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You Must WOW to WIN

June 30, 20236 min read

In today's competitive job market, providing a positive candidate experience has become essential for organizations to attract and retain top talent. Candidate experience refers to the perceptions and attitudes that candidates have towards an organization during the hiring process. It includes the communication, feedback, and overall experience that candidates have from the initial application to the final offer stage.

According to a survey by CareerBuilder, 78% of candidates say that the overall candidate experience they receive is an indicator of how a company values its employees. In addition, a poor candidate experience can negatively impact an organization's employer brand and ability to attract future talent.

In this article, we will explore the importance of candidate experience, the elements of a positive candidate experience, and tips for improving it.

Importance of Candidate Experience

Providing a positive candidate experience is crucial for organizations to attract and retain top talent. A positive candidate experience can help organizations to:

  • Attract high-quality candidates: A positive candidate experience can help to differentiate an organization from its competitors and attract top talent who are more likely to accept an offer.

  • Improve the employer brand: A positive candidate experience can improve an organization's reputation and employer brand, making it easier to attract talent in the future.

  • Increase employee engagement: Candidates who have a positive experience during the hiring process are more likely to become engaged and committed employees.

  • Reduce time-to-hire and cost-per-hire: A positive candidate experience can help to streamline the hiring process and reduce the time and cost associated with filling a position.

On the other hand, a poor candidate experience can result in negative reviews and damage an organization's reputation. According to a survey by CareerArc, 72% of candidates who have a bad experience share it on employer review sites like Glassdoor, LinkedIn, and Indeed.

Elements of a Positive Candidate Experience

A positive candidate experience is made up of several key elements that help to create a seamless and positive experience for candidates. Here are some of the most important elements:

Clear and concise communication

Clear and concise communication is essential for providing a positive candidate experience. Candidates should know what to expect at each stage of the hiring process and receive timely updates on the status of their application. Organizations should provide clear and concise job descriptions and application instructions, and respond promptly to candidates' questions and concerns. Utilizing technology can speed responses, however a company must give thought to how to make these technology-assisted touches seem personal. WhoHire's automations can help you, and you should make sure that as you write email templates, or create automated text exchanges that each of them feel "real" not like a process.  Feel free to use more casual language.

Consider explaining why you are asking a candidate to do something and give them the feeling of choice. As an example, if you are using an assessment as part of the process; You could change from a message that reads: "To continue with our hiring process please complete this online assessment," to something like: "We've had a ton of interest in this role!  If you'd like to skip to the front of the line you can complete this short 10-min questionnaire.  In exchange, we promise we'll get back to you within 24 hours."  A message like this gives the feeling of choice, of personal benefit and they know it won't disappear in a black hole. And with WhoHIre's automations you can easily live up to the 24 hour rule.

Timely and constructive feedback

Candidates value feedback on their application and progress throughout the hiring process. Organizations should provide timely and constructive feedback on candidates' resumes, cover letters, and interview performance. This feedback can help candidates to improve and feel more engaged in the hiring process.

From the very beginning, you should be telling candidates: "Our hiring process is thorough...but we move fast for the right candidates.  You can expect there to be X# of steps completed within one week. We promise at each stage to give you a heads up within 12 hours if you are still in the running."

Respect for the candidate's time and effort

Candidates invest time and effort in the application and interview process, and organizations should respect that investment. This includes providing a clear timeline for the hiring process, being punctual for interviews, and minimizing unnecessary steps in the application process. Creating a repeatable process and having good candidate scoring methodologies in place can assist in helping speed the process. Even when the answer is "no", a company should promptly follow up with candidates, especially those that made it past the first stage of your process.

Personalized and human interactions

Candidates appreciate personalized and human interactions with recruiters and hiring managers. Organizations should strive to create a positive and engaging experience for candidates by providing personalized feedback, asking thoughtful questions, and being transparent about the hiring process.

Transparency and honesty

Organizations should be transparent and honest about their culture, expectations, and the job requirements. This includes providing candidates with a realistic job preview and being upfront about the potential challenges and opportunities of the position.

Respectful treatment of all candidates

All candidates, regardless of whether they are offered a job, should be treated with respect and dignity. Organizations should provide timely and respectful feedback to candidates, even if they are not selected for the position.

Tips for Improving Candidate Experience

Here are some tips for improving candidate experience:

Map the candidate journey

Mapping the candidate journey can help organizations to identify pain points and improve the overall candidate experience. This involves tracking each touchpoint in the hiring process, from the job posting to the final offer stage, and assessing the quality of communication, feedback, and overall experience at each stage. This can help organizations to identify areas for improvement and optimize the candidate experience.

Streamline the application process

A lengthy and complex application process can deter qualified candidates and result in a negative candidate experience. Organizations should aim to streamline the application process by minimizing unnecessary steps, using a user-friendly application system, and providing clear instructions on how to apply. It is helpful to let the candidate know all the steps up front, and also the timeline that the entire process should take.

Train recruiters and hiring managers

Recruiters and hiring managers play a critical role in creating a positive candidate experience. Organizations should provide training and support to recruiters and hiring managers to ensure they have the skills and knowledge to create a positive and engaging experience for candidates.

Provide a realistic job preview

Providing a realistic job preview can help to set expectations and reduce turnover. Organizations should be upfront about the challenges and opportunities of the position, and provide a clear understanding of the day-to-day responsibilities and expectations.

Solicit feedback from candidates

Soliciting feedback from candidates can help organizations to identify areas for improvement and show candidates that their feedback is valued. This can be done through surveys, focus groups, or one-on-one feedback sessions.

Continuously improve

Creating a positive candidate experience is an ongoing process that requires continuous improvement. Organizations should regularly review and assess the candidate experience and identify areas for improvement.

In conclusion, providing a positive candidate experience is crucial for organizations to attract and retain top talent. By focusing on clear communication, timely feedback, personalized interactions, transparency, and respect, organizations can create a positive and engaging experience for candidates. By continuously improving the candidate experience, organizations can strengthen their employer brand and attract high-quality talent for years to come.

Jonathan Porter-Whistman

Jonathan is the International Bestselling author of "The Sales Boss: The Real Secret to Hiring, Training, and Managing a Sales Team" and is the CEO of PerceptionPredict.ai

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