups', and you'll keep them engaged for future opportunities. 

Need some help?

As NZ's foremost specialists in marketing the workplace, our team can help with well-designed, well-written auto replies and template emails, copywriting and graphic design for inspiring Job Ads, Careers Website design and development, regular email newsletters to talent databases, and more. 

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