Are you considering the candidate experience?

Do you think about the candidate experience when you are recruiting? A negative candidate experience can lead to a bad reputation, fewer applications and a more difficult starting point for future recruitments.

Are you considering the candidate experience?

How’s the candidate experience?

A survey revealed that 41% of candidates who’ve had a negative experience when applying for a job choose to not have a continued relationship with the company in question. In other words, they not only refrain from applying again in the future, they choose to not purchase any of their products. Just as a bad reputation spread, these dissatisfied applicants will share their negative experiences. Something which in turn can lead to losing them as customers. A negative candidate experience may therefore lead to a drop off in customers and applicants alike.

A negative candidate experience

Then, what creates a negative experience? Surprisingly enough it’s not a result of being rejected, in the opposite many report that a kind thank you can leave them with a positive feeling. The negative emotion stems from how the candidate is rejected and how the recruiter and company representative acts. Things that may contribute to a negative candidate experience are:

  • No, or slow, feedback on the application. The candidate will be unsure if the application was even received!
  • A lack of a designated contact person. The applicant calls to hear if their application was registered, but there is no one in charge of the project to give any straight answers.
  • No feedback after the interview. To go through to the interview stage signals to a candidate that they are in the running for the position. It can be disheartening to if there is no feedback or contact at all before the ultimate rejection. An email or a phone call with a simple thank you, but you're not the one we're looking for is just common curtesy and doesn’t take many minutes.
  • Unclearly defined position. After having read through the ad and been to an interview it’s still not clear exactly what the job entails. 

How’s the candidate experience? Download a checklist!

A positive candidate experience

In order to create a positive candidate experience, start with yourself. How would you feel in a situation where you don’t know if your application has been received? Where you were met with disinterest and couldn’t get any straight answers about what the actual job is?

Plug these holes by thinking through the underlying processes of the recruitment, ensure confirmation of received application, and create the right expectations with the candidate. Try applying for a position at your own company: what works, and what could become even better?

1. Well thought through processes

A candidate’s experience has a lot to do with the structure of the recruitment process. If for example the internal communication isn’t working as it should, it will be noticeable. There is a high chance of candidates falling between the cracks when recruiters and managers aren’t entirely sure about who’s responsible for handling post interview feedback and rejections.

In order to ensure proper underlying processes:

  • Decide on the structure of the recruitment before receiving applications: what important deadlines are there? What steps should there be in the recruitment process, and in which order should they be?
  • Clearly define areas of responsibility: who does what?
  • Ensure a proper basis for the recruitment: the position should be grounded in actual tasks and responsibilities within the organization, and predefined competencies supports how the ad is written and interview is done.
  • How should open applications and general submissions be handled?

2. Feedback and contact

Most would prefer a no rather than hear nothing at all. Don’t underestimate the value of contacting candidates and confirming that their application has been received. Feedback and confirmation also entails how and when candidates are rejected – the longer the wait the more negative the impact.

How candidates are treated also matter. For the lucky few making it through to interviews there is a greater expectation on personal contact and more detailed feedback. Also, how other employees or the recruiting manager act towards the candidate as he or she is visiting the office may affect their perception.

  • Give feedback early and often! Don’t dawdle and let the candidate know if they haven’t made it through to the next round.
  • How’s the contact with candidates in different spaces? When communicating by email, meeting for an interview, talking to the recruiter by phone or tracking down someone in charge for further questions.

3. Candidate expectations

Create the right expectations early on to minimize the risk of having candidates perceive the recruitment as confusing, being poorly designed or having been provided with the wrong information. A confirmation that you’ve received a candidate’s application is also an excellent opportunity to inform the applicant about the rest of the recruitment process. For example if they should be expecting to be contacted for an interview at a certain date, or will be asked to fill in a questionnaire.

Also, keep in mind that expectations about things such as the workplace is created as soon as the candidate reads though your job ad and further solidified based on what they hear directly from you.  Even if only one candidate is hired for the position, make sure that they get the right impression about company culture, their colleagues and the nature of their job assignments right from the start. 

  • Consider the ad! What does the job title, company description and explanation of job assignments convey?
  • Inform about the recruitment process and explain to candidates what they can expect.
  • Give a peek into the company culture so candidates know what it’s like working for you.

Creating a positive candidate experience

We’ve put together a list of small ways to greatly improve candidate perception and experience of your recruitment process. With the list in hand it will hopefully be easier to see what you’ve already mastered, and areas of improvements for future recruitments.

Download checklist for improving candidate experience

Published on January 31, 2018

Topics: Recruitment

Recruitment blog

In ReachMee's blog you'll find everything you want and need to know about recruiting. Learn more about creating career pages, attracting talent, working with employer branding and succeeding with your advertisements for open positions. Of course you'll also find information about recruitment processes, methods for selection and how to carry out a successful recruitment.

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