Candidate experience is getting a lot of attention lately as companies are prioritizing the hiring process and focusing on their talent strategies. Emphasis on candidate experience is most definitely important – but why?
Candidates are your customers. Candidates are choosing to approach you as their next career stop. They could easily choose your competitors. Attracting great talent means treating candidates with respect, treating them as customers, and appreciating that they are choosing your business to potentially advance their careers – whether you decide to hire them or not. Treating candidates as potential customers can:
Strengthen your employer brand. Companies are being reviewed on sites like Glassdoor.com frequently, and those reviews can also rank highly on sites like Google – meaning those reviews are some of the first things candidates see when searching for information about your company. Candidates and employees are talking about your company online, and it can be very hard to combat excessively negative feedback. Just as you likely conduct an online search on candidates before an interview, candidates are doing the same – you want them to find great feedback that supports your organization as an excellent place to work!
Expand your network. When employees have a negative experience, they’ll jump to those review sites. But they’ll also head to social media, where they share highly personal news and photos – sites like Facebook and Twitter. The potential reach of these sites is enormous, which means that the potential to expand your talent pool, particularly with passive candidates, is also enormous. The best part is the work is all being done for you – all you have to do is provide a great candidate experience. Your candidates will expand your network organically. So, what steps can you take to ensure candidates have a positive experience and feel like valued customers? I work with candidates every day and hear a range of feedback. Based on the most common input I receive from candidates, focusing on these three core areas will help you get on the right track:
1. Don’t make them feel like a number. I often hear candidates say they enjoy working with Palo Alto Staffing because they feel valued. For many candidates, submitting their resume can feel like dropping it into a black hole – there’s often zero communication during the process unless candidates are selected to move on in the hiring process. Even after moving forward, that communication can drop off at any time. Then, after an interview, the next steps aren’t clearly communicated (or worse, they aren’t adhered to), which can also frustrate candidates. A lack of personal touch can be common – and certainly, it can be difficult to make contact with every candidate when you’re receiving hundreds of resumes for open positions. But sending a quick email thanking them for their resume submission or a quick update over the phone will go a long way.
2. Offer closure. Chances are you’ve applied for jobs and didn’t land every position. We all have. Candidates accept that they’re not going to get the job every time, but it can go a long way toward softening the blow if you provide closure – either via phone or email (or even by an actual letter). Let them know that you’ve selected someone else, and thank them for their time and interest in your organization. While a candidate might not be the right fit for a particular position, there may be opportunities down the road. Offering closure means that candidates will be much more likely to consider your organization for future opportunities.
3. Be organized. The hiring process can vary greatly from organization to organization, but a clearly defined one is important not only for finding and interviewing great talent but also for impressing them. I often hear feedback from candidates that the interviewer they prepared for was actually not present, or they prepared for meeting with one interviewer but then were shocked to find that they are instead meeting with four or five interviewers. I know the candidates I work with here at Palo Alto Staffing do a tremendous job preparing for interviews, so I arm them with as much detail as possible – particularly about who will conduct the interviews. When candidates do their due diligence but find a bit of chaos within a business, it can come across negatively. So depending on your specific open position, identify early on who will be conducting interviews, then be sure to communicate that information to your staffing firm or to candidates directly so they can prepare. What steps has your organization taken to treat candidates like customers and provide a better experience?
Connect with a recruiter at Palo Alto Staffing to see how we may assist you with your job search.