The Candidate Experience, simple steps to start improving your process
Why you should take your time to think about your candidate experience.
Your hiring process is the first interaction your future employees will have with your organisation, and this is your time to start their journey with you in a positive way. Making sure your candidates have a smooth, considered and enjoyable process will help you to hire the right talent to enhance your business and also, will help you secure their skills over your competitors.
In 2014 there were more jobs than unemployed people and that hasn’t slowed down, if you have a poor candidate experience you are potentially losing the talent you want to rival businesses that are more prepared. In some sectors, this talent deficit is even starker with genuine skills shortages damaging growth potential for many companies across the UK. Candidates are often interviewing for several job opportunities and their experience with your team in a competitive market is likely to be the difference between accepting or declining a job offer.
Invest time in your EVP; a strong EVP that is robust and well researched will attract the attention of top talent that is aligned with your business. An EVP is the unique set of benefits that an employee receives in return for the skills, capabilities, and experience they bring to a company. It helps you understand and share what your best people like most about their jobs. Think of an EVP as one of the building blocks of your candidate experience.
A bad experience will negatively affect the reputation of your business. Candidates who have a bad experience will likely talk about it with friends or on social networks as well as with up to 8 people within their network of colleagues and friends. 76% of applicants will research your business before applying, so if your brand is portrayed negatively, this will affect the quality of the candidates you see applying.
Where you can improve in 6 simple steps.
Plan when your recruitment process will start, what your interview process will be, who will sit on interview panels and what you expect a workable candidate to look like given the requirements of the role and the budget you have available. If you’re not paying market-rate salaries, then you should be realistic about the level of skills and experience you can attract. Make sure key decision makers are available and that you have time to review applications, conduct interviews, and make decisions. In a competitive market, mapping out this time will avoid delays and give you the best chance of hiring the best candidate.
Create a simple and clear job description that is carefully constructed to inform the candidate as to their potential role and responsibilities within the team. Clearly outline salary and company benefits and why people love working for your business.
In a competitive market, it is vital to respond to candidates who are in your process. Our recommendation would be within 48 hours if you can and would be applicable after the closing date of applications, receiving a CV from an agency, and post-interview. Candidates want to feel like you care and are interested in the skills they can offer. If you are slow to respond, then you risk losing the candidates to companies who simply want them more, after all, everyone wants to feel loved. In tricky market conditions, quick feedback and turnaround on booking interviews can help secure the talent you need. We have sent candidates to clients before who have been interviewed and offered the same day. This really makes the candidates feel wanted and helps them to engage with the hiring manager and organisation. But if your interview process is long then you run the risk of losing that awesome candidate to a business that is more candidate-focused.
Build your interview process to have as few steps as possible whilst still being able to assess the competencies you need in the successful hire. Do you really need that third or fourth interview? We would suggest that in most cases, more than two stages of interview are too many. If you were a candidate applying for two roles you liked equally, would you accept the offer that took ten days from applying to offer with two interviews, or would you wait for the 3rd or 4th interview that may take another 2 weeks? It’s probably the first offer.
If your role requires a technical test, do it after first contact so candidates have buy-in to your role. Asking candidates to conduct a technical assessment before you will interview them, will in many cases, lead to them going ahead with opportunities where the first stage is human interaction. We would recommend that a 15-minute pre-interview get the candidates excited and motivated about the role and secure their interest in following up with you. Following this, your technical assessment should be 30-60 minutes.
If you are interviewing candidates, or they have taken the time to complete a technical test then it is important to offer feedback to help them improve. They have invested their time and energy and they will welcome feedback that can help them improve. Offering this feedback will help keep candidates as brand advocates.
Candidate experience doesn’t stop at the offer
In too many instances the candidate’s experience stops at the offer stage. It is important to not drop the ball now, your work isn’t yet complete! Candidates will often have second thoughts or doubts, especially when leaving a role they have been in for a long time. There will often be counteroffers and if you have stopped paying attention, you may lose this candidate and must start your process again.
Think about how you can make your new hire feel a part of the team from the earliest opportunity. Perhaps a 20-second welcome video via whats app from the CEO welcoming them to the team. Have you invited this person to any team events or socials? If the start date is 3-months away ensure you book regular video calls with the team they will be in to make them feel included and to help them get to know the team, so their integration is smooth. Research suggests that in today’s market candidates take 6 months to settle into new roles, teams, and professional surroundings. If your candidate experience stops when your new team member starts with you, or worse, after the job offer, you run the risk of your newly acquired talent feeling vulnerable and potentially looking at new jobs or regretting the move. Regular check-ins, 1-2-1’s and touchpoints can really help someone settle into their new role and get up to higher levels of productivity for you sooner.
In summary, in a congested market a top-drawer candidate experience will help set you apart from your competitors, ensuring that the best talent will be selecting you as their next destination in their career.
At Your Talent Solutions we work with our clients to help them build and maximise benefit from their candidate experience as well as offering EVP workshops that enables them to target the best candidates for their business. If you were interested in hearing how we could help you, please email James on email@example.com