Published 07 September, 2020

Candidate Experience -The Ignored Child (5 minutes read)

“Beggars can never be choosers” is the proverb which doesn’t apply any more for the candidates looking for a job. Gone are the days when only the employers’ expectations of the ideal worker were all that mattered. Now, the candidates come with their own set of expectations and often leave reviews on job-seeking websites basis their experience. They start their quest for knowledge about the organization even before applying for it. The channels which provide the information are social media, company website, company review sites and word of mouth. Therefore, it is important to provide them a fair, consistent and engaging recruitment journey, which will give them a good candidate experience. A part of being a new age employer is treating your candidates like potential customers. Given the current situation owing to the Covid 19 crisis it might seem as if candidate experience would not matter given the abundance of available talent at this stage, be sure that it would change very quickly as the economies go through a sharp recovery over the next 12 months.

In fact, similar to the stock markets where you buy stocks when the valuations are low to get maximum returns, if there ever was a time for organizations to invest in a seamless candidate experience process, that time is now.

Candidate experience is the perception and feelings of a job seeker about an employer and their job application process, which is majorly based on their interaction during the entire hiring process. This includes all the points of contact during recruitment – starting right from the job search, application process, interview process, and sometimes even till the onboarding process. A great candidate experience is the core of successful recruiting and hiring.

Why Candidate Experience is so Important ?

Let’s have a look at some statistics, 60% of the candidates have an awful experience when applying for a new position and 72% of them decide to spread on that message to other people. Moreover, if you feel or you believe that as a huge venture or a notable brand you’re safe to this, then you should consider this. Just 59 of the Fortune 500 organizations score higher than 80% on “Would recommend to a Friend” on Glassdoor. Employment rates will come back to the decade’s high in the next 18-24 months. In addition to the fact that jobs will be open for more, the data about jobs and managers are more promptly accessible now. The candidates themselves are less limited by geology or language and the work environment is getting progressively open to the culture of job-hopping. In such a competitive setting, each part of the recruiting experience matters. 

If the business brand is skewed over various channels, the job site is difficult to explore or if the application procedure is long and tiresome, then it puts the organization behind contenders who offer a really comfortable experience, with minimum exertion for the candidates.

The objective for recruitment specialists is to furnish candidates with the equivalent brilliant and inconspicuous journey that they get from all the leading brands, over the entirety of their various channels and workstreams. The issue is, while they currently have access to a similar sort of technological exposure that marketers do, they don’t generally have a similar group structure, forms, and operational help to make everything run easily. 

Building a not too bad candidate experience takes a ton of work. You need to consider each progression of the journey, from the first time a candidate scans through your professional site or your LinkedIn page, to the reviews they read on employer review websites, to the application they fill out, till the last exchange when you make them an offer or turn them down.

As the social media has brought about enormous changes in the environment, the candidates are well connected and well informed now. It has been found that 70% of the graduates are put off by someone else’s bad experience with an organization. Hence, it’s important to create an impressive emotional connect and treat the prospective employees respectfully. 

It not only helps in securing top talent but also shapes an organisation's employer branding. Providing a first-class experience to the candidates will give you an upper hand in the fierce competition with other organizations. A poor candidate experience can make a bad impression on the top talent. They would feel that those companies might treat their employees badly too. Therefore, a positive hiring experience is crucial for making successful placements.

It’s also necessary because employers need to attract the best talent to achieve their recruitment and business goals. By not truly understanding the job seeker experience, a significant amount of potential candidates might get overlooked. So, a good job seeker experience is very essential to attract the ideal candidates.

Each interaction a job seeker has with your company during the recruitment process is part of their overall candidate experience. A negative candidate experience will make them feel like they never want to interact with the organisation again. A confusing hiring process or lack of information can lead to frustration and make candidates feel like they have been set up to fail. 

Research shows that candidates who have a negative recruitment experience often report their ordeal online which can do serious damage to the employer’s branding. According to Glassdoor reports, 70% of the candidates look up company reviews before making a final career decision. Therefore, make the best use of platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter ,Glassdoor , Reviewia etc  to highlight how much you value your employees and candidates. Take good care to address the bottle-necks that could deter the right people from applying.

How can you create a positive candidate experience?

A positive candidate experience can be ensured by deploying an easy-to-follow process. Providing timely communication in each step of the process and ensuring that the candidates do not feel like they are set up for failure. A positive experience should leave them feeling valued, respected, and, most importantly, excited at the prospect of working for the organisation.

  • Listen and communicate often – Candidates want to be kept in the loop and feel valued. If there are long procedures and different levels of assessments with no proper communication, it becomes very difficult to find the right candidate. Often, the potential employees get stressed with their experience and tell others to not apply too. In case you're publicizing open positions to all, you're most likely to get unmanageable resume volume. In this situation, constant communication with the candidate is a must, as it might take a long time to shortlist the candidates. This is where organizations can use technology, deploying bots for standard responses can help avoid frustration of candidates which often occurs due to delay in communication.
  • Easy Application Process –At any given point when individuals talk about the candidate experience, it’s typically the application procedure that they have at the top of the priority list. When all is said and done, there’s an entirely extreme disconnect over the application experience – the normal candidate goes through extended time in submitting a single application, while 70% organizations think it takes them less than 60 minutes. Barely surprising at that point, that 60 percent of job searchers quit trying to fill out online job applications as a result of their length or complicated nature. High drop-off rates lead to loss of top quality candidates and brand damage from candidates who are baffled with the procedure.  To prepare an easy application process, apply the mystery shopping approach with a fake name and qualifications and take an honest approach to your recruitment procedure. Take your own application with the most straightforward approach and walk a mile in your candidates’ shoes and see what needs to change.
  • Be transparent about the recruitment process- Right from the pre-application stage up to the on-boarding process. Given the present situation and how quickly everything is changing, it’s basic to keep the candidates educated about each progression of the recruitment procedure. This can begin as early as the job vacancy post. Naturally, candidates are probably going to have a ton of inquiries at the beginning. You can assist them with finding prompt answers by adding some frequently asked questions to your site. Many organizations now have a FAQ page about their recruitment procedure and update the same with some extra material, this can go far in improving your candidate’s experience and reducing their anxiety.  Another choice is to make a living archive, similar to a Google doc and send the candidates a link so they can see it as and when they need. You also need to send email updates to the candidates who are already in the process to keep them updated about any changes in the process or their status.
  • Have a fair process –A fair selection process consists of judging people on the their ability to do the job not on the basis of one's race, color, sex, age, national origin, religion, genetic information and disability. The candidates should believe that they are able to share why their skills and experience deserves to be considered for the role they have applied for.To ensure a fair process you have to do a thorough job analysis and make sure your assessments are objective. It is very critical to have your interviewers trained well, often this is not the case. Interviewers go all over the place in terms of assessing candidates and are not consistent with their evaluation approach. You need to be consistent and give unbiased feedback.
  • Measure candidate experience and talent acquisition performance – How will you know what to improve about your candidate experience, if you don’t ask the candidates themselves? To realize what needs to be improved, essentially ask the candidates who have experienced the diverse employing stages.. Simultaneously, you can increase a little of your social awareness and discover what candidates are stating about their experience after meeting with you. A decent spot to begin is on employer review platforms. Simply ask the candidates who go through the process what they thought - whether or not they were successful. Use open source platforms like Kununu or www.reviewia.co   which are dedicated platforms to capture your candidate’s experience. This will give you first-hand knowledge, straight from the sources, with the ability to compare their performance to their experiences.You can discover how troublesome the interviews are, the level by which the candidates are happy or dissatisfied with the recruiting procedure, as well as some of the questions from the interview itself. You can utilize these discoveries to improve your current recruiting processes, yet in addition to this, you can learn from your competitors and peers and organizations who are nailing their employer brand image game. Be more accountable and measure it regularly and consistently.
  • Ask for feedback and give feedback-

    Similarly, it is critical that you are giving your candidates legitimate input also. If a candidate makes it to the interview stage, they will normally expect a more personalized follow-up than after the initial stages, regardless of the result.

    Offering feedback will assist with guaranteeing a positive candidate experience. As indicated by the LinkedIn review, 94% of candidates need proper feedback after the meeting. This doesn’t need to be too in-depth, only a few pointers on what they performed admirably and where they may hope to improve later on. Enough to cause them to feel like this has been an advantageous learning experience.

    Focussing on your candidate experience will pay off in the long-term in more ways than just your brand. Respect, communication, and context must be of paramount importance. A positive candidate experience would shape your employer brand and lead to a great impression among top talent pool, which in turn means great business. It builds a good brand health and hence, brand loyalty. It Influences retention and attraction and encourages referrals. An amazing candidate experience can help companies build a consistent talent pool, stronger employer brand and happy brand ambassadors. As a bonus, along with other perks of offering better experience you can also win various industry recognition in the long run.

    Always keep in mind that a candidate is like a child for the company, looking to grow up in their careers and life. Children who receive feedback and guidance while also being given the message that their parent is genuinely interested in listening to their perspective, feelings and needs are much more willing participants in the process of learning and building a great future.

    Don’t  ignore the child.

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