December 1, 2020
HR Digital Transformation Series: 5 Ways to Improve the Candidate Experience
The Talent Board recently surveyed over 195,000 job seekers and 140 organizations to find out how candidates feel about the recruitment process. They found a 40% increase in candidate resentment since 2016. Compared to earlier research, candidates are less likely to apply to the same company again based on their experiences and they’re also less likely to recommend the company to others. A quick skim of LinkedIn will likely show that candidates who have been impacted by COVID-19 layoffs are frustrated by not hearing back from recruiters, running into unrealistic job descriptions, and a general disregard for their time by hiring teams.
In order to attract top talent, it’s crucial to ensure the candidate experience is well thought out. Talent acquisition leads have an important role to play in shaping exactly how a company treats candidates. With that in mind, we talked to a few HR leaders about this process and they gave us excellent advice on five ways to improve the candidate experience.
Seek New Perspectives
Jamie Adasi, the Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Greenhouse Software told us, “Recruiting efforts that result in a homogenous workforce – whether on the basis of age, gender, race or any other characteristic – hurt the candidate experience in the long run.” If your team is constantly interviewing candidates who look and think the same way as your current employee base, you will miss out on diversity of thought in your decision making and ideation processes. She continued, “Organizations benefit from a wide variety of perspectives and viewpoints from the pool of candidates to interview panels, both which help employees excel and help the business thrive.”
Applying for a job can be confusing for candidates when they are thrilled about a new possibility. They work diligently on their application, over-prepare for a series of interviews—and then never hear back from the hiring team. This leaves a poor impression of a company on a candidate, but it can be remedied. Margo Filippi, Human Resources Coordinator at JazzHR recommends, “Communicate consistently and in a timely manner. Using a multi-channel approach of email and recruitment text messages, HR teams can empower candidates to feel informed, comfortable, and confident as they move through your hiring funnel. Being transparent and communicative throughout will leave a lasting positive impression even with the candidates you don’t select.”
Recruiters are busy— but so are candidates. Candidates who take the time to apply and put their best foot forward, always deserve a timely response from the hiring team. “Have a touchpoint with every candidate, even the ones you reject,” said Derek Williamson, the CEO of HigherMe. He went on to explain, “Candidates are so often ghosted by employers, but responding in a timely and transparent manner (even if it’s via an automated tool) will set your employer brand apart from the competition. Having a reputation as a considerate employer also helps boost your overall reputation, as candidates are very often your customers, and word of mouth can help drive both applications and sales.”
Once candidates get further into the interview cycles, it can feel like a lot of pressure and that pressure can create quite a few nerves. Just because a candidate comes off as nervous at the beginning of an interview doesn’t necessarily mean they aren’t the right person for the job. Arthur Yamamoto, the VP of Talent at Checkr mentioned, “At Checkr, we’ve committed to giving candidates a full onsite experience if they pass our initial phone/video screen. Many companies will send someone home early if they bomb the ‘first’ onsite interview. We ensure that candidates have a fair and reasonable opportunity to show their ability, and we’ve had plenty of candidates struggle with nerves early and perform great in later interviews.”
Even before sourcing, recruiting and interviewing start, taking a hard look at your company culture and by asking if your team prioritizes diversity, equity, and inclusion. Making sure your values, processes, communication styles, and norms are inclusive of all people will ensure your team hires in the same manner. “The candidate experience will be improved by ensuring a fair and equitable hiring process throughout every step of the process, from sourcing to onboarding,” said, Jamie Adasi, the Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at Greenhouse Software. She mentioned, “Building a transparent interview process influences how candidates form their first impressions of most companies. All it takes is a few missteps or microaggressions, and the employer brand you’ve worked hard to create is out the window. A few inclusive steps in the right direction, however, can fundamentally change the way candidates view, value and experience your organization.”
If you are interested in learning more about HR digital transformation, be sure to check out all three other posts in this series including “3 Paper Processes HR Needs To Digitize,” “3 Techniques to Attract Top Talent,” and “5 HR Metrics to Track.”