Prioritizing Candidate Experience in Recruitment: The Dos and Dont’s
David, a software developer, gets a call from a software company just as he starts looking for a new job. He lets the recruiter know he is interested in the job, and the recruiter promises to get back soon with an interview date. After three weeks of radio silence, he gets an interview invite. David attends the interview but receives no further communication. After two months, he gets an offer letter from the company.
Reader, I have a question for you. If you were David, would you accept the offer?
David, in our story, did not.
To him, the whole incident screamed unprofessional. If a company treated its candidates so shabbily, how would it treat its employees?
David is not alone in this thinking. Studies show that 78% of candidates consider candidate experience a good indicator of how exactly a company values its employees.
David’s is just one of the many examples of poor candidate experience out there.
Given how common these experiences are and how adversely they can impact companies’ reputation and recruitment prospects, it is good to understand what candidate experience is and how it can be improved.
What Is Candidate Experience and Why Does it Matter?
During recruitment, a candidate interacts with one or more members of your organization. Each interaction can affect the candidate positively or negatively, depending on how well or poorly the communication went. Was the communication friendly, transparent, and consistent? Then the candidate is most likely to have a positive experience.
There are many valid reasons why you should pay attention to candidate experience:
- Save money, time, and resources: If skilled candidates do not join the organization because of their negative experience, you will have to keep scouting for people until someone fitting says yes.
- Build a positive reputation: In this social media age, leaving a bad impression can have a devastating effect. Word spreads quickly (negative feedback, especially) and can boost or dent your public image.
- Improve employee retention: If candidates have a positive experience during recruitment, they are more likely to engage with your organization and contribute to its growth. As they thrive, so will your organization.
Now that we know how candidate experience can impact your organization, let’s identify the various stages of recruitment where you can proactively create a positive impression.
Taking Care of Candidate Experience During Sourcing
There is a high influx of candidates at this stage, but that doesn’t mean you can relax the professionalism candidates expect from your organization.
- Job descriptions: Are you putting up job posters with incomplete job descriptions? You will soon be dealing with a flurry of resumes that don’t entirely match the job. Make your job postings comprehensive with all the relevant information, such as job title, role description, responsibilities, qualifications required, working hours, benefits, etc., so that you attract only the right candidates. Candidates would also be better able to decide whether to apply or not, which helps save their time.
- Communication with applicants: It is impractical to personally write to every candidate when you are dealing with thousands of applications. Automation is your friend here. Send an auto-reply to acknowledge the candidate’s application. Even if a candidate doesn’t make it through initial screening, you can offer to keep them informed of new opportunities.
Creating a Great Interview Experience
Cronofy’s Third Annual Candidate Expectations Report states that 72% of candidates decide whether or not to take up a job based on how their interview went. The smoother the process, the higher the chances of the candidate considering being part of the company.
- Scheduling delays: As per a study, 49% of candidates drop out of the recruitment process if the interview is delayed. Timely scheduling shows that your organization values the candidate. This means scheduling an interview at least three to six days from the initial screening.
- Who’s convenience?: Are you choosing interview dates that are convenient for your candidates? Check their availability and give them a few dates as options. Once the interview is scheduled, provide them all relevant information, such as the date and time of the interview, the mode (online or offline), the location if it is an offline interview, and the meeting link if it is an online interview.
You get to read a lot about job interview etiquette for candidates. But etiquette goes both ways. Make the candidate comfortable. Start the interview on time, offer the candidate a glass of water (if it is an offline interview), maintain eye contact, and clearly explain the interview process to the candidate to put them at ease. Asking deeply personal and irrelevant questions, being distracted during the interview are examples of poor etiquette on the part of the recruiter.
How do you identify if your current interview process works or not? Ask your employees what was good about your interview process and what could be improved.
Paying attention to candidate experience, especially during mass recruitment drives can be difficult. Scheduling conflicts, miscommunication, and non-standardized processes can all mar the experience for candidates. Automation is your friend here! Right from applicant tracking systems (ATS) to automated interview software exist for a good reason. Automated workflows in the ATS ensure that all communication with candidates right from the application stage to the onboarding stage is seamlessly carried out without misses and errors.
Interview software has evolved so far as to handle interviews on its own without the need for a human interviewer. With automated interview software, candidates can view the available time slots and schedule an interview according to their convenience. As the interview questions are automated, candidates can be confident that the evaluation process is not colored by any recruiter bias.
Improving the Onboarding Experience
So you’ve hired them. Now what? Ensuring a seamless transition from candidate to employee is the next important step. Instances of candidates quitting their jobs within a year because of subpar onboarding experiences are not unheard of. Effective onboarding, on the other hand, has been shown to improve hire retention by 82% according to a Glassdoor survey.
Here are a few tips to keep in mind for creating a frictionless onboarding experience:
- Prior communication: A reminder about the documents to be submitted can help avoid delays in onboarding. Checking up on the candidate over a call before the day of joining to address any concerns is a small but important step.
- Seamless onboarding: A smooth onboarding process puts the candidate at ease and helps them adapt better to the new environment. Automation of the onboarding process can help with adding new hires to onboarding channels and sending them regular reminders about tasks, info, etc. This will make the process seamless for your new employees.
- Buddy system: Pairing an existing employee (buddy) with the new hire can ease the nerves of the latter during the first few weeks at the new organization. The buddy can help the new employee get acquainted with the new environment and its culture.
While it is impossible to have a perfect recruitment system that satisfies all candidates all the time, it is still important that organizations strive for it. We’ve seen how it can impact talent acquisition and help shape a more engaged workforce.
So next time you recruit, offer candidates an experience worth remembering. This itself could help unlock a future of recruitment success for you.