Employers across many industries are fighting to attract and hire the same scarce talent. With the challenges of attracting and engaging skilled candidates, recruitment can no longer be seen as a transactional process, it is a strategic service which helps companies to gain an advantage.
Talent acquisition has borrowed heavily from the marketing profession to attract candidates. As recently as five years ago, EVP and employer branding was often considered an optional extra; it is now rare to see a company without a content rich careers page, well-written job adverts and social media channels to bring their unique appeal to life.
In the same way that companies are investing in UX to provide positive experiences to keep users loyal to a product or brand, candidate experience is now seen as a vital component of a talent acquisition strategy.
Candidate experience is not simply the domain of the interview, it starts before a person becomes a candidate with their first impressions of the brand and does not finish until after they have started and been inducted in to the business.
Most employers who have a careers site and use job boards for advertising will receive hundreds or thousands of job applications each year. Every applicant has a voice and can comment on the quality of their experience, not just to friends and colleagues but also via their social media and on feedback platforms such as Glassdoor. There are many reports which demonstrate that positive candidate experience boosts consumer loyalty (and vice versa) and so there is a clear business case to getting your candidate experience right.
The candidate experience challenge is often one of time vs. quality. Talent Acquisition teams rarely have the resources to provide a high touch, ‘in person’ experience for every candidate, but, too much automation can leave a candidate feeling that they are being processed.
Our top tips to providing a positive candidate experience include:
Minimum expectations for all candidates include; the ability to find out about the company and culture, a clear and honest job briefing, a simple process to apply, a relevant interview with a qualified hiring manager and communication and feedback during the process.
To provide a world class candidate experience, you need to personalise. Think about the people you are trying to hire, build a variety of candidate personas and tailor your process to address their needs.
This requires real honesty. Put yourselves in a candidate’s shoes and compare what happens with each stage against what you want to happen. Storyboards are a great way to identify parts of the process to focus on and improve.
Whilst a completely automated process puts most candidates off, the majority of applicants see the value that technology can add during certain parts of the recruitment process. Making it easy for candidates to apply online/via mobile, automated interview booking, online assessments and onboarding portals can all save candidates time and cost and fit around their schedules.
It is widely accepted that the emergence of AI and machine learning technology will change how Talent Acquisition teams work. Automation can and will deliver efficiencies, however, when it comes to establishing rapport, building relationships and selling the opportunity, there is no substitute for human contact. Try to keep the ‘moments that matter’; initial briefings, interviews, feedback and offer management as high touch as possible.
Survey your candidates and ask them how they feel before and after key interactions with you (application, initial briefing, interviews, assessment centres, feedback, onboarding). Net Promoter scores are simple to roll out and easy to relate to business outcomes. Whichever method you use, it is important to ask for feedback from all candidates not just the ones that you hire.
Improving your candidate experience not only ensures that your current candidates experience a slick and efficient application process that showcases your culture and increases your chance of hiring them, but also advocates and promotes your business within their networks to help build future talent pools.
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