4 Ways To Improve The Candidate Experience

Ensuring a positive candidate experience is critical to the success of your talent acquisition strategy.  With only 39% of candidates reporting a positive experience, it’s possible that your hiring process would benefit from an overhaul. Here are four steps every organisation can take to improve the overall experience of candidates in their pipeline.

Improve your communication

Research suggests that around a quarter of all job applications are not acknowledged by employers.  Poor communication reflects badly on your brand and culture.  If you implement only one change in your hiring process, improve your communication by adding a personal touch. The standard ‘If you do not hear from us within 14 days, your application has been unsuccessful’ response does not suggest a company which values applicants.  Take advantage of your recruitment management software to personalise responses to your job seekers. For candidates who undergo telephone screening or attend interviews, an e-mail or telephone call thanking them for their time is preferable to a standard response.

Always offer feedback

Lack of feedback to candidates, whether successful or not, contributes to a poor candidate experience. Being turned down for a job, especially after an interview, often has a demoralising effect on job-seekers. When applicants have no idea why they were rejected, this can enhance their feelings of anxiety.  Both employers and recruiters should provide constructive feedback to candidates to enable them to improve their skills and interview techniques for future job searches.  Avoid clichéd responses such as ‘your application was unsuccessful on this occasion’. Similarly, providing positive feedback to your preferred candidate will enhance their initial experience with your company and facilitate a seamless transition into their new role.

Keep candidates informed

Over half all talent leaves the hiring pipeline before the process is complete.  This is frequently a direct result of an organisation failing to keep candidates informed of progress in between interviews.  High achievers don’t need to wait for your company’s response and a failure to communicate will be interpreted as a lack of interest in their application.  Start out as you mean to go on and engage with all of the applicants in your pipeline.  Effective recruiting and applicant tracking software will enable your company to achieve this but don’t leave it until it’s too late.  Before you commence the hiring process, ensure your company has a recruitment management system that meets the needs of your talent acquisition strategy. 

Be open with candidates

During the hiring process, the onus is frequently on candidates to divulge every single detail of their background, career history and character traits relevant to a vacancy.  They are also expected to carry out extensive research into a company to demonstrate their enthusiasm for a vacancy.  An employer who recognises that this sharing of information is a two-way process will create a more positive experience for candidates.  Remember, every single communication applicants have with your company should be consistent with your core values.  Be open about your challenges and your vision.  Offer them information they would not be able to find through online research.  This element of your talent acquisition strategy presents an ideal opportunity to build a positive image and attract high achievers into your company.  Treat your candidates as if they were already your employees.  If you believe you are already doing this and still struggling to boost staff retention levels, the problems may be more ingrained than you realise.

Improving the experience of applicants is one of the most important things an organisation can do in its hiring process. With a few simple changes, you can positively impact both your candidate experience and the success of your talent acquisition strategy.  

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