Quality talent is the key to your company staying relevant and continuing to evolve. Your team and organization can’t reach business goals unless there are the right people in place throughout the organization. However, finding qualified candidates is only part of the challenge you face as a talent acquisition leader; these individuals also need to engage positively with your recruitment brand. This begins with creating an engaging candidate experience, to convert these candidates to employees.

Why is the candidate experience important?

Candidates won’t work for a company with a frustrating hiring process. In fact, they won’t even complete an application. Today’s candidates view the hiring experience as an introduction to the broader employee experience they will have working at your company. Any hurdles they encounter along the way decreases the likelihood that they will accept a potential job offer. Given the current low U.S. unemployment rate, a steady stream of top talent is hard to come by in the resultantly competitive talent marketplace.

Learn more about converting candidates to employees, in The Ultimate Candidate Experience Guide.

How do you create an effective candidate experience strategy?

Successful candidate experience strategies are rooted in an understanding of the candidates’ needs. Unfortunately, there is a gap between how employers think they are doing and how candidates view their recruiting efforts. To bridge that gap, it’s important to evaluate your strategy while still keeping the candidates’ preferences in mind. The following five tactics will help you shift your perspective and develop a candidate experience strategy to boost your organization’s bottom line.

  1. Apply to one of your own jobs. The online application is often the first touchpoint a candidates has with your organization. Applying to an open position will provide insight into the stages of the application process at your organization are the most frustrating, so be brutally honest in your critique. If you’re immediately annoyed that your application requires you to re-type your personal information and work history after you already uploaded your resume containing that information, it’s likely that candidates feel the same way. Take note and set up a meeting with your UX design team, or reevaluate your existing talent acquisition software provider.
  2. Take a birds-eye view of your current process. Collecting and assessing data is the key to making a shift in strategy. Are candidates dropping off at a certain point in the hiring process? Are they providing any feedback after they turn down a job offer? This information will help target weaknesses in your current engagement strategy. Technology can be extremely helpful for this part of the process. Look for technology solutions that collect candidate data and feedback and translate it into easy-to-understand reports so you can make a strong argument for changes or additional resources if necessary.
  3. Continuously communicate. Candidates want to hear from you. There is nothing more frustrating than submitting an application and not receiving any communication on the state of the application. Start by providing a clear timeline of the hiring process from the beginning. That could mean making a change as simple as including the date you want the position filled by on the job posting. If it’s not a high-priority role and there’s no rush on filling the opening, let potential candidates know, so they don’t worry when they don’t hear back from you right away. It’s also helpful to use the job posting as an opportunity to clearly set communication standards for the application process. To reduce the amount of candidate follow-up emails your team receives, set up automated emails to communicate to candidates that they will be contacted by a recruiter if their application meets your qualifications. Sending automated emails that confirm when an application was submitted and when it was viewed by someone in your organization puts an applicant’s mind at ease, while not wasting any of your team’s time. It’s a win-win.
  4. Make information easily accessible. Applicants don’t want to email the recruiter for answers to every little question that comes up during the hiring process. And let’s face it, your team doesn’t want to be fielding these questions either. So do both parties a favor and create a career site that provides easy access to company information as well as commonly asked questions.
  5. Streamline your strategy. While it’s vital to provide job seekers with an engaging candidate experience, it’s important not to compromise the wellbeing of your team to achieve this goal. Since candidate relationship management and communication is one of the most time-consuming aspects of recruiting, it’s important to streamline the process. Look for technology solutions that offer a single database to search and store all candidate contact information. It’s helpful for recruiters to have an easy-to-access record of all email communication with applicants so that they can better stay on top of deadlines and manage candidate relationships.