Finding the perfect job candidate can feel like trying to find a needle in a haystack. It’s just hard, plain and simple.
That’s why many employers are surprised to learn that oftentimes, job seekers are having an equally difficult time finding a well-fitting job. Potential candidates spend countless hours looking for company cultures that fit their values. They update their resumes, customize their cover letters, and fill out job applications. But when they hit send, they often get…nothing.
No automatic email replies, no DMs, no phone calls. Nothing.
So where’s the disconnect? It often has to do with time-to-hire, the metric for how long a company’s hiring process takes from beginning to end.
Job seekers are becoming increasingly frustrated with outdated, inefficient job application processes. And companies are losing quality talent because of it.
In addition to losing quality candidates themselves, companies also stand to lose those in candidates’ social networks. A staggering 69% of job candidates said they would share their experience with family and friends if it’s a bad one—ultimately giving the company’s employer brand a bad name.
So what’s the remedy? A seamless candidate experience.
What exactly is the candidate experience?
Candidate experience is the overall perception a job seeker gathers when applying for a job. This experience includes each touchpoint of the recruitment process, from job application to onboarding. Most candidates say that not hearing back from a potential employer is worse than not hearing back from a first date. What does that tell us? Candidate experience matters.
The candidate experience in a post-covid world.
While a personalized candidate experience matters, it’s no surprise that the COVID pandemic has changed the way companies communicate with their applicants. The majority of job interviews went from being in-person to remote in a matter of a year. And remote interviewing is here to stay.
But remote interviewing is not the only post-COVID change to the candidate experience. Online expectations have increased, and more and more job applicants are wanting a seamless experience that is quick, easy, and customized to them. This expectation has left TA teams scrambling to find innovative, automated ways to keep up with the competition.
If you’re looking to keep up with the post-pandemic world and spruce up your candidate experience, here are some steps to take:
Make the application process easy.
Gone are the days when job applicants would jump through hoops just to get their application sent. Today, job seekers will quickly leave an unfinished application if they find it to be time-consuming or complicated. In fact, nearly 59% of job candidates say they’ve abandoned an online application because there were issues with the career site, making it challenging to continue.
A seamless candidate experience starts with the application process. Here are some steps:
- Provide a detailed careers page to help applicants learn about your company’s culture, growth opportunities, benefits, and any other enticing features before they apply.
- Offer a mobile-based application submission form – and keep it short and to the point.
- Provide multiple paths to apply, i.e. “Apply with LinkedIn.”
- Use a chatbot that can automatically answer FAQs, giving applicants 24/7 engagement.
Communicate quickly and efficiently.
A Talent Board survey revealed that 53% of job applicants do not receive a response from the employer until three months after the application was submitted. This sends the message the applicant is not worth the time of their potential employer. In most cases, employers will quickly lose these candidates, even if they offer them a job. That’s why clear communication conducted quickly and efficiently is key to finding top talent.
Here are some ways that you can show candidates you value them and their time:
- Automate application receipts. Send immediate email confirmations so the candidate knows their application was received.
- Release “no’s” ASAP. If the applicant is not chosen to move forward, let them know immediately by sending a personalized email — even if it’s automated. Remember: they invested a lot of time into this interview. Show empathy, thank them for their time, and highlight their strengths.
- Reduce time-to-hire. By reducing the time it takes to finalize hiring decisions, you’ll snag the best candidates and give the others a chance to look for opportunities that better suit them.
- Define next steps. Provide clear communication on how candidates can follow up on their submitted application.
Prepare applicants for successful interviews.
A smooth candidate experience does not stop once you’ve scheduled your interviews. In fact, the interview process is a critical time to win over potential employees. Remember, candidates understand that the way a potential employer treats them during the interview process is how they’ll likely be treated as an employee.
Whether you’re interviewing in person or remotely, it’s important to create an environment where the interviewee feels comfortable and fully prepared. Here are steps you can take to ramp up your interview process, giving your potential employees the opportunity to thrive:
- Use a scheduling system where the candidate can easily pick an interview date that fits their calendar. (And don’t forget to give them the option to receive scheduling updates via text.)
- Provide plenty of details on when the interview is, how to show up to the interview (in person or online), and what to expect from the interview process. Send them an interview package that helps them successfully prepare and feel confident for their big day.
- Show off a little. Include your careers page detailing the happy faces of your employees. Show your commitment to diversity, inclusion, and equity, and your company culture as a whole. Take the personalization one step further and send them a video of your offices or work environment. This will enable candidates to picture themselves as part of your team.
Our world is rapidly changing, and our expectations for a quick, efficient, online experience have only been amplified since the pandemic. It may be time to rethink your hiring process and create a candidate experience that’s more efficient, structured, and engaging than it was before.