you candidate experience warrior.
Let me start with a short but self-indulgent anecdote to set the scene for this blog…
I was really fed up with work. I’d been grafting tirelessly and undertaking additional education to support my company and my career. Those efforts weren’t recognised and eventually, I burnt out.
I fixed up my CV and distributed it widely across various job boards. But there was one role I saw that was stood out as dream job in company I’d always admired. My application was successful, and I thrived in 2 rounds of interviews. I was confident that I’d done my best and was a good fit for the role. After that second interview, there was promises of quick feedback and next steps. It took 2 months to hear back that I’d been successful, and they wanted to offer me the job.
During their radio-silence I’d assumed that I’d been unsuccessful and had applied for other roles. I was successful elsewhere and during the process the company made me feel valued and respected. They communicated with me regularly, fairly and demonstrated their benefits and culture through this experience. There was mutual respect. It was a no brainer to join.
Reflecting on the process later I realised that my perception of the company I aspired to work for had change. Subconsciously I’d shared the negative candidate experience with friends, family, and other colleagues. I was spreading bad word of mouth without realising it and changing the perceptions of others around me through my bad experience.
Forward thinking companies have acknowledged the importance of prioritising candidate experience. In this difficult market it’s no longer a ‘nice to have’ but an absolute essential to attract, engage and retain the best talent.
Here are six thoughts to consider when thinking about improving your candidate experience.
1. Can you shorten your recruitment process?
It’s flipping tough to stand out and make yourself recognised as an employer of choice, but even that’s not enough in this current saturated market. With so many live vacancies, candidates are becoming intolerable for long-winded applications or recruitment processes.
There’s of course balance to be had here. Make it too easy to apply and applicant quality might nosedive, but make it overly complicated and drawn out and your audience will eye-roll and look elsewhere.
2. What’s stopping your candidates from applying?
“Putting yourself in the candidates’ shoes” is asking for trouble when thinking about solving problems. That’s because your ideas of what candidates want, think or do are fuelled with biases. An effective way to understand your candidates challenges and motivations is to speak to them. This can be done with interviews or simple surveys but the data you receive from this discovery will open possibilities to remove pain points or streamline the candidate journey.
Here’s some quick thoughts on areas you might want to dig into:
- Do candidates understand the language in your job descriptions?
- Do they understand the EVP and benefits for roles?
- What is their preferred way to apply for roles?
- What would they want/expect to see on your careers site?
- How do they search for roles?
- What device do they use for searching for roles?
3. How does your time to hire stack up?
The latest FIRM data shows that the average time to hire is 4-8 weeks with a sizeable increase in the 8–12-week bracket. The longer the time to hire, the more challenging it is to keep candidates engaged. What potential is there to reduce this?
4. Are you communicating effectively?
Response time is really important. It has the power to change the perception of companies quickly and can result in negative word of mouth sharing.
Here are some starts from the latest FIRM report:
- 44% of employers feedback within the first few weeks after applying
- 37% of employers feedback within the first week
- 4% of employers feedback within a day
We’re not saying that you should be sat, tapping your feet waiting for applications to reply to as soon as they hit your inbox, but be mindful of the negative effect too much radio-silence can have.
5. Can you guarantee you’re delivering on your EVP promises?
Okay, we hold our hands up. This is less about candidate experience and more about employee experience. But if you can’t guarantee you’re delivering on your EVP promises then that amazing candidate experience you’ve worked on will stand for nothing. Great candidate experiences can quickly become bad employee experiences if promises aren’t kept. Is it time to refresh your current offering? After all retention is equally as important attraction in this market.
6. Can you improve your careers site?
Your careers site should be the hub to persuade, convince and convert audiences from candidates to applicants. You need to invest in understanding common user behaviours and mental models to really make exceptional experiences.
Careers site projects should never be about making something snazzy, but really getting under the skin of user motivations and helping them complete them with great design.