Talent Acquisition

The Potential Positive and Negative Impacts of Candidate Experience

With businesses still working hard to compete for high-caliber employees, recruitment has become a two-way process. It is not just about employers assessing and selecting the best candidate, it is about talented people evaluating and picking the best employers. Their experience as candidates at every stage of the recruitment journey will influence their decisions.

Providing a positive experience will increase the likelihood of your preferred candidate accepting a job offer with your organization over that of a competitor. They are also more likely to be engaged and invested in adding value to your business from the outset. Any high-caliber candidates who came through the journey, but were not successful on that occasion, will still view the organization positively. They will be more motivated to reapply when an alternative position arises and, in the meantime, will be more likely to recommend the company to others, both as potential employees and as customers.

In contrast, a negative candidate experience will not only discourage your preferred candidate from choosing your organization. It can also prevent top talent from applying in the first place, cause them to drop out of the recruitment process, or result in them sharing negative perceptions with their peers. All of this puts organizations under increased pressure to successfully fill positions and may result in costly hiring mistakes.

At Pure, our expert consultants support clients to review their candidate experience and to make it engaging and positive for all involved. They also provide extra resources, time, and expertise, which organizations may not have in-house, to provide the candidate investment needed to create a positive experience. Here are some of the core factors we advise clients to consider when reviewing their recruitment journey.

Are all touch points transparent, straightforward, and engaging?

From the outset, ensure candidates are given clear information and engaging reasons why they should consider working for your business. Are the job description and person specification comprehensive and informative, so people can quickly decide if they are interested before they invest time applying? Is there transparent information about remuneration, benefits, and perks? Have you provided or directed candidates to easy ways to find out more about the organization and its company culture, working environment, and values?

Once you have secured interest, is the application process straightforward? While gathering the critical information needed to screen potential applicants is essential, the process should not be complex and frustrating, or candidates may move on to apply for a different position.

The interview stages are one of the most significant opportunities to provide a positive experience. Are candidates given all the information they need in advance to feel prepared? Is the interview designed to ensure they feel challenged and show you care about finding the right person while creating a two-way process? For example, are there plenty of opportunities for candidates to learn more about the organization, the people they would be working with, and the career progression and development opportunities available?

Is there regular communication with a personal touch?  

If candidates are left waiting for updates, they are likely to become frustrated and could also accept a different job. Are candidates given a clear timeline of the recruitment process and regular updates throughout the journey? Do all candidates receive updates and feedback, even those not selected for an interview or the position itself?

In the age of technology, automated emails and responses may save time, but they are usually very generic and impersonal. Is there enough personal contact throughout the process to show genuine investment in candidates? Taking the time to regularly call or send personal emails shows real consideration and respect for candidates’ time in applying for the role.

Is the recruitment process both quick and effective?  

If there is too long a gap between the applications being submitted, interviews, and job offers, there is a real risk that organizations will lose out on the most highly sought candidates. Has time been set aside to ensure you can act fast, without rushing? Does the recruitment process only involve the necessary processes needed for that specific role?

Making yourself available shows commitment and will demonstrate to candidates that you are eager to get them on board. Always remember that another organization may have been able to meet someone on a Monday, do a second interview on Tuesday, and have made an offer by Wednesday afternoon. Consider the recruitment process needed for each role and streamline it to remove any unnecessary stages which could increase the hiring period and potentially make candidates feel they have to jump through irrelevant hoops.

Once you have decided, it is still not the end of the journey or the candidate experience. Let everyone who took part in the final stages know the outcome as soon as possible, not just the chosen candidate, so no one is left waiting and wondering. Consider ways of keeping in touch with the high-caliber candidates who were unsuccessful on this occasion so they feel encouraged to apply again in the future. Plus, begin regular communications around the onboarding and induction of your chosen candidate so their positive perceptions continue throughout their notice period and into their new role.

By Gill Buchanan

Gill is a founding Director of Pure Resourcing Solutions has worked in the recruitment field since 1988. Gill’s experience is broad based and includes eight years of specialist recruitment experience within an international specialist recruitment company including five years working within financial services recruitment in Sydney, Australia.