The Great Resignation, The Great Reshuffle – whatever you call it, there’s a record number of people applying online for new positions. But, with US job openings climbing above 11 million at the start of 2022, that doesn’t mean you can sit back and wait for an influx of candidates to come knocking. The companies who provide a positive candidate experience will capture the best talent first.

What is the Candidate Experience?

Candidate experience is how candidates perceive a company’s hiring process, including any interactions before, during, and after applying for a job. This includes many touchpoints:

  • Your career site
  • Job descriptions
  • Application process
  • Interviews
  • Communication and follow up

When was the last time you applied for a position with your company?

Whether you’ve been with your organization for one year or ten, the experience that prospective employees expect has likely changed significantly since you went through it yourself.

Look at your organization’s application and hiring process from the candidate’s point of view. If you haven’t reimagined, recreated, or (at the very least) reviewed your application process in the past six months, it’s time to roll up your digital sleeves and make sure your candidate’s experience is a positive one.

how to get a 5 star candidate experience

Four Ways To Optimize The Candidate Experience

1. Build Your Brand

Even if you don’t have a marketing department, you can elevate your company’s reputation through well-written job ads that set realistic expectations for the role. Ask your current team members and associates to review your company;  candidates are using Glassdoor, Indeed, and Google to research you. Then highlight benefits, company culture, and reviews on your website, in your ads, and on social media.

2. Easy Apply

Candidate attention span is short. If it takes you more than five minutes total to apply, you will lose applicants during the process. If you’re seeing a trend, there’s no better way to understand potential detractors than to experience them yourself. 

  • Is the site mobile optimized? A quick check of your Google Analytics will likely show that most website visitors are on their mobile device over desktop. The application may look great on desktop, but if it’s not mobile-friendly, people will bail. 
  • Is it easy to find open positions with your company? When visitors arrive on your site, do they know within seconds where to navigate to apply? Can they search by job type or keywords? Do you have a way to engage them if you don’t have a current opening in their field? In this market, pipelining talent for tomorrow’s opening is as important as filling today’s.
  • How long is your application? Really think through what’s necessary for an application. Pare it down as much as possible and leave the details for the resume and your follow up call. Try making it short and sweet by collecting the basics (name, contact information, a simple qualifying question, and resume attachment); it could boost your conversion rates up to 385%!

Pro tip: Make it easy to upload a resume that automatically fills in contact info and work history, then imports directly into your ATS.

Four Ways To Optimize The Candidate Experience

3. Instant Communication

Our same-day service and constantly connected world has trained our brains to expect instant gratification, and today’s job market is no exception. How quickly do you respond to applicants? Aim for an initial response within 24 hours. If you don’t, your competition will.

Minimize time to schedule and number of interviews, and eliminate unnecessary tests or evaluations. If a personality assessment is critical to your process, use a tool like  Predictive Index which takes less than 10 minutes to complete.

Pro tip: Use AI solutions to engage with candidates as they apply. AI – like chatbots, for example – works when you aren’t, and you know what they say about the early bird…

4. Get Personal

Leverage technology to respond faster, but don’t skip human contact. A quick phone conversation can help you read between resume lines and will set the tone for future engagement.

Keep in contact throughout the process – each touchpoint builds trust and is another opportunity to tout all of the exciting things about your company.

Commit to creating an exceptional candidate experience and you’ll attract more quality applicants while strengthening your brand. “Stop making candidates jump through hoops!” has to become the mantra of today’s recruiter. If you’re still waiting for candidates to ask “How high?”, it’s time to take a hard look at your process. Throw the hoops out the window, walk through the journey with your candidates, and be the change.

Employers: Hire with confidence

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