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Providing a positive candidate experience can attract top talent and improve brand recognition, while poor candidate experience can lead to negative opinions about a company. Educating and aligning executive and recruitment teams on the importance of candidate experience is crucial, along with providing good candidate communication throughout the recruitment process, including personalized rejections with feedback.
Today’s digitized world provides most people with a platform to share their opinion on just about anything. And expose that opinion to just about anybody, anywhere in the world.

For companies, this can either make or break their reputation. This is because customers, employees and potential hires can share opinions that can attract or detract, both in terms of business and recruitment.

Nowadays, candidates can form an opinion about a business as a potential employer in just a few clicks. Those who prioritize Candidate Experience are often the companies with the most impressive reputation (and the most supple talent pool).

Approaching Candidate Experience the right way means:

  • Customers and candidates perceive your company as caring and people-centric.
  • Your brand recognition increases and becomes more positive, both for new and existing customers (who are often also your potential hires).
  • You avoid turning unhappy candidates into detractors for your business.

Yet, before you reap the benefits of great Candidate Experience, you must identify and understand the obstacles and opportunities in your recruitment process (both internally and externally).Contents

Align and Educate on the Importance of Candidate Experience

On paper, recruitment is a simple process: there’s a position that needs to be filled, you publish a job ad, screen applications, interview a couple of candidates and select the right person to fill it.

In reality, it is much more nuanced than this. Decreasing unemployment rates globally have changed the name of the recruitment game and embedding candidate centricity into the way you recruit matters. Job seekers have refined their expectations and become more selective when it comes to their potential employers.

But the way you recruit can also have serious implications on the candidates’ relationship with your organization as customers. A study has shown that 42% of applicants will stop buying a company’s product because of poor Candidate Experience. And 34% of them will tell their friends to stop buying it too. 

Let’s put this into perspective. If 100 candidates have a negative perception of your recruitment process, 42 of them will stop doing business with you, and 34 of them will tell their friends, potentially doubling or tripling that number. These are numbers your organization should be aware of.

Educating the Executive Teams

Drawing attention to the tangible impact of Candidate Experience on your business’ performance and reputation will help the executive teams:

  • Visualize the opportunities prioritizing excellent Candidate Experience can bring to a business. And the commercial impact of getting it wrong.
  • Get on board and align on support for the right resources that promote stellar Candidate Experience.
  • Understand how working on Candidate Experience can help your company stay ahead of the competitors. Not only by boosting your reputation among potential candidates, but also by making your processes more efficient.

Educating the Recruitment Teams

Aligning with the talent acquisition teams (including the responsible hiring managers) on the role of Candidate Experience in the overall performance of your organization’s hiring efforts is imperative to the success of Mission: Candidate Experience.

By training your recruitment teams on the benefits of excellent Candidate Experience you can:

  • Train your team to interact and work with candidates far more efficiently and effectively than before.
  • Improve the recruitment team’s performance by equipping them with specific data on where and how they can improve on their interaction with candidates.
  • Address company-wide issues by providing consistency in the recruitment process.
  • Enhance employee satisfaction by facilitating an environment where they can ask for support and become more confident in their role.

Support from both of these critical groups can make Candidate Experience a company-wide approach and help turn it into your competitive edge, both in recruitment and sales.

Good Candidate Communication Elicits Great Candidate Experiences

It takes a candidate an average of 24 weeks to find a job. During that time, they will send tens of applications and often hear nothing in return. Maybe an automated general rejection email at the screening stage, if they’re lucky.

One of the main reasons why job seekers report having a negative Candidate Experience applying for a job at a company is unresponsiveness. In fact, a study showed that 75% of applicants never hear back from employers after applying for a job, and as many as 60% don’t even hear back after having a face to face interview. 

With just a little effort, you can easily provide a better Candidate Experience than the majority of your competitors. How?

Analyze the Recruitment Process and Connect with Candidates

Find suitable touchpoints in the application process to reach out to your candidates and update them on the upcoming steps:

  • Before the candidate even submits their application, provide them with a way to contact a relevant employee to discuss the role with.
  • Commit to a specific timeline for the recruitment process and communicate it to every candidate as soon as they apply to establish trust.
  • Provide further news and information on your company to increase the candidates’ commitment and interest in your business as their future employer.
  • Send reminder emails in between stages, making the candidates feel like they are your top priority.
  • Asking for feedback throughout the process shows candidates that you value their opinion and allows you to take concrete steps towards providing a stellar Candidate Experience.

Personalize Contact

It’s simple: use candidates’ names and speak to them as individuals. This way, your communication sounds less robotic and more human, all the while fostering a deeper relationship between the applicant and your company. 

Make Your Rejections Human

Rejection is an inherent part of every recruitment process. After all, you’re only going to hire one or two of the candidates who send in an application for the job.

But how do you deliver negative news in a constructive way?

First of all: personalization and feedback are key to softening the blow of any rejection. Finding out you didn’t make it to the next round is one thing, but not knowing why can increase their negative sentiment to the company.

Try creating 3-5 different rejection templates for the most common reasons your candidates don’t advance to the next round (e.g. lack of experience, lack of relevant skills, misaligned expectations, etc.). 

If you are rejecting a candidate post-interview, you should absolutely call them to relay the news. They have dedicated enough time to applying, preparing and attending the interview to deserve a more personal rejection than a generic email.

Even though the candidate is likely to be disappointed with the news regardless, providing concrete feedback will know exactly what to improve on before re-applying in the future. 

By being personal and respectful in your communication with candidates, you get the ball rolling on spreading the word of your company’s people-first approach. 

50% of candidates are unwilling to work for a company with a bad reputation, even for a pay rise, so start nurturing that relationship as soon as the first application confirmation email.

In Short

Providing a positive candidate experience can attract supple talent pools and improve brand recognition.

Companies should educate and align their executive and recruitment teams on the importance of Candidate Experience and the benefits of prioritizing it.

The recruitment teams should be trained to interact more efficiently and effectively with candidates, while company-wide consistency should be provided in the recruitment process.

Good candidate communication is crucial to elicit great candidate experiences, including finding suitable touchpoints to connect with candidates, personalizing contact, and making rejections human by providing feedback.

Spreading the word of the company's people-first approach is essential to improve its reputation among potential candidates.

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