What is candidate experience and why does it matter?
Candidate experience includes everything that a jobseeker goes through from the moment they come across your vacancy to the end of your recruitment process – however far through they make it.
This experience is often something which is overlooked by recruiters and companies, but, did you know that 88% of candidates who received a positive recruitment experience are more likely to then go on and buy from that company?
Regardless as to whether you operate in B2C or B2B market, a candidate who receives a poor experience will probably not apply for a role with you again, nor recommend your company to family and friends. In fact, I personally advise those in my professional network against companies I’ve had a previous bad experience with. All of this is damaging to your employer brand – the thing you’re investing in to attract talent to your company.
To make sure candidates have a positive experience with your company I’d recommend treating them as you would treat your customers. Even if the candidate isn’t right for the role they might be suitable for another role you have coming up or they might be able to recommend someone in their network so you should leave them feeling like they would want to come back and apply again or refer people they know to your company.
Here’s three further tips to ensure your company is providing the best possible candidate experience:
1. Provide the relevant information
A job description and person specification will inform potential candidates about the role you are advertising and what you are looking for. It is important to remember to include other points that they will want to know:
- Time frames
Provide clear time frames on the closing date for applications, details on the process and when it is expected to end.
- A feel for the company
A careers section on your company website is the easiest way to provide information that’s relevant to all roles to keep job adverts from becoming too long. This can also be used to provide information about your company, culture and values as well as present an opportunity to sell the benefits of joining your company.
Also, don’t forget to make use of social media such as Linkedin to provide more insights into working life at your company. Your target market is probably already on here, so leverage it.
2. Respond to all candidates
The first step is to acknowledge receipt of the candidate’s application. Some people take issue with automated systems but that’s the nature of most recruitment processes today and an automated confirmation will at least let the candidate know that everything has been submitted correctly.
You should then reject unsuitable candidates and let the candidate know because there’s nothing more frustrating when job hunting than spending time tailoring CV’s and completing application forms only to hear nothing back – a qualified “no” for the candidate is much better than no reply at all.
Similarly, if you speak with a candidate and tell them you will get back to them by the end of the week, make sure you do!
Responding to all candidates in a timely manner will also reduce emails and phone calls for updates on applications allowing you to be more productive and focus on the important things.
Providing feedback is something recruiters may be under pressure to avoid in the early stages due to time constraints or may even avoid for fear of doing it wrong. No one likes to deliver bad news but the candidate will appreciate it much more even if it is bad news.
Feedback is especially important after the interview stage as the candidate has invested their time and travel costs. When giving feedback you need to be timely and honest but also respectful of the candidate – by all means focus on the positives you saw in the candidate but be truthful and factual about why they were not successful.
Overall, a good candidate experience comes down to one thing– communication.
Timely, honest, useful and respectful communication is what a candidate will remember your company for.
Equally though, if you don’t deliver, then poor communication and a bad experience is what you’ll become known for which is probably not in your list of company values so might not be something to aim for!