Today, even though Covid-19 may have changed the widening asymmetry between open positions and available candidates (we used to have more candidates than job opportunities), it also changed needs of candidates and what is a good job for them. It becomes more and more important for recruitment agencies to see their candidates as clients. It’s good news, even though it should have been like this since the beginning.
Now everybody talks about Candidate Experience.
But what exactly does it mean and why is it so important?
It’s quite normal that companies focused on success care about their clients. We stay in contact with them and improve customer service standards. It’s the so-called Customer Experience. It means focusing on how customers feel when interacting with a company or its products.
The candidate’s experience should be exactly the same. No matters the process he/she uses, through a recruitment agency or directly applying to the hiring company. It is about how candidates feel when interacting with organizations during their applications. The Candidate Experience applies to all stages of the recruitment process and doesn’t end soon right after its finished; From application submission or getting contacted by recruiters, to getting feedback about their application. It depends on what happens before and after sending an application or exchange somehow with the company.
A percentage of 68% of candidates, see a correlation between the way they are treated in the recruitment process and how the company treats its employees. That says about the necessity of delivering the candidate’s best possible experience, as a company or a recruitment agency.
The best employees want the best treatment by their employers, therefore will value their candidate experience, to choose or not if they will join you.
Nowadays, the market which was mainly candidate oriented may stay like this but for different reasons. Which means, for the good candidates, you do not decide who works for you. It’s the candidate who chooses you. Therefore, it is more than essential to care about the candidate’s experience at every stage of your recruitment process. As for a company which hires directly or which use a recruitment agency, choose carefully and be aware of what your agency is doing.
Where to start?
Here are some elements to improve to make the candidate experience great again, during your process:
Everything starts here, it’s the first and most important job-related element that candidates are paying attention to, according to a recent Talent Board report. What makes them apply without hesitation? What are they looking for?
Prefer a clear and accurate job description with related responsibilities, to a list of your requirements. Make sure to express your company’s values and to be clear about the salary range and offered benefits. You could rethink the way you deliver this information. Do it in an attractive way, easy to receive; an infographic or a video presentation might be better than a plain text on a white paper. If you work with a recruitment agency, it’s good to know that they could take care of it.
A transparent recruitment process
According to Career Builder, 83% of candidates state that knowing about the recruitment stages helps them decide whether to apply for a job offer. It’s not only about the transparency, we seek so much in our times, but also a sign of respect for the candidates. Showing this respect calls for mutual respect which leads to mutual success. Explain in detail what is to come and what to expect at each stage of your recruitment process. Think about what will make the difference for the candidate, what you can do for them. Presenting the recruitment process as an infographic or a video? or some companies designate an employee available to answered eventual questions of candidates by phone.
KISS: Keep It Short and Simple
Up to 4 hours, it’s the time a typical candidate spends preparing and submitting one application for a job. That explains why 60% of job seekers give up when the process is too complicated.
Asking candidates to create an account on the website, upload their CVs to the server and then fill in a massive questionnaire that contains precisely the same data. Do you recognize your process? If yes maybe it’s time to change! And to make sure your recruitment agency doesn’t do it neither. It’s not the job of your candidate.
The great exercise we ask our clients is to play the candidate to go through their own process, and we ask them: “Was it easy and pleasant? “, and usually we start working on improvements right after. Don’t get me wrong, a determined candidate will apply anyway, no matter how unpleasant the process is. But we talk about all the good candidates, who have many others opportunities, who already filled in 10 forms before they reach your offer, or who are passively looking and are not sure if they want to change their job. Improving your direct application process or making sure your recruitment agency has a nice and pleasant process, will be good for everybody.
Keep candidates up to date
There is nothing more frustrating for candidates to receive no response to their application from employers. You know that feeling. You apply to a job offer and you get, in return, dead silence. 81% of candidates say that constant communication during the recruitment process is crucial for their assessment of the company.
Give and get feedbacks
During a recruitment process, feedbacks are sacred and priceless; they should go both ways, not only from the candidate (whether he accepts a job offer) but also from the employer. Feedback is key for the candidate and employers; it helps both improve. Ask for feedback and certainly give some, whether it’s good news or bad news; pick up your phone and make sure your candidates receive an elegantly formulated and constructive feedback. It is also imperative that you give feedback to candidates who have dropped out of the process. They may want to apply again in the future.
Take care of your talent pool
Let me tell you something the candidate’s experience does not end when you do not want to hire him. Those who don’t match your current job-offers may be in the future. Develop a pool of your best candidates for future positions. How do you do that? Just how you would do it with a good colleague, keep in touch with them, from time to time, give them a call and let them know they are valuable. It helps to build an excellent Candidate experience. It’s also an opportunity to learn about their current interest in job offers. LinkedIn helps professional relationships alive. Some companies use email campaigns, organise networking events.
In summary, the candidate’s experience plays an important role in the perception of your company brand. A happy candidate, it’s good publicity, just like with your clients. You should start looking at candidates as your clients. Remember this at each step of your recruitment process.