How to create the best Candidate Experience?

A good experience will make candidates view your company from a positive point of view. This will enhance the Employer Brand as well as chances of hiring passive candidates. Read on to find out more about candidate experience…

Candidate experience is quite the buzzword today. Every company is worried about the experience that they give to their candidates throughout the recruitment process. One of the most important factors that affect the talent that a company attracts is candidate experience. Because Candidate Experience is how the candidates feel after they’ve been through a company’s hiring process, and be it good or bad, has a lot of influence on how everyone forms perceptions about the functioning of the company. It influences the candidate’s decisions to apply to your company and decide whether to accept or reject your offer letters. A bad candidate experience can wreck a company’s employer brand in the job market. If a candidate has been dealt with carelessly because of some miscommunication or lack of it, everyone in their close circle and through a trickle down scenario, a lot of people come to know about candidates being manhandled by the company and the inefficiencies in their processes. Hence, it becomes very important for companies to create the best candidate experience.

According to SHRM, 60% of candidates have quit a job application in the middle due to their length and complexity of processes. a good candidate experience will make candidates feel good about your company after they see how you treat them. A better candidate experience might make them eager to share their good feelings with others, helping build up your reputation. On the other hand, a bad candidate experience will make candidates lose respect for you, both as an employer and as a brand. When you ask candidates, they will tell you not one but many different problems in your recruiting process which eventually leads to candidate experience. Additionally, Every candidate has different beliefs, so it is very important for companies to make improvements in the one they think is needed. Crafting a good candidate experience in recruitment is a must for companies in order to maintain a good employer brand.

What is Candidate Experience and why is it important?

Candidate experience is an impression formed by candidates about a company based on the way they are treated during the hiring process. Companies can only take precautionary measures to create a positive mindset as candidate experience isn’t controllable. To create a good candidate experience you may need to change one or a few of the stages in your hiring pipeline- sourcing, recruiting, interviewing, hiring, and on-boarding process. You need to be in the candidate’s shoes, communicate effectively, take feedback, be empathetic and respectful and create a smooth and faster-hiring process if you really want to improve candidate experience.

Catering to the needs of candidates is not just important but should be the top priority for companies. When candidates visit you and are left all alone without any guidance or when you don’t call back your candidates after the interview, that’s when candidates have a negative experience. It’s very easy to assume things and that assumption can become a review in different review sites like Glassdoor which won’t end up on very good terms. Many thought leaders believe that candidate experience can lead to brand building.

Ways to create the best candidate experience

1. Perform a skill gap analysis for vacant positions

Conducting a formal skills gap analysis is the best way to identify the kind of additional skills your team needs to grow. You can perform skills gap analyses on an individual or team level, to help with succession planning, training goals and hiring plans. Often, a formal skills gap analysis can help companies see that they can train their current employees, instead of hiring new ones.

2. Fast and right hiring decisions

A faster process means your chances of getting top candidates are higher than other companies. Top talent usually have their own opinion about the hiring process and if you ask silly questions or take not so required interview rounds, they will notice, will be frustrated and won’t even bother to continue in your recruitment process. So, having a right and a faster hiring process should be your main priority because this is the first step where candidates will create an assumption about you.

3. Clear job descriptions and hassle-free application process

If attracting the top talent is your priority you must give some time to write a beautiful job description. The job description should not be just about the requirements and responsibilities the candidate will have to perform rather details should be more about what candidates can achieve with your company, why they should join you, which manager they will work under. Use a structured and well-designed hiring process which is not cumbersome, both for the employer and employees. An Applicant Tracking System can make the work easier for your company.

4. Effective communication and follow-up with candidates

Keep your candidates informed at all the stages of the hiring process. They should know what to expect next. Reminder emails and prompt responses go a long way in building your employer brand via a positive image in the minds of the candidates. Give small details, doesn’t matter how small or stupid you think it is. Your company culture matters a lot to candidates. Make use of it. Give them stories they can discuss with their colleagues.

5. Be more human through the entire process

Candidates are already in a lot of pressure when they are being interviewed. So, your work pressure or professionalism doesn’t really need to be formal. We are all humans after all and a happy, easy to go company can become candidates dream company in no time. Treat them in a friendly and cheerful manner. Make sure that the atmosphere is not too tense as it can be difficult for both the parties to communicate freely under situations of pressure.

6. Keep your candidates engaged

Keep your candidates occupied throughout the process. While conducting meetings and interviews in offices, and the interviewer is late, make sure that you communicate it promptly to the candidate and keep them engaged. Get out of your ways to do so- maybe a PlayStation, ask somebody of the same team to stay with candidates. This way they can get to know more about your culture and can further help them gain confidence. Give them some challenging tasks to work on, don’t give them actual work but some fun challenges, this way you will also be able to assess the candidate’s culture fit.

7. Train your hiring team

Train your team to prepare for hiring processes, especially when you are hiring in bulk. The way your interviewers conduct themselves will either sell candidates on the position or scare them away. Set up a brief (30–45 minute) training session to help them improve their interview skills and make sure they know how to answer some common questions that candidates will ask.

8. Open feedbacks

Feedbacks are very crucial from the perspective of hiring. Even if a candidate is rejected, giving honest feedback goes a long way for the candidates to improve themselves and for the recruiters to improve their processes. Everyone appreciates honest feedback. And these are the people who will talk about you, and will send you free candidates. Giving a few information as to why they didn’t make it will help them to land a job in some other company and they will always be thankful to you.

9. Prompt and humble rejection mails

Do it as soon as you decide not to move forward with a candidate. Don’t back out — sending an honest rejection letter is always better than sending nothing. People really appreciate such gestures.

10. Keep in touch with candidates

People change and so will candidates who are rejected for their current skills. It often happens that 2 or 3 candidates are shortlisted but you only have 1 opening. These are the candidates you want to be in touch with. They will appreciate it and most probably say yes to your next job offer. So, keep a check to know how they are performing in the current company. Do tag candidates in ATS you are using with skills they are good at and you will soon have a list of candidates who are already assessed and interviewed when you have a job opening.

It is important to understand the fact that real change will only be reflected when you truly start to care for the candidates that apply at your company. So it’s okay to not follow the rules always and get out of your comfort zones to improve the experience of your candidates, while also enhancing your company name at the same time.

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Suchismita Panda