05/16/2018  //  Candidate Experience

Simply posting an open role—even if it matches a candidate’s qualifications, interests and salary requirements—is no longer enough to attract talent that will help your company achieve business goals. With top talent in increasingly high demand, candidates seek a positive and engaging experience when they apply for a job. And they’re not afraid to walk away and look elsewhere if they don’t get it.

Many job seekers may be a current or future customer. If a candidate struggles to complete the application and never hears from your organization, the result is a lost candidate and potentially a lost customer. In fact, a recent report found that one in four job seekers stopped purchasing or purchased less from a brand due to a negative candidate experience.

Not only can a poor candidate experience negatively impact your brand’s perception. Ultimately, it can lead to lost sales.

Top contributors to a negative candidate experience

Focusing your efforts on correcting five common candidate-experience mistakes will help you keep quality talent engaged with your brand and excited about opportunities with your company.

1. The career site is difficult to navigate

Your company’s career site serves as a first look into your organization’s culture and informs the applicant about available positions. It’s where candidates will first determine if they can see themselves working for your organization. If the career site is difficult to navigate—or doesn’t answer the frequently asked questions that arise during the application process—candidates may fail to complete the application or lose enthusiasm for the position.

To avoid drop-off, complete an audit of your current career site. Simplify cumbersome navigation to make it easy for candidates to search for open roles, apply to jobs and create job alerts. Provide applicants a streamlined experience that includes enticing brand information, as well as tools to quickly and easily complete the application.

2. Candidates are left waiting for a response

Online retailers provide notifications about orders from the moment the item ships to final delivery. Candidates expect the same communication from potential employers.

Provide a high-touch experience for every candidate and communicate promptly throughout the candidate journey. Start by thanking every candidate for their interest and for completing an application. If the candidate will advance, provide a hiring process timeline. If not, add these candidates to your talent community to keep them engaged for future opportunities. Keeping applicants informed will help to ease candidate anxiety throughout the hiring process, while ensuring every potential employee has a positive interaction with your company.

3. Your candidate communication strategy is impersonal

In today’s diverse and multigenerational job market, communication strategies are no longer one-size-fits-all. Sending a mass email to your entire candidate database will not drive engagement. To improve the candidate experience, first, learn about your audience’s communication preferences. Consider surveying talent to find out if they would rather communicate with your organization via phone, email, text message or even social media.

When you understand communication preferences, engage candidates through those mediums. Leverage candidate relationship management software to target communication efforts and messaging based on background, interests, experience level and more.

A targeted communication approach will help you stand out from other companies, while providing a personalized candidate experience.

4. Candidates can’t apply from their phones

According to Pew Research Center, nearly half of of smartphone owners consider their smartphone to be something they can’t live without. If job seekers aren’t able to easily apply from their smartphone, you’re missing an opportunity to improve the candidate experience. Optimize your career site for mobile to ensure candidates can apply from anywhere, at any time. Limiting how candidates can apply increases the likelihood that you’ll lose a top candidate, and decreases your pool of interested talent.

5. You don’t survey for improvement opportunities

You can’t enhance your candidate experience if you don’t know where to improve. Surveying candidates should be a standard component of your application and hiring process.

Send a one-question survey to learn about the application experience and a longer survey following the interview. Collecting feedback directly from candidates who interact with your company and your process will provide additional areas to focus upon, to continue to evolve and enhance the experience for every candidate.

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