• Why employers should focus on improving the candidate experience

    June 01, 2017 by

    Candidate experience, according to Jibe, is defined as “how job seekers perceive and react to employers’ sourcing, recruiting, interviewing, hiring, and onboarding processes.”

    Why candidate experience matters

    Improving the candidate experience should be at the top of every Talent Acquisition Director’s recruitment and retention strategy. It’s that important. Want more proof? Check out these statistics from Lever, which provides software that streamlines the hiring process and simplifies the Applicant Tracking System:

    1. 83% of talent say a negative interview experience can change their mind about a role or company they once liked, while 87% of talent say a positive interview experience can change their mind about a role or company they once doubted.
    2. 60% of job seekers have quit an application in the middle due to its length or complexity.
    3. 72% of hiring managers say they provide clear job descriptions, while only 36% of candidates say the same.
    4. 80% of job seekers say they would be discouraged to consider other relevant job openings at a company that failed to notify them of their application status. Yet, they would be 3.5 times more likely to re-apply to a company if they were notified.
    5. Talent is 4 times more likely to consider your company for a future opportunity when you offer them constructive feedback.

    Employers looking to reduce attrition, hire high volume in cost-effective ways, and develop low-cost tactics to recruit diverse talent, need to pay close attention to improving the candidate experience.

    “Candidate experience is everything,” says Sanjoe Jose, CEO at Talview, a digital interviewing, talent engagement, and hiring analytics software company. “The most important aspect of improving the candidate experience is recognizing that you’re not just dealing with candidates, you’re dealing with people. They want respect. Respect their time and efforts. Don’t make them take a day’s leave and travel for a first round interview, use tools. They want clarity on timelines and the process. Respond to their queries in near real-time, by using technology like chatbots.”

    Candidate experience touch points

    These scenarios all influence the candidate experience:

    • The experience a candidate has reading a job description and instructions given on the job description.
    • The simplicity – or difficulty – of using an applicant tracking system to apply for that job.
    • The introductory email or auto respond email that is generated after the application is submitted.
    • Follow-up communication, such as being called for a phone interview, or in-person interview. Or, a follow-up email notifying the candidate they weren’t selected to advance in the process.
    • The interview – how the candidate is greeted and treated in the interview.
    • Post-interview follow-up – is the candidate kept informed of timeline/when a decision will be made?
    • Presentation of an offer.

    The candidate experience helps build an employer brand,” says Jose. “Even if people don’t want to work for you, a good candidate experience can lead to them becoming ‘brand ambassadors’ passing on the good news about your company to others that might be interested.”

    And people are certainly going to share their candidate experiences online via social channels.

    “Social media means that people talk more now than ever before,” says Jose. “It means that word of mouth is now global, rather than local.”

    Improving the candidate experience

    There are three main components to a candidate experience, says Jose, and understanding the role each component plays can help employers and talent acquisition specialists present a strong candidate experience:

    1. People: Including recruiters, hiring managers, and even the receptionist who is the first person the candidate meets if he/she comes into your office.
    2. Systems: All the tools candidates use during the process impact the candidate experience, including: The applicant tracking system used to apply for the job, tools used for video interviews, assessments and/or onboarding tools, are all a part of the many systems employers use that relate to the candidate experience.
    3. Process: The efficiency of the process, turnaround times, automated messaging, followup are all part of the candidate process.

    Improving all of those is essential to improving the candidate experience.

    Jose recently heard from the CEO of a large technology company who said one frustrated candidate wrote to the CEO expressing disappointment in the lack of follow-up after an interview. This is a prime example of a poor candidate experience. If it happens to one person, it’s likely happening to others.

    That has both long and short-term effects.

    “In the short-term, candidates will drop from the funnel,” says Jose. “In the long-term, a poor candidate experience leads to a poor ability to attract good candidates.”

    And then the cycle continues, recruiting costs go up, attrition rises, positions go unfilled, and the company suffers.

    “Every single candidate touch point—the online application experience, each interaction with the scheduler, the preparedness of the interviewers, the turnaround time in communicating with candidates, the way an offer is delivered—reflects on the employer,” said Elaine Orler, CEO and founder of talent acquisition consultancy Talent Function, in an SHRM article. “If you’re missing the mark, the world soon knows about it…and highly skilled people juggling competing offers will certainly factor their experience as a candidate into their final decision, so it impacts offer acceptance rates.”

    That’s why improving the candidate experience should be the goal of every employer, and every talent acquisition specialist.

    Want more advice and tips on how to improve the candidate experience? Stay connected to College Recruiter by visiting our blog, and connect with us on LinkedInTwitterFacebook, and YouTube.

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