I recently hosted our first #WeAreHiring Meetup of the year on Candidate Experience. We had a great turnout of 60+ attendees, a diverse panel of speakers, and we even celebrated International Women’s Day!
Candidate experience has traditionally been a black hole for both sides:
- The question for hiring teams remains “What can I do to improve candidate experience?”
- The question for candidates remains “What happens after I submit my resume?”
Candidate experience is actually how I first learned about SmartRecruiters. I was in the application process with an awesome major tech company and was impressed by their communication and transparency. I dug a little deeper thinking it was a homegrown product only to discover the candidate portal and the name SmartRecruiters. I was floored to see the status of each of my job applications as well as all related communication. I immediately looked to see if SmartRecruiters had any Product openings and the rest is history.
Our panel shared surprising data and practical recommendations on how companies can use technology to improve candidate experience.
We were surprised to learn that:
- Almost 50% of candidates who apply to jobs wait at least 2 months to hear back from a company they applied to.
- Facebook is one of the few companies that ranks highest globally with excellent candidate experience.
- MEN (younger than 35) in non-managerial positions typically have a better candidate experience than WOMEN (older than 35) in managerial positions.
The good news is that we have easy-to-apply tips to improve candidate experience throughout your hiring process.
Keep It Real
Talent Attraction is where candidate experience really starts. Company career sites are still the most important factor for candidates as they research companies to apply to. Many companies think just because they have a big brand, they don’t need to get creative or engage, and that the best talent will flock to them no matter what. While this may be true for Google, Apple, and Facebook, it is not the case of the rest of us. Our panel recommends that employers have a welcoming career site that is true to it’s company’s values, brand, and culture. Surfacing relevant jobs and making the search easy for prospective candidates ranks just as high. Here are some career sites we think really nailed it.
Ain’t Nobody Got Time For That
The Application Process has the potential to either WOW or really frustrate your candidates. Here’s an unsolicited note we received from a frustrated-turned-grateful candidate:
Our Panel’s recommendation is simple: it’s time employers invest in a modern ATS that simplifies the application process for candidates while improving the data collected & how it’s served up to hiring teams.
It’s Not You, It’s Me
We ended our discussion with the most emotion-driven part of the process, the Interview Process. Emotions, for both parties, run higher and higher as you get closer to the offer phase. Our panel’s recommendations to employers are really quite simple:
- Be Prompt (but not too prompt) – whether it’s the initial screen or after the final interview, respect your candidates time and let them know your intentions. If you know you are not going to move forward, don’t keep them hanging. On the other side of the spectrum, if you are using automation, make sure you aren’t sending rejections immediately after a candidate applies. It’s best practice to wait 48-72 hours.
- Be Transparent – Many automated & generic rejections say “we will keep your application on file and reach out to you if there is a good fit.” If you know it’s not in your company’s recruiting workflow to check past candidates, take that little bit out of your rejection notes. PRO TIP: Some employers take it a step further and provide links to jobs and resources that may help the rejected candidate with their job search.
- Be Personal – There a few things more annoying than receiving a completely generic rejection email. “Dear candidate, thanks for your application but we’ve decided to move in a different direction.” For starters, include the candidate’s name and the job they applied to so they know a human actually screened them. If the candidate made it through a couple of interview rounds, pick up the phone as soon as you know they are no longer in the running and be open about why things didn’t work out. That will go a long way and there’s still a good chance that candidate will advocate for your company and brand.
Technology can certainly help facilitate a great candidate experience, but the biggest takeaway here is that it takes the thoughtful touch from the Recruiter & Hiring Team that differentiates between a great vs. terrible candidate experience.