With the number of people in the workforce, and the number of businesses – from startups to public global companies – candidates have a wide range of career options. With the latest job reports, showing unemployment at 5.5%, its lowest level since 2008, job seekers are back in the driver seat. Employers now need to be concerned with the degree of satisfaction candidates have with their hiring process. A poor experience will deter future candidates from applying to the employer’s open positions and top talent will likely reject the employer’s job offer.
The Candidate is Your “External” Customer Too
When we think of a company’s “brand,” we typically think of a specific product or service. Your service or product represents the collective organization. Candidates will be attracted to your organization because of what you do and how you do it. The expectations candidates have of your organization area direct reflection of your brand. And it’s important that your “Employment Brand” is experienced in the same positive manner as are your products and services. Good experiences travel fast, but bad experiences travel even faster.
Whether your business provides a service to others or you are trying to sell a product, you are always responsible for servicing not only your external customers, but also your internal customers – your employees. And while recruiting, you must also consider your candidates as customers or prospective customers. Your corporate brand may not necessarily always match your employer brand, but in order to attract top talent, you must market your corporate employment culture. In doing this, human resources becomes your corporate employment brand ambassador.
Why You Should Create a Positive Candidate Experience
It is very important to always create a positive candidate experience, regardless of whether you hire the candidate or not. Each candidate has an opinion and a voice that could potentially be heard all around the world, thanks to the Internet. A negative candidate experience can affect a candidate’s desire to work for you, and it’s pretty much guaranteed that others outside your organization will hear the (not-so-positive) story. It is well known that the public is more inclined to vocalize their opinions about a negative experience rather than a positive one. And with social media and other review websites being so popular, it’s easy for that one negative experience to be shared easily and quickly.
The WorkPlace Group’s Advice For Creating a Positive Candidate Experience
Though there are a lot of moving and interconnected parts to creating a positive candidate experience throughout the recruiting and selection process, by following a few simple tips you increase your chances of leaving a positive impression on your candidates. By making the experience a positive one, you will be setting yourself apart from other employers and ultimately set yourself up for high quality hires.
1. Simplify your employment job application process
If your job application is too long, candidates can easily be turned off and may not finish completing the application or choose not to complete your employment application, at all. If it is overly complicated, it could confuse or deter candidates from continuing in your hiring process, as well.
2. Make sure your job descriptions are accurate
Write out the job description as if you were performing the job. Do not use a stock job description found from another company or position you think is similar to the one in your company. The job description should accurately represent what the candidate would be doing, if hired. You should also ensure that all job descriptions are posted with no typographical errors, as they negatively impact your employment brand.
3. Customize Form E-mails
If you must use e-mail templates, brand them. Make them sound less like a form letter and more like a personal message to a candidate. You want to make sure candidates know that there are humans behind your Applicant Tracking System and the are not left feeling like just another number (or, in this case, resume).
4. Communication is key
Communication is key to shaping the candidate experience. If you aren’t communicating in a timely fashion with the candidate, then the likelihood is pretty good that the candidate will get frustrated, and possibly even lose interest. So, if you expect to accept applications for a few weeks, don’t create the proverbial “black hole” for the candidates that have applied in the first couple weeks.
If you receive an application, confirm that you’ve received it. Provide updates throughout the screening and selection processes so the candidates are not kept hanging and wondering. And, if you know a particular candidate or applicant will not be hired, tell them right away. Do not wait until the job application process closes to tell candidates that they will not be hired. Candidates may not be happy that you did not extend a job offer to them, however, they will appreciate you being respectful by keeping them informed about where they stand throughout the hiring process.
5. Pick up the phone
If you’ve interviewed candidates, whether in person or over the phone, and have decided not to move forward with them, it vastly improves the candidate experience if you pick up the phone to personally let them know of your decision. This creates a more personal experience and sense of trust and respect of you on the part of the candidate. And be sincere. This is potentially a person’s career and life on the line. Deliver the message you would want delivered to you, if you were in the candidate’s shoes.
These are just five easy and basic tips to creating a positive candidate experience during the recruiting and selection processes. Attracting top talent is more difficult today than it has been in years past due to the opportunities available, as evidenced by the low unemployment rate. To speak with one of our experts about your candidate experience, contact a WorkPlace Group® associate today.