Talent Acquisition

Candidate Experience: 4 Things You Ought to Know

The candidate experience is underrated. Whether it’s by not keeping candidates informed throughout the hiring process or by simply ignoring their application, hiring professionals are inadvertently leaving candidates with a bad first impression. And a bad impression can break their ties with the company, both as a potential employee and as a loyal customer.

The unfortunate reality is that hiring professionals often underestimate just how much of an impact a poor candidate experience can have on a brand’s consumer image. In fact, a CareerBuilder study on the candidate experience, released last month, revealed that 82 percent of employers think there’s little to no negative impact on the company when a candidate has a bad experience during the hiring process. Wrong.

According to the study, a whopping 69 percent of job seekers say they are less likely to buy from a company they had a bad experience with during the interview. So that applicant you left in the dark? Chances are, you didn’t only lose them as a job candidate but as a potential customer.

To create a top-notch candidate experience that attracts applicants and converts them into future customers, here are four things every hiring professional should know:

1. Candidates are frustrated with the application process.

The application process often serves as a candidate’s first impression of the company and the job at hand. And, considering 40 percent of candidates feel the application process has become more difficult in the last five years, according to CareerBuilder’s study, it’s time to reevaluate the process. The study found that the most common complaints about the application process include:

  • It’s too automated and lacks personalization (57 percent)
  • Candidates have no idea where they are in the process (51 percent)
  • It has too many steps (50 percent)

So what can hiring professionals do to combat these complaints and reduce candidate frustrations? For starters, ditch the automatically-generated email responses, and take the time to get in touch with applicants. Let them know that their application was received and they’ll be contacted within a certain time span, if they’ve made it to the next step (the interview).

Not only does this let candidates know exactly where they are in the process and when to expect a response, but it also keeps applicants who didn’t make the cut from waiting and continually following up.

2. Ongoing communication is important to candidates.

No one likes being left in the dark — especially when it concerns a job opportunity. But simply contacting candidates to let them know their application has been received, and then letting them know whether or not they got the job isn’t enough for most candidates. The above survey found that nearly 40 percent of candidates expect to be updated throughout the application process – not just before and after.

Keep the lines of communication going. If you know it’s going to be another two weeks before a decision is made, send candidates a quick update. Doing so will keep candidates (and your inbox) happy.

3. You’re missing opportunities to connect with candidates.

Having a strong presence online, and off, is essential to attracting applicants to your job postings. Hiring professionals should take every opportunity to connect with candidates, especially considering they consult various resources throughout their job search, from job boards to social media to search engines and online referrals.

By having an active presence where job seekers go to search for jobs, you can be sure your listings will be seen. To find out where your applicants are finding out about open positions, consider using tracking or coding technology to pinpoint exactly where candidates are coming from, so that you can make efficient use of your time and efforts when recruiting.

4. Having a strong employer brand is crucial.

When it comes to attracting job seekers, having a strong employment brand and marketing it is crucial. Yet, CareerBuilder found that more than half of employers do not have a clearly defined employment brand. If you don’t define your employment brand, job seekers will do it for you.

The candidate experience can potentially make or break a company’s employment brand. In the age of online social sharing, you can bet a less-than-stellar candidate experience will be shared among the masses, leading to a less-than-stellar employment brand.

With 83 percent of job seekers willing to accept a lower salary if a company has a reputation as a great employer, according to the same CareerBuilder study, companies should strive to create a positive candidate and employee experience.

What else do hiring professionals need to know about the candidate experience? Let us know in the comments!

Author: Josh Tolan is the CEO of Spark Hire, a video interview solution used by more than 2,000 companies across the globe. Learn more about how video has changed and connect with Spark Hire on Facebook and Twitter.

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