Improving the Candidate Experience: Making a Positive Impression on Top Talent

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30 January 2015
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Hiring teams often forget that candidates are judging them and the company just as much as they are judging the candidate.  A 2013 candidate survey conducted by Seven Step RPO revealed that a staggering 25 percent of candidates who applied for jobs never heard anything back from the employer – not even an automated response acknowledging receipt of materials. Of those who did hear something, 75 percent said that it took two or more days for the employer to respond.

What does this mean for employers? According to a CareerBuilder survey, 42 percent of people who had a bad candidate experience said they would never reapply for a job at that company and 22 percent said they would tell others not to apply there. Nine percent went so far as to say they would tell others not to buy products or services from those companies.  Thanks to social media and candidate-centric website, job seekers have the means to follow through on these statements. Sites like Indeed and GlassDoor give candidates a platform to evaluate their experience with potential employers, which means that word of a bad experience can spread quickly.

Candidate experience matters. Through every step of the process, hiring teams must put themselves in the job seekers’ shoes, providing transparency and consistent communication. Every interaction should be seen as an opportunity to present the company and its brand in a favorable light. By improving the candidate experience, you can increase the chances that the buzz about your organization will be positive, and you can attract high-quality candidates today, tomorrow, and well into the future.

Here are some tips to help you improve your company’s candidate experience:

Integrate Company Branding

Every interaction you have with a candidate should be seen as a branding opportunity. Be sure that all email auto responders include a signature with the company logo and tagline. It can also be beneficial to include links to recent blog posts, the company careers page, employee stories, or upcoming corporate events in the text of automated emails.

Respect Their Time

You would not wait two weeks to respond to a customer inquiry, nor should you wait long to respond to candidates. A 24-hour response time should be the ideal goal for each call or email.  Even if you have nothing to report, respond and let the candidate know that you will get in touch as soon as you know something.

Time is also important when it comes to the interview. Hiring managers expect candidates to show up ten minutes early, but how many times have candidates been left sitting the lobby five, 10, or even 20 minutes after the designated start time because a member of the hiring team was handling something “more important”? Candidates often have to take time off work to come to interviews, and making them wait shows a lack of respect for their sacrifices. Treat interview times as non-negotiable, and don’t keep the candidate in the interview chair longer than one hour unless you’ve asked them ahead of time to block off more time.

Remember, if you consider someone to be a quality candidate, so do your competitors.  When it comes time to make a decision, talented individuals will go somewhere they already feel respected and appreciated.

Ask For Feedback

Send candidates a short survey after they have completed their interview process and before making a decision. Make sure to guarantee anonymity, so that the candidates will feel more comfortable answering your questions in an honest and open manner.  You can use the results of the survey to improve your candidate experience, and seeking feedback shows candidates that you value their opinions.

It doesn’t take too much time or effort to improve your candidate experience, but making small tweaks can have positive results in your ability to attract and hire top talent.  If you are looking for ways to improve your hiring process, contact Onboard Recruitment Advisers today. You can trust us to tell your company story. We partner with you to ensure that you are attracting – and retaining – the right talent at the right time.

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