The candidate experience contains all of the touch points between a candidate and an employer during the hiring stage. According to Forbes, “42% of candidates will not apply for a position at a company if they’ve had a bad experience during the hiring process.” A positive candidate experience can help attract the best talent to your organization, boost retention rates, and facilitate a strong company culture.
College Recruiter recently asked career experts for three tips for employers who wish to create a positive candidate experience. Ann Goodrich-Bazan, Associate Director, Career Education in the Lloyd & Helen Ament Astmann Career Center at Franklin Pierce University in New Hampshire offered these three tips:
1) Employers should help candidates understand the company culture with authentic stories.
Recent college and university grads have been inundated with marketing messages from companies that are trying to sell them products from the time they were born. They are savvy and can sometimes be distrustful because they’ve been so inundated. Companies that appear to be selling their workplace with that same ‘marketing speak’ can therefore be viewed as untrustworthy as well by these young job candidates.
Gen Z is also interested in working for a company whose culture matches their own values-which may include work-life balance, commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion, and a strong sense of community. They will be looking for concrete examples of ways in which the company culture reflects those values not only in the mission, but also in the day-to-day setting. Understand that some basic online research by a job candidate can often bring up broad sweeping flowery mission statements from your company as well as disgruntled employee reviews. Employers should help these candidates understand what their organization is really all about.
2) Embrace flexibility.
Over the past two years, Gen Zers have been asked to learn and work in unprecedented times. They have had both challenges and successes, as well as hurdles and sometimes heartache. They may have strong opinions about the work environment that they will feel has the potential to be the most successful or they may be open to different types of work settings. Employers should consider that these candidates often already know how they work best. They know how they can be most successful. This may start with a conversation during the interview and application process. Inquire as part of your initial contact with applicants whether they would prefer a phone, video or in-person interview when you can offer that flexibility in your hiring schedule. Invite applicants to describe how they work best and encourage them to describe their preferences. Consider whether your workplace can allow for all types of workers in a way that is inclusive and flexible.
3) Speak to opportunities for growth.
Recent college graduates have a thirst for learning and some of them may be feeling more than a bit insecure about their success in the workforce after the upheaval in their education as a result of the pandemic. Gen Zers thrive on praise, mentoring, and personal development. During the interview process, describe the ways in which they will be trained, the opportunities for professional networking, and ongoing training both in-house and those with professional associations.
During onboarding, connect them with a mentor and introduce them to colleagues who are committed to employee development and supporting new employees. Be open to describing opportunities for evaluation, promotion and merit raises early in the process such as the interview, not just after an employee has already joined your workforce.