3 Ways Candidate Experience Can Win the Recruiting War
First impressions count, but many businesses fail to consider what job candidates think, feel and experience during the recruitment process.
Just for a moment, let’s think about recruitment as being like dating. Nerves are heightened, first impressions matter and when things don’t go as expected the disappointment can be crushing. But if the candidate is on their best behavior and trying to win over their prospective employer, all too often the hirer behaves like the date from hell. Too many companies make the applicant feel they should be grateful for any attention, send mixed signals or give them the silent treatment after expressing initial interest.
It’s not such a far-fetched analogy. And just as a person is likely to tell their friends about a terrible date, job candidates will also spread the word about a negative hiring experience. Those who’ve been rejected for a job and had a bad experience may slam a company via social media, which can quickly go viral, damaging the employment brand. Some candidates will even boycott a business’s products or services altogether if they feel poorly treated. Don’t forget, job candidates are often a company’s customers, too.
Seeing things through candidates’ eyes
Businesses understand that good customer service is important. Clients’ queries are dealt with as a matter of priority and efficient communication is considered an absolute must. So, why do so many fail to extend this approach to those applying to work for them?
It’s not that companies mean to be bad actors, but very often they fail to see things through the candidate’s eyes. Many have inherited legacy hiring processes that are clunky and out-of-date, which is a problem in an age where technology-dependent young recruits expect immediate feedback. Add to that the need for organizations to process larger volumes of applications and it’s all too easy for recruiters to get bogged down with pushing applicants through the hiring process without stopping to think what it feels like for them.
Winning applicants over
What should hirers be doing? It comes down to a few simple things – transparency, empathy and communication.
Job candidates want to know what to expect.
Applicants want to receive feedback.
Candidates want to give feedback.
Job candidates want to know what to expect. Anyone applying for a job wants to know detail about what the role will involve, but they should also be informed of what stages of the hiring process they’ll be put through. Being transparent and managing people’s expectations means they never encounter nasty surprises or feel misled whatever the hiring outcome.
Applicants want to receive feedback. A candidate has spent time researching a firm, polishing their CV, making applications and completing assessments. They expect feedback on how they’ve performed in return. Even successful applicants are likely to be kept in limbo for weeks before securing a job post, so it’s natural people want an idea of how they’re faring as the days and weeks tick by. Communicate at key points in the process, when applications are submitted, assessments completed and interviews undertaken. It’s not necessary to provide a full report, but giving hints on areas of strength and weakness could guide their development. Always alert people to whether they’ve been successful or not in securing the job.
Candidates want to give feedback. If a business is to adopt a truly candidate-centric approach, they should be prepared to listen to what recruits say about the hiring experience. Encourage feedback. This reinforces the idea that candidates are partners in the recruitment process, which can help in hiring the best people, improving candidate satisfaction and boosting retention and performance. You may also be surprised at what you learn.
Positive processes boost productivity
Of course, there are plenty of businesses that are slick and efficient at dealing with potential recruits. And the effect of getting the candidate experience right can be significant – new hires who had a positive introduction to the business apply more discretionary effort and are more likely to stay with the organization for a longer period. Put simply, happy employees work harder.
But the risks of a bad hiring experience are grave and everyone in the business needs to know it. Put yourself in the candidate’s shoes. When it comes down to it, just ask yourself: how would I want to be treated?
Learn about how you can quickly assess and select the right people for roles and provide an engaging candidate experience.