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Now and Later: Ideas for Improving Your Candidate Experience Today and in the Future

by Jen Wason

Participants in a recent Candidate Experience (CandE) Awards workshop generated ideas for how to improve the candidate experience—today and beyond. A Global Platinum sponsor of the CandE Awards, Shaker joined forces with Talent Board as host of this Cleveland event.

Talent Board Vice President Kevin Grossman talked to attendees about examining the state of their hiring routines and sharing ideas for improving their candidate experience. The workshop featured keynote speaker and experience expert Jim Gilmore, who discussed how to sharpen your observational skills to transform the way you see candidates. Tyler Slezak, CandE survey lead data scientist, also provided a sneak peek of some highlights from the 2016 CandE research survey and Joseph P. Murphy, Shaker executive vice president and Talent Board board member, provided attendees with the lowdown on assessment trends.

If you missed this unique and valuable workshop, you still have an opportunity to find out how to enhance your candidate experience at the Talent Acquisition Tech and Recruiting Trends conferences co-located in Austin, Texas on November 14-16. The event will also feature a six-session Candidate Experience Track and the Candidate Experience Awards gala on November 15, honoring the 2016 winners.

Visit Shaker in Booth 218 of the expo hall and request a demo of the recruiting technology that is transforming candidate experience and helping recruiters improve their quality of hire. Use discount code CANDE500 to receive $500 off of registration (no expiration), and find out how to identify your next great hires!

Ways to drive job seekers away

CandE survey results show that a majority of candidates share their experiences—both good and bad—with their inner circles as well as on social media, which means poor opinions of your hiring process can translate directly into loss of revenue, fewer hiring referrals, and even damage to your organization’s reputation.

Grossman asked attendees to consider where candidates might be finding fault in their hiring processes.

  • Not caring what candidates think: No matter the ultimate outcome, providing candidates with an opportunity for feedback most often leaves them with a favorable impression of your organization. Failing to ask for feedback is a “huge missed opportunity” to increase satisfaction, Grossman cautioned.
  • Failure to communicate: Offering no confirmation and no closure in the application process are easy ways to guarantee a poor candidate experience. Even an auto-reply at the completion of the process to confirm their submission has been accepted or to offer some decision timeline is reassuring to candidates.
  • Too long, too complicated: A lengthy or cumbersome application process can cause candidates to reconsider your organization before they’ve even finished applying for the job. Failing to set expectations for the length or scope of the process, broken links, or complex navigation almost invariably lead to candidate dissatisfaction—and even drop out.

Actions you can take right now

Grossman asked attendees to consider changes they could make within the next two weeks to improve their recruiting process and candidate experience.

  • Structure and standardize: Intentionally design your interview process to ensure everyone on your side of the event knows their role, assuring continuity and credibility. Good planning and structure are needed so multiple people do not ask the same question or appear unprepared. Specific, relevant questions leave candidates with a positive impression of the organization. Provide interview training if necessary.
  • Identify and promote your brand: Review and refresh your online presence, as on LinkedIn and Glassdoor. Partner with corporate marketing to distinguish and promote your employment brand. Provide guidance to current employees on how to be effective brand ambassadors.
  • Make simple tech upgrades: Perform job description audits, add an auto-reply confirmation to application submissions, and implement other simple features that improve how you interact with candidates. Add a feedback option—even a few simple questions are meaningful to candidates and an easy route to finding out what candidates think you’re doing right (and what you’re not).

Tips for the long term

While Grossman’s advice was to focus on incremental change as among the best routes to improving the recruiting process, long-term goals can put you on the path to reimaging the way you consider the candidate experience.

  • See candidates as customers: From the way you solicit and interact with them to providing ways to help them through the application process, thinking about candidates as customers can change the way you approach recruiting. Persuading decision makers, hiring managers, and recruiters of this point of view is essential to providing a more satisfying candidate experience.
  • Maximize use of technology: Candidates expect the same use of friendly and leading-edge technology that customers do. From your ATS to your assessments, invest in online tools that meet your needs, are easy for candidates to use, and provide candidates with the information they want. Exploit mobile technology with implementation of a mobile job application, mobile assessment, and mobile apps that can help you provide information to and communicate with candidates. Show you respect you candidates’ desire for information by building a full suite of tools to automate how you communicate with them, such as a standard set of email messages for sending status updates and expected next steps.
  • Ask for feedback: Create a feedback process for candidates that convinces them you care about their experience and to leave them with a positive impression of your organization. Learn more about Talent Board and plan to participate in the 2017 CandE Awards and Benchmark Program to find out how you measure up and can improve your candidate experience.