Negative candidate experiences - we've all had them. Receiving an automated rejection email after spending the better part of a day on the job application form. Going through the entire interview without so much as receiving eye contact from the recruiter. Or worse still, being completely ghosted by a company you thought you were perfect for.
There's nothing quite so demoralising or infuriating as a bad recruitment process. There's also nothing quite like a negative candidate experience for tarnishing an employer brand and deterring potential job seekers from your company. For that reason, we're here to share our best practice tips for ensuring a good candidate experience throughout your entire hiring process.
What is Candidate Experience and Why is it so Important?
Put simply, candidate experience refers to how a candidate feels about your company when they're going through the application and hiring process. As much as recruitment is about assessing your applicants' skills, personality and compatibility with the company, it's also a time when applicants are assessing you and how much they want to work for your company. Their experience during the recruitment process can either motivate or deter them from continuing their application or accepting a job offer. This means that a negative candidate experience could be stopping you from hiring top talent, and damaging your company's growth, reputation and success in the process.
Providing a good candidate experience during your recruitment process has a number of benefits, including:
Attracts Top Talent
A smooth, straightforward application and hiring process leads to more applicants applying for the role, which leads to a greater influx of high-quality candidates into your talent pool.
Time and Cost-Effective
Providing a great candidate experience means you're more likely to make a successful, long-term hire the first time around, preventing resources from being wasted on costly, time-consuming recruitment strategies.
A good candidate experience can instantly elevate your company's reputation through online reviews and word-of-mouth. Statistics show that 82% of candidates would consider sharing a positive candidate experience with someone else and 69% would share a negative experience. Moreover, through the power of social media and online company review sites, one person can reach millions of others with simply the touch of a button. This is great when it comes to positive reviews but a lot less attractive when negative reviews are involved. Considering that 72% of candidates would share a poor candidate experience on social media and 75% of job seekers will research an employer's reputation before starting their application process, it is vital to ensure that your potential candidates are coming across positive reviews of your candidate experience as opposed to negative ones.
Builds an Enviable Employer Brand
When a candidate has a good experience with a company during their hiring process, it goes a long way toward building a strong employer brand. This, in turn, can lead to more qualified hires, a 50% cost-per-hire reduction and a reduction in employee turnover, according to recruitment experts LinkedIn. So, employer branding couldn't be more important to nourish.
Enhances Employee Loyalty
A good candidate experience enhances employee loyalty by ensuring that they have a positive experience with the company from the minute they are recruited. Conversely, a poor candidate experience can destroy a person's loyalty to that company and make them less likely to apply for jobs with them in the future (or even buy from them).
There's nothing better for company culture and productivity than a team of happy, engaged employees. An employer can easily boost employee engagement by ensuring that they have a positive candidate experience, as this gives them a positive outlook on the company and a strong work ethic right from the get-go.
Research shows that if an employee feels valued and appreciated by their employer, they are less likely to leave their job. Considering that 4 in 5 candidates take their candidate experience as an indicator of how much a company values its employees, providing a positive candidate experience can encourage long-term retention of new employees.
How to Provide a Good Candidate Experience
Now that you're aware of the vast benefits of a good candidate experience, it's time to discover some simple yet effective strategies that any recruiter can put into practice when hiring their next recruit. The following section will walk you through how you can transform your candidate experience at each essential touchpoint of your recruiting process - right from posting the job ad to onboarding your latest recruit.
Clear and Accessible Job Description
Although frequently overlooked by many employers, your job description is the first impression a candidate has of your company. Therefore, you need to make it count. On average, job seekers only spend about 14 seconds reading a job description. Thus, for an optimal candidate experience, your job descriptions should be short, sweet and to the point. It should be precise and contain all the necessary information about the role and the desired candidate, but without listing too many criteria as this can deter candidates from applying. Moreover, your careers page should be easily accessible to create a more streamlined recruitment process for job applicants.
Keep your Application Process Short and Simple
When hiring, one of the worst things you can do for candidate experience is to create a long, boring and time-consuming application process. Most job seekers don't want to spend more than 20 minutes on a job application and 82% of candidates say that the leading cause of them abandoning job applications is because they contain too many steps. Thus, your lengthy application process could be depriving you of top talent! Keep your candidates happy and engaged by opting for a shorter application form; less than 15 questions ideally. Furthermore, your application should be mobile-friendly, allow a candidate to save and return later and, to recruit even more talent, allow for LinkedIn and Indeed integrations.
Incorporate Pre-Employment Testing
61% of candidates consider it beneficial to their experience to be notified quickly if they are not the correct fit for the role. Pre-hire skills testing allows you to do just that, as well as narrow down the selection process and make it quick and easy to recruit top-quality talent even when you have a high volume of candidates. At Skillsarena, we are passionate about delivering industry-leading skills testing and personality assessment tools to a wide range of employers.
With our extensive range of aptitude tests, we allow recruiters to provide a candidate-centric experience regardless of their industry or field. Our tests allow you to make informed, data-driven recruitment decisions that benefit both you and your candidate. They streamline your entire application process and enhance your candidate experience by narrowing down your talent pool and informing candidates of their compatibility with the role before they potentially waste their valuable time completing a job application. With skills-based hiring on the rise, you definitely don't want to miss out on this easy way to make your candidate experience more fun, engaging and effective.
Communicate Throughout the Hiring Process
The power of communication should never be underestimated - especially when it comes to recruitment. It's essential to communicate with your candidates at every major touchpoint throughout their application process. Even if it's just to confirm that their application has been received or to deliver a rejection, candidates still wish (and deserve!) to know about the status of their application, the outcome of their job interview and the next steps in their onboarding journey. However, for many candidates, all too often this expectation isn't being met. In fact, 63% of job seekers report being dissatisfied with the amount of communication they receive from an employer after submitting an application, with many people even reporting being 'ghosted' by recruiters. This is extremely damaging to the candidate experience and should be avoided at all costs - even after the job offer has been accepted.
Whether in-person or online, the way you act during your interview process can impact how a candidate perceives not only the recruiter but the wider company as a whole. A bad interview experience can cause a candidate to rethink their application and even reject a job offer. Therefore, it's important to maintain good levels of verbal and non-verbal communication, ask appropriate questions, show interest in the candidate, ensure flexibility during the interview (for example, by allowing for children to attend should childcare issues arise) and arrive promptly, regardless of whether it's a face-to-face or video interview. With much job searching being done remotely nowadays due to COVID-19, it's never been more important to ensure that your digital interview skills are up to scratch.
Value Your Candidates' Time
Just like you, your candidates are busy people with a whole load of commitments. Ensure that you respect and value your candidates' time by replying promptly to emails and phone calls, notifying them of changes to the hiring process and arriving on time to scheduled interviews and meetings.
Provide a Human Touch
In the fast-paced, demanding world of work, it can be easy to just automate your recruitment emails and devote your resources and attention to only the new hires. However, personalising your hiring process with friendly emails from an actual human, phone calls where possible and something as simple as referring to candidates by their name rather than an application reference number can make the world of difference to your candidate's experience with your company.
Keep Applicants in Your System
During your recruiting process, it's likely that you will come across a number of highly-skilled, experienced and amiable applicants who fall ever so slightly short of being hired. Encourage them to re-apply for other jobs within your company by keeping their details on file and reaching out to them should suitable roles apply. By doing this, you create an easily accessible talent pool that not only enhances your candidate experience but makes your next recruitment process quicker, easier and cheaper than starting from scratch.
Encourage Feedback Both Ways
As the age-old saying goes: practice makes perfect. Enhance your candidate experience by utilising a follow-up candidate experience survey to gather feedback from applicants about the pros and cons of your recruiting process and take on board their suggestions to improve your next round of recruitment.
Put these tips into practice when hiring your next recruit and reap the rewards of a top-quality candidate experience for yourself.