Make candidate experience part of your recruitment strategy!

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Guidance for Employers

Posted 20.02.19

candidate experience

What’s your ‘candidate experience’ like? When a potential recruit makes first contact with your organisation about a job, are you able to keep them engaged throughout the recruitment process?

It doesn’t matter how attractive your job opportunity is, how exciting your work environment and culture is or how fantastic your employee benefits are; if your candidate experience falls short you risk talented individuals dropping out before you’ve had a chance to make them an offer.

Here’s a quick reminder of best practices and what a great candidate experience looks like.

Improve your candidate experience with these best practices

Promote your employer brand

Your careers site or webpage is the perfect place to showcase your employer brand and attract candidates to your organisation. As well as posting job opportunities, you can also point candidates to this site to maintain engagement throughout the process.

Include information about your corporate values and company culture. Highlight what it’s like to work for your organisation including benefits, career progression and work environment, and feature real life stories from your team.

Align your job descriptions and ads with your candidates’ key drivers

Job advertisements and descriptions are essentially a marketing tool to attract candidates to your role and convert them into potential employees. As with any marketing materials you want them to attract the right candidates, so no one wastes time on an application that’s not going anywhere. Crucially job ads and descriptions need sell your job and organisation to the top talent in the market.

Make sure they’re aligned with your employer brand – consistency between all content and communications is important to ensure candidates stay engaged. Make sure content is honest and transparent, candidates will drop out of the recruitment process if they suspect you’ve exaggerated the opportunity or haven’t been entirely truthful about the role.

Remember your recruitment materials need to attract and engage candidates, they want to know what’s in it for them, not just what you want. Identify the key drivers your ideal candidate has and how your role supports them, and highlight these aspects in your materials.

Make it easy for candidates to apply for your job

The application process should not be a challenge. Don’t expect candidates to jump through numerous hoops for a chance of an interview. Top candidates are in high demand and don’t need to.

If you’re using an application form, keep it simple and quick to complete. Make sure it’s mobile friendly as many people search for jobs on a mobile device in their spare time (such as when they’re commuting to and from work). If possible, offer alternative ways to apply – email a CV, apply using LinkedIn etc.

Manage expectations throughout the recruitment process

Great communication keeps candidates engaged so make sure they know what to expect at every stage of the process. For example, send a prompt acknowledgement that you’ve received their application and give them a clear idea of what the next step is. If it’s going to be a couple of weeks before your team can review applications and move on to the next step, send a reminder or update to keep prospects engaged with your job opportunity.

Promptly send out rejections so you can focus on engaging your shortlisted candidates

It’s sometimes the case that the least suitable candidate is the most engaged with your job! Therefore it’s best practice to not leave candidates hanging, and deal with them promptly and honestly. A rejection is part of their candidate experience so be fair and make sure your communications reflect your organisation’s values and employer brand. Remember that they may not be a suitable candidate for this role, but could be for a future opportunity, or might refer colleagues or associates to your company.

Make your interview process relevant and valuable for candidate and employer

Structure your interview process so that it takes candidates through a logical process towards a job offer, managing their expectations at every stage. Make sure it’s relevant and that candidates don’t feel like you’re wasting their time. For example, avoid asking the same questions at the 1st and 2nd interview, and ensure that interviews are attended by the right members of your hiring team. Structure interviews so the candidate gets value from the process by learning more about your organisation, the job, the people and culture, and whether the role is right for them. As with all stages of the recruitment process, streamline interviews as much as possible for a quicker and more effective process.

Don’t lose candidates at the last hurdle!

Schedule time to discuss candidates and make a decision as quickly as possible after the last interview, and make the successful candidate a verbal offer asap. Follow this up promptly with a written offer and contract if appropriate, making it easy for the candidate to sign and return immediately.

Any discussions about starting dates and notice periods will probably have been had during an interview, but if not get on the phone or email the candidate straightaway to get things moving.

Keep the candidate engaged throughout the onboarding process with regular communications, invitations to meet the team, social events etc. etc. Make sure they don’t have any opportunity to question whether accepting your job offer was the right decision!

I hope this has given you a few ideas of how to improve the candidate experience and keep top candidates engaged throughout your recruitment process. If you have any questions or would like further support, please get in touch.

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