Candidate experience refers to the feelings and perceptions that you create to your candidates during the hiring process. Creating happy candidate experiences is important because it not only sets the basis for happy employee experiences but it also helps you engage the right talent during the hiring process. Top talent will usually have more than one option to choose from, and it’s not always about the best economical offer. If you have created a better candidate experience than your competitors, candidates will be more likely to choose you. Happy candidate experiences also create positive word-of-mouth. During the hiring process, you interact with several candidates and they will talk about their experience to others, thus contributing to your reputation and employer brand.
In order to create happy candidate experiences, you will need to put yourself in the shoes of your candidates and design your hiring process from their perspective. Here are four super easy steps that can help you on your mission.
1) Write a Job Ad That Stands Out
Your job advertisement might not be the first time your candidates hear about your company, especially if you have put some effort into employer brading. However, a well-written job ad is still important because the job ad can either encourage the right candidates to apply for the role or make them run away.
First of all, make sure that your job ad is clear. Candidates should easily understand what are the main responsibilities in the role and what is required from the successful candidates. Second, while your job ad should be clear, it doesn’t mean that it needs to be dull. Let your authentic company culture shine through your job ad! Tell your candidates about your values, the way your team works together, and the development opportunities they will have if they join you. Third, always proofread and double check your job ad. Most people are not going to be attracted by a job advertisement that has obvious grammar and spelling errors in it. Mistakes can of course happen to anyone, but try your best to eliminate them. Finally, watch out for the length of your job ad. Just like you are unlikely to scan through a 5-page resume, the candidates are unlikely to read a job ad that is too long or repetitive. Instead, keep it short and sweet and include only the information that is necessary at this point of the process.
2) Remove Barriers for Applying
Got your awesome job ad? Great! Now it’s time to share it with your future talent. Whether you are using an applicant tracking system or posting directly on the relevant job sites and other platforms, you need to make sure that applying is easy for your candidates. Long application forms where the candidates need to specify every single work experience and education can make them leave the application form before even sending it.
Instead of requiring your candidates to fill out an application form manually, allow them to apply by using their LinkedIn or other online profile or by uploading their resume. To get to know your candidates better, add 3-5 killer questions about their skills, motivation, or other key requirements (such as required language skills or proficiency with specific software). Only add killer questions that truly help you understand who could fit the role. If you want, you can give the candidates the opportunity to add a cover letter, but only if you are going to read the cover letters, too. Finally, test the application form to make sure that everything works from the technical standpoint. You don’t want to lose great applicants because there was a wrong link or erroneous formatting in your application form!
3) Speed It Up
Part of a good candidate experience is the pace, things should move forward in a timely manner. If your hiring process is too slow or too long, you run the risk of losing some of your candidates. They can receive another offer or simply decide that a company with such slow processes doesn’t fit their workstyle. Of course, it is possible that the hiring process sometimes takes longer than expected for one reason or another. However, this should only be the case when something unexpected happens, not your standard process.
Therefore, when designing your hiring process, pay attention to things such as the time between the different steps of the process and the optimal number of interviews. For example, Google has determined that after four interviews the cost of conducting any additional interviews becomes bigger than the contribution of these interviews to the hiring decision (see How Google Works by Eric Schmidt & Jonathan Rosenberg, with Alan Eagle). The smoother your process moves forward, to more likely you are able to keep your candidates engaged.
4) Keep ‘em Updated
Communication is key to a happy candidate experience. It may seem hard to communicate with everyone because of the huge volume of applications that you are receiving thanks to your stand-out job ad and your easy application process. However, if you have a robust ATS, you can easily let candidates know that you have received their application, invite them to interviews, and send kind rejections to the candidates that were not selected at this time. Provide feedback to candidates who were interviewed but not selected so that they can improve their skills in the future.
Good communication also helps in the case that there is an unexpected delay in the process. Even if you cannot provide your candidates with the information on the next steps, you can still let them know that there is a delay in the process and you will give them more details as soon as you can. Most people will understand this.
Creating happy candidate experiences helps you set a strong basis for happy employee experiences, increases the likelihood that people will choose your company over your competitors, and contributes to your positive reputation and employer brand. Do you have any other suggestions on creating great experiences? I’d love to hear them!