Regardless of whether it’s a candidate-driven market or an employer-driven market, one thing remains true: providing an exceptional candidate experience is essential for any organisation looking to attract and retain top talent.
What is candidate experience, and why does it matter
Candidate experience refers to the overall perception and interaction a prospective employee has with a hiring organisation during the recruitment process. It spans the entire recruitment journey, from the initial job description and interview process to post-interview communications and onboarding. At each stage, organisations have the opportunity to cultivate strong relationships with candidates and demonstrate why they should consider your company as their preferred workplace.
Delivering a positive candidate experience not only influences preferred candidates’ decisions to join your business, but it is also vital in today’s market where candidates are more discerning in their choice of employer. It is important that your candidate experience and brand make a positive impact, as without it candidates may drop out during your recruitment process and you’ll miss out on top talent.
Why is candidate experience important to your business
A positive candidate experience plays a pivotal role in shaping your organisation’s brand reputation. When applicants go through a positive recruitment process, they are inclined to share their experiences, with others and on online platforms such as Glassdoor. This, in turn, will help you attract a more robust pool of top-tier talent in the future.
Moreover, candidates who encounter a positive recruitment experience are more likely to engage actively with your organisation. Their increased interest extends to learning about your company, its culture, and values. This heightened engagement correlates with improved retention rates, and increased employee referrals, a valuable source of new talent.
Efficiency in the recruitment process is pivotal to a positive candidate experience. Candidates are more inclined to accept job offers when the application process is seamless, and by doing so candidates are not lost due to unnecessary complexities, enabling your organisation to secure top talent more quickly and reduce the risk of candidates dropping out of the process.
And the business benefits do not stop there. Providing an exceptional experience also supports diversity and inclusion by signalling to applicants from all backgrounds that you value your employees – current or future.
What does a good candidate experience look like
Understanding how a good candidate experience can positively impact your business is one thing, but putting it into practice is another. Recruitment processes must be consistent throughout, from the initial interaction to the final stages of the hiring process.
The job description
The foundation of a candidate’s experience lies in a well-crafted job description. Writing an impactful but effective job description is pivotal for drawing in suitable candidates and encouraging them to apply. Begin your job post with a compelling hook—information that immediately resonates with the right candidates, fostering a sense of alignment with the role and your business. While creative job titles may be tempting, avoiding jargon and sticking to industry-standard language provides clarity, it’s also essential to use inclusive language that attracts a diverse talent pool. Job descriptions serve as a crucial introduction to your company for candidates, influencing their perceptions and interests.
The application process
In today’s market, candidates have many choices when it comes to where they want to work and the best candidates know they don’t need to waste their time on a tedious/drawn-out application process. So make sure yours is as efficient as it can be. If candidates need to be interviewed by several people, consider their availability and whether these interviews can be combined to shorten the process. Communicate timeframes both internally to hiring managers, setting expectations for feedback and next steps, and externally to candidates. One top tip is to put yourself in the applicant’s shoes, how long does the overall recruitment process take and can you make it more user-friendly by removing any unnecessary stages? Ultimately, making the application process easy goes a long way to avoiding early dropouts from candidates, as well as making it clear you respect the time of those applying.
Communication is key throughout the entire recruitment process. It should be clear, consistent, and frequent to maintain candidate engagement. Guiding candidates through the interview process by providing detailed instructions, as well as sending prompt follow-ups, providing next steps, and giving frequent updates helps the candidate to understand what to expect and helps to build a positive candidate relationship. And if there are unforeseen changes, be open and communicate these as soon as you can to maintain engagement and show that you value them.
Just as important is the way you communicate with candidates who do not advance through your recruitment process. Providing unsuccessful candidates with detailed, constructive feedback that is personalised aids in not only delivering a positive experience but also indicates your company cares about the experience candidates have with you. Remember, although the candidate may not have been successful this time, they may have skills that are relevant for a future opportunity.
The candidate’s journey doesn’t end once they have secured a position; a seamless onboarding process is equally important and makes a huge difference to retention rates.
Onboarding is not merely about familiarising new hires with your business and its processes, it is an opportunity to leave a great first impression, extend a warm welcome, and ensure your new hire feels at ease, confident, and enthusiastic about becoming part of your team, helping them to build connections so that they can hit the ground running. Don’t think you have to wait until your new hire starts to begin the onboarding process, think about how you can use it to build engagement and excitement for the role in the period between accepting an offer and joining.
Candidate experience, a competitive advantage
Far too often candidates can be left feeling disillusioned during the recruitment process. Going above and beyond to ensure you provide an exceptional candidate experience isn’t only best practice; it is a strategic strategy for hiring the best talent. And with the demand for top professionals continuing to rise, organisations must recognise the pivotal role that candidate experience plays in attracting, engaging, and retaining skilled individuals.
If you’re looking to find out more about what you can do to improve your recruitment processes head to our talent advisory or get in touch at email@example.com, we can help you identify the best solutions to find and organise talent.