The candidate experience has a far greater impact on your recruitment success than many companies realize. Professionals aren’t as willing to overlook shortcomings as they have been in years past. Instead, they consider the candidate experience an introduction to the company’s culture. If it’s lacking, they extend that concept to the overall work environment, creating doubts about whether accepting a job there is a smart move.
Failing to offer a top-quality candidate experience means missing out on talent. In-demand professionals have options, and they won’t settle for an employer that doesn’t make a positive impression right out of the gate.
If you want to make sure your candidate experience measures up, here’s what you need to know.
What a Negative Candidate Experience Looks Like
A negative candidate experience is simply one where the job seeker feels let down in some capacity. One of the most common shortcomings involves poor communication. If a candidate doesn’t get responses from employers or recruiters in a timely fashion, they feel ignored and unvalued.
Another issue that leads to a negative candidate experience is complex or cumbersome job applications. For example, if you ask a job seeker to upload a resume and then require them to input that data into job history fields, many candidates become frustrated by having to do the same work twice. Asking too many essay questions may also turn off candidates.
Trouble coordinating an interview also harms the candidate experience. While it may require more than one email message or phone call, an excessive amount of back and forth can create the impression that the company is disorganized.
If your interview process is lengthier than what seems reasonable for the job level, that could also lead to a negative candidate experience. While most job seekers understand that two rounds may be necessary, going far beyond that for entry-level or individual contributor roles may seem excessive.
Any of the issues above can cause job seekers to view their experience negatively. Once that happens, they may abandon their application or remove themselves from contention.
What a Positive Candidate Experience Looks Like
A positive candidate experience is streamlined, engagement-focused, and personalized. One of the hallmarks is solid communication from the company or recruiter. This includes messages that let the job seeker know the general status of their application, as well as personalized communications for scheduling interviews and providing certain updates.
Having a simple application process is also a hallmark. For example, having resume parsing software so that candidates only have to provide a resume or fill out the application fields is ideal. Limiting essay questions or supplemental data-gathering on points that don’t need to be covered during the earliest stages also has a big impact.
Shorter hiring processes simplified interviewing scheduling, and the ability to easily showcase the company’s mission, values, and culture also make the experience increasingly positive. Similarly, demonstrating that you value the candidate goes a long way and may even make up for the occasional hiccup in the broader process.