Candidate experience: Why it’s important and what you can do to improve it.

 In Squirrel

What is the ‘candidate experience’ and why is it so important for any hiring team to get right?

The term ‘candidate experience’ refers to how candidates perceive and react to your company once they experience your recruiting process. This begins from the very first time they are exposed to your business and carries all the way through to the final point of rejection or job offer and hire. Providing a positive experience is therefore one of the most crucial factors when attracting new talent.

The impression you leave with a successful candidate is just as important as the one you leave with an unsuccessful candidate. Why? Because word of mouth, whether positive or negative, travels fast. If your business is highlighted in a negative way, you’ll be left with no appeal to future candidates.

The power of a positive candidate experience

The candidate experience is often overlooked when hiring – particularly when time isn’t on your side! However, if you pay attention to it, positive experiences will have many positive impacts on your business over time. To name a few, positive candidate experiences will:

Boost your employer brand

Regardless of whether the candidate is successful or not, a good candidate experience will guarantee a positive impression of your company. The more positive experiences people have with your brand, the stronger your overall employer brand will be.

Attract, and retain, top candidates

Just remember there are endless opportunities out there for exceptional candidates, so you want to make sure to stand out. If a candidate has an excellent experience throughout the process, there is a much higher chance of them accepting your job offer.

Gain a competitive advantage

By providing a great candidate experience, you are automatically setting your business apart from your competitors who don’t provide the same quality of service. This will be noticed by your candidates – particularly your best ones!

Improving your candidate experience… where to start?

When trying to implement changes across your business’ systems, it can be hard to know where to start and what areas to focus on first. So, we’ve put a list of areas together to help you create a better candidate experience to stand out from your competitors and retain your best applicants.

1. Write a clear job description

This is what’s going to make job seekers hit the apply button. Make this a clear and accurate explanation of the job responsibilities and requirements. Your job description is also a great opportunity to state the salary range, perks and benefits, and company values – but be careful to keep this in an easy-to-read format.

2. Communicate!

63% of candidates say most employers do not communicate adequately – which any business in the process of hiring should be concerned about. Employers failing to get back to candidates at any point in the hiring process is the most common complaint about their job application process.

How can you keep your candidates happy? Keep candidates in the loop of their application status every step of the way to inform them on where they stand in the decision process. This is an excellent – and simple – way to build positive experiences.

3. Simplify your candidate application process

Research shows that 60% of job seekers will abandon the recruitment process if it is too complex and stressful.

If your organisation requires a lengthy application process, you are likely turning your top candidates away, so it’s a good idea to make your applications short and sweet. Another tip is to make the process mobile friendly as more and more job seekers search for their next jobs via their phones.

4. Create a positive interview experience

For most candidates, interviewing is the most stressful step in the recruitment process. To make this a more positive experience for the candidate, it is helpful to share the schedule and list of interviewers along with their titles, so they can do their research.

5. Give the unsuccessful candidates honest feedback

Feedback may not be at the forefront of your mind when rejecting candidates (and let’s face it, no one likes this part of the job!), but these people are likely to continue talking about your business and their experience with it to their friends and family – so it pays to provide genuine feedback as to why they were unsuccessful. Sharing this will allow them to see the logic behind the rejection, will help them succeed in their future job applications, and will ensure they feel more positive about your business as a whole, even after the bad news is delivered.

6. Maintain candidate relationships

Just because you didn’t hire them, doesn’t mean their experience with your company ends there as they may be the perfect fit for other future positions at your company. Keeping in touch with top candidates can considerably reduce time through your next recruiting and hiring processes – and will keep your business front of mind for when these candidates are looking for their next career move, too.

7. Automate your processes with recruitment software

All this extra communication is time-consuming – we get it. But, with an automated recruitment system in place to manage bulk communications, assessments, onboarding and more, you’ll free up enough time to focus your efforts on the more personal touches that your software can’t replace you for. With the right system in place, recruitment software will allow for a painless hiring process through automation, and you will save a ton of time while you’re at it.

Could your current recruitment management system do with a shake up to improve your candidate experience? Whether you choose to start with one of the above points, or all, get in touch to see how a system like Squirrel can help to streamline this process.

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