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improving the candidate experience should be the goal of every employer, and every talent acquisition specialist. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

Posted June 01, 2017 by

Why employers should focus on improving the candidate experience

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.

Applicant tracking systems can help employers with their campus recruiting needs. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

Posted March 30, 2017 by

How to use your applicant tracking system for college recruiting success

 

It’s no secret the advancement of technology has changed the recruiting game. The use of applicant tracking systems (ATS) – software applications that enable the electronic handling of a company’s recruitment needs – are responsible for the technological recruiting revolution. As outlined by ICIMS, a provider of cloud-based hiring solutions, ATS recruitment “allow organizations to collect and store candidate and job related data and track and monitor the process of candidates through all stages of the hiring process.”

ATS recruitment is designed to enhance the overall recruiting experience for both recruiters and candidates. But forward-thinking employers recruiting recent college grads focus on the job seeker’s needs – the candidate experience – first.

“It’s important to make it as easy as possible for candidates to apply,” said Tim Mayer, Director of Talent Acquisition for Kraus-Anderson Construction Company, which uses BirdDogHR Talent Management Suite. “If your application is a time intensive process, people will drop out during the process or might not even try at all.”

There is some rationale for using the ATS to collect as much info as reasonably possible, including screening and ranking questions, but none of that matters if the candidate doesn’t hit “submit” adds Mayer.

“Interaction with the ATS could be the applicant’s first step in the candidate experience and can set the tone for a great, or poor candidate experience,” says Mayer.

What’s unique about applicant tracking systems is how they allow recruiters and hiring managers to customize their ATS for specific jobs, roles and even events. For example, a recruiter or hiring manager working a college recruiting fair or campus job fair could fully customize their ATS with functionality solely for that specific campus career fair, or hiring event.

SmartRecruiters is one example that allows recruitment marketing and collaborative hiring in the cloud. Bjorn Eriksson, Chief Marketing Officer of SmartRecruiters, offers some unique examples of how employers can customize an ATS for an event such as a college recruiting fair or campus job fair:

  • Prepare: Know which positions you are actively trying to fill. Be sure the representatives working the booth are familiar with the open positions and hard-to-fill niche career opportunities so they can speak to them when engaging with students. With some ATS’s, like SmartRecruiters, you can publish event specific job ads tailored for college job fairs.
  • Qualify: Prepare questions or a brief interview to pre-qualify applicants. Prepare questions to ask those who express an interest in your company to pre-qualify them. “It’s also a great opportunity to focus on providing meaningful information to students,” says Eriksson. “Don’t just recruit them, but ask their opinions, offer relevant advice and see if they are really a good match.” Make sure to capture students’ contact information so that you can continue the dialogue.
  • Connect: Respond to inquiries and follow up ASAP after the event. While the impression is still fresh, group your candidates into: Best matches, possible matches, and no matches. View each candidate as a potential customer or future client, and tailor your follow up message to each group.

Ultimately though, the success – or failure – an individual or employer has with the ATS isn’t solely technology-based, says Saïd Radhouani, Ph.D., co-founder of Nextal, a collaborative applicant tracking system.

“I believe that the ultimate success depends on how the ATS is used, and not on how it’s set up,” said Radhouani. “Yes the implementation and functionality has an impact, but even if the setup is good, it doesn’t mean that recruiters won’t make mistakes.”

When a recruiter starts using a new ATS, they often won’t understand all the features and functionality, says Radhouani. As time goes on, they sometimes fail to learn new functionalities, and don’t maximize the systems capabilities. So recruiters within the same organization who use the same system should meet monthly to collaborate and share experiences, functionalities, and tips on how to best optimize their applicant tracking system.

“Recruiters should also attend webinars put on by the ATS vendor,” said Radhouani. “If recruiters know other colleagues from different companies who are using the same ATS, reach out to them to see how they are using it to ensure they are getting the most out of their ATS.”

And if the ATS vendor has a community forum, be active in the forum, ask questions and provide feedback.

Recruiters should be sure to measure success – and failure – in their recruiting by using the analytics/metrics capabilities of their ATS.

“Most modern applicant tracking systems have analytics capabilities that provide very insightful metrics about the entire recruiting process,” says Radhouani. “If a recruiter doesn’t measure what they do, they’ll never know whether they’re improving their productivity or not.”

Over time, recruiters and hiring managers get frustrated if an ATS is not user-friendly, doesn’t have specific functionality and capabilities, and does not help enhance the recruiting process. Applicant Tracking Systems are not all equal, and as hiring managers move from company to company, and use different systems, they can find pluses and minuses of each system they use. The key however, is to take advantage of the functionality of the system that is in place, find what works, and align your recruiting needs with the capabilities of the system.

“If you don’t have what you love, love what you have,” said Radhouani. “Every ATS has its good and bad sides. Recruiters should focus on the good side and work with the ATS, not against it.”

Mayer agrees.

“Really embrace the entire suite of options your ATS provides,” says Mayer. “Automate where appropriate and make sure the ATS provides a candidate experience that aligns line with your employment brand.”

Want to learn more about latest recruiting trends? Stay connected to College Recruiter by visiting our blog, and connecting with us on LinkedInTwitterFacebook, and YouTube.