Generating a Game Plan for Improving Candidate Experience

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Your compensation is in the right range, you’ve added some great benefits job seekers value, like student loan repayment, and your employer brand is showcased on your newly updated career site. But you haven’t noticed a great response to your recent open positions, and feedback has been tepid. You’re a successful organization, and people like you. Why haven’t you been attracting great candidates for your open positions lately?

47% of candidates think employers do a good job of setting expectations regarding communication in a potential hiring interaction. 78% of employers think they do a good job. Where is the disconnect, and what other aspects of your candidate experience are lacking? Hiring is a two-way street. In many markets, industries, and specialized roles, job seekers can take you or leave you. The power imbalance that once existed in favor of employers has shifted mightily. Improving your candidate experience can differentiate you from other employers and help you land the best hires.

How do we define candidate experience? According to Mike Roberts, writing in the Jibe blog, “Candidate experience is defined as how job seekers perceive and react to employers’ sourcing, recruiting, interviewing, hiring, and onboarding processes.” What does this have to do with employer brand? Employer Brand defined: Your employer brand is your promise to your potential employee. “This is what you can expect.” Ideally, employer brand and organizational branding are aligned.

Now that we know what employer branding is, how do you develop your brand so you know that it’s contributing to a great candidate experience?

  1. Take ownership of what it’s really like to work for you!
  2. Recognize the problems and work on solving them, but don’t hide them or pretend they don’t exist.
  3. Be open about your culture so job candidates can opt in if it’s a fit.
  4. Recognize that looking for the right job & right hire is a two-way street.
  5. Don’t make excuses but do be able to communicate why your culture and way of doing business works for your organization.

Employer brand can contribute to (or detract from) a candidate’s experience in the hiring process. It’s all about expectations. When expectations and experience do not align, this creates disappointment-when promises are made, they must be kept! So consistency between branding and experience is key.

What about the other way around? How does candidate experience impact employer brand? A poor Candidate Experience can wipe out gains in visibility & credibility of your employer brand. You can’t have a great employer brand without a great candidate experience. A poor candidate experience can also negatively affect your company brand. Candidates are often current or potential customers, so turning them off in the hiring process can also hurt your brand perception with them and those they share their experience with.

All stages of the candidate experience are potential touchpoints for positively impacting candidate experience. Some of these points are:

•       Pre-application/interest community

•       Application for open requisition

•       Pre-hire assessment

•       Screening (phone, live video, recorded video)

•       On site interviews

•       Offer stage

•       Post-offer background check, drug testing

•       Onboarding

Responsiveness, communication, setting realistic expectations about the process and timeline, and clear descriptions of jobs and qualifications can make the candidate experience better at every stage along the way. Additional support for pre-hire assessments and other technology solutions like video interviewing are critically important and appreciated by candidates. Respecting job seekers’ time and treating them with dignity and appreciation can set you apart from your competitors.

Continued communication post offer, as well as an organized and effective onboarding program, will be icing on the cake if you have followed through at the other steps. Removing barriers, creating a frictionless process that doesn’t drag on, and providing candidates the support and status updates they need will help you create a superior candidate experience. Asking new hires in the onboarding process to provide a frank assessment of their experiences will provide you with the data you need to identify needs and make continuous improvements. With unemployment at all-time lows in the U.S., it’s time to make your move toward the best candidate experience, and capture your competitive advantage!