7 Highly Actionable Steps To A Better Candidate Experience
Smart employers and HR professionals know how important attracting and retaining great talent is to a business’ success, no matter what industry you’re in or how mature your business is. But knowing the importance of attracting and retaining talent does not equal the ability to do it well.
This is especially important in today’s hiring, as the economy has experienced a drastic improvement in recent years, which means that competition for A-level talent has gotten fierce. The bottom line: companies that fail to re-tool their recruiting and on-boarding strategy for today’s job seekers will miss out on the cream-of-the-crop candidates. And while there are lots of different areas of talent acquisition we could possibly cover to help you address this fact, the area that arguably matters the most is the candidate experience.
A less-than-stellar candidate experience causes all sorts of expensive problems for growing companies. Increased turnover, lost clients, and poor productivity all stem from mistakes made in the recruiting and hiring process.
Don’t let these problems plague your company! Here are seven highly actionable steps toward a better candidate experience that you can use to use immediate benefit:
1: Quiz Your Current A-Players
Pinpoint those employees you wish you had more of and pick their brains for helpful insights. How did they feel about the application and interviewing process? Why did they choose to work for you? What makes them stay at your company? What would they change that would make them even happier? Encourage openness and honesty, review their answers carefully, and craft them into your candidate experience.
2: Compose A Clear and Accurate Job Description
Little else is more frustrating than getting into a job and realizing you are tasked with many responsibilities that were never mentioned in the interview process. Each open position needs to have concise expectations and complete explanations of the job requirements. A comprehensive job description is the entry point to a successful candidate experience, and also decreases turnover down the road.
Once this is complete, you will hopefully receive several well-qualified resumes. Then you need to…
3: Personalize the Interviewing Process
Nobody likes to feel like an insignificant part of the crowd. Think of flying. Who enjoys being herded along like airlines do with coach passengers? Not me! All of us want to feel special and unique, so employers should leverage this in their interviewing process. Interviewers need to attempt to connect personally with applicants. This doesn’t mean inviting them to the house for dinner. However, it does mean showing knowledge about each candidate’s particular background and experience, and avoiding reading basic questions like a robot. Make eye contact and listen thoughtfully to the answers given, instead of scribbling furiously without ever looking up.
4: Practice Basic Human Courtesy
We learned this in kindergarten and it still stands true; mind your manners! Be gracious from beginning to end. Respect each applicant’s time by not being late to the interview and only take as much time as you have told the candidate beforehand. Don’t interrupt them while they are speaking, don’t check your cell phone or email during the interview, and never be rude. After the interview, keep them informed of the progress. Even if you decide not to hire a person, call them and let them know. After all, you never know who they will talk to about their experience, or what they will post on social media. You may even want to hire them sometime in the future, so don’t burn the bridge.
5: Offer Up A Concise Timeline
If the hiring process takes six weeks, be honest about that. Nothing is more aggravating than waiting around for weeks without hearing a peep, not knowing if you are getting hired. Explain the steps during the first meeting so the applicant isn’t left in the dark. Communication is key to establishing trust and building a positive candidate experience.
6: Share the Company’s Culture from the Beginning
A big mistake is keeping the recruiting, hiring, and on-boarding process generic. New hires need to feel the company culture from the beginning to know if they will be a fit. Share the culture in the job posting and throughout the interview. Give them a tour of the office so they can see the layout and invite a few employees to talk with the applicant and answer questions about the day-to-day actions of working there. Showcasing your company’s culture increases the likelihood of finding a good fit, and minimizes the chances of costly turnover.
7: Ask for Feedback
While employers may think they deliver a premium candidate experience, there are factors that could be overlooked. Request applicants, whether or not they were hired, to complete a short survey on their experience. Pay close attention to any shortcomings and address them immediately.
Hiring the best people for your open positions is essential to maintaining productivity and success. By implementing these seven actionable steps, you will be able to improve and amplify your candidate experience, and land more high-performing A-players.