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  • Writer's pictureMandy Jong

Candidate experience: why it’s more than just a buzz word.

The candidate experience may be seen by some in the recruitment industry as just another buzz word, but to stay competitive in this space you need to create a candidate experience that attracts, secures and retains top talent. So how does your approach and your process measure up against the expectations of today’s candidates?

Whether it’s sourcing, screening, selection or onboarding, how a candidate is treated at each of these stages is important in shaping their experience. Here are five tips to ensure your approach and process are providing your candidates with a positive experience.

#1 Communication is key

No one wants to be left in the dark. Not letting a candidate know where they are in the application process is one of the main factors contributing to a poor experience. Research conducted by Seek found that 66% of candidates who never heard back after applying for a job felt more negative towards the company, and more than half (57%) said they were unlikely to apply for another job at the company in the future as a result.

Communicate through every step of the recruitment process. If a candidate is unsuccessful, let them know as early as possible. The same goes for those you have selected for the next stage. If you don’t keep people informed of their progress quickly, you may lose them to another opportunity.

This isn’t always easy, especially when you are dealing with a large number of applicants. It doesn’t have to be a personal response from you; your Application Tracking System (ATS) can help. It can be used to send out bulk rejection emails, or send automated emails at each stage of the process to keep applicants informed.

#2 Don’t waste an applicant’s time (or yours!)

Being too open and broad in your job description, roles and responsibilities can lead to candidates applying who might not have the right experience or qualifications. Don’t waste their time and yours. Make sure you are clear about the job title, expectations and responsibilities in your advert.

You can even include a pre-screening questionnaire that automatically rules out any candidates who don’t match the pre-requisites for the role.

#3 Provide clear expectations throughout the application process

How candidates are treated at each stage of the job application process will have an impact on their overall candidate experience. Ensure you have a clear process and time frame for every stage of progression and keep applicants informed at each of these stages.

Being transparent about the recruitment process helps to build trust between yourself and the candidate. If you have your application process built into your ATS, you are able to automate the communication to each candidate so they know their next steps and exactly where they stand.

#4 Help candidates prepare for interview

We all want our candidates to feel as comfortable and confident as possible going into the interview so they can make the best impression. Help them prepare by sharing all you know about the client and the person who will be interviewing them, and encourage them to do their own research.

Be sure to provide the candidate with feedback following the interview. Depending on how much information you receive from your client, you can provide specific or more general feedback. This is especially important if the candidate is unsuccessful, as you still want them to have a positive experience and help them find success landing another job.

#5 Don’t disappear once your candidate has been placed

Once your candidate has signed their contract and started their new role, it is easy to forget to stay in contact. Make sure you keep in contact with your candidate over the first weeks to ensure they are happy and there are no issues that need to be sorted. Following that, set reminders in your ATS to contact them and maintain the relationship to leave a lasting positive impression with your candidate.

It is always good to stay in touch and keep track of your candidate’s career. You want to be the person they turn to for their next career move, who they refer friends and family to and even use when they need to hire.It’s important to remember candidates are well connected and informed. The impression you leave through your recruitment process may follow you. According to research, 65 percent of candidates will tell their family and friends if they have a negative experience. Some candidates may even use websites, like Sourcr or Recruiter Insider, to rate or review their recruiter and help others select recruiters based on their experience, so you want to make sure your candidates leave you a positive review.

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