Candidate Experience and Applicant Tracking Systems

Nolan Gray Corporate Recruiting, Staffing

Today's applicants, like consumers, now come into the hiring process with more knowledge than ever before, thanks to reputation sites like Glassdoor and The Vault. This has equalized the hiring power, which is elevating the strategic value of delivering a positive candidate experience. If the experience isn't superior, the outcomes could negatively impact your ability to find, engage and hire the best of the best, including but not limited to non-repeat applications, negative feedback published on public social sites, and limited to no referrals. Of course, for many jobseekers, a good experience means an online career center that delivers important information about the company, the employees and the job opportunities.

CareerBuilder's 2013 Candidate Behavior Study found candidates look for information on a company from 16 different sources before they even apply, so an online presence beyond a career center is also vital. Certain industries may attract applicants with different needs, but recruiters need to be aware of the candidate experience they provide to those interested in working with their companies.

Recruiters should keep in mind the 2013 Candidate Experience Results found only 53 percent of all candidates surveyed in the Candidate Experience 2013 study found the overall candidate experience deserving of four or five stars – so it is a difficult achievement, but an important one, to satisfy jobseekers as much as possible.

The Role of Applicant Tracking Systems
Applicant tracking systems can help recruiters manage the candidate experience just as much as they streamline the recruiter's own workload. Though applicant tracking systems are technical, recruiters can apply their functions to the human element of talent acquisition. Knowing precisely where a candidate stands in the process can help recruiters reach out in the way that is most appropriate in the moment. For example, calling or emailing to check up on any necessary follow-up materials when in fact the candidate has submitted them is easily avoided with software that tracks these matters. With an applicant tracking system, recruiters are not at all likely to make this mistake. Recruiters can also access all available information about their candidates in the applicant tracking system, allowing their communications to be both professional and meaningfully personal.

The Virtues of Collaboration
Talent acquisition is a process involving many different stakeholders including but not limited to recruiters, job seekers, hiring managers, interviewers, staffing agency partners – some stakeholders who reside beyond state and even country boundaries. Recruiters may work together, and they are overwhelmingly likely to have managers to speak to about each of their decisions. Applicants are also likely to interact with more than one recruiting professional throughout the hiring process – it's uncommon for applicants to meet only one recruiter from initial contact to job offer.

Applicant tracking systems that allow professionals on the employer end to collaborate and share information about a candidate can improve the experience for applicants. Recruiters do not need to inquire about how an interview went when that information is readily available to them in the applicant tracking software they use. Similarly, hiring managers can get a complete picture of an applicant from one central place when deciding whether to make an offer of employment. Because this central place is the cloud, and because Jobscience offers a native mobile app, hiring managers can make their decisions from anywhere in the world. This may speed up hiring managers' choices, and most candidates would rather hear about the status of their applications sooner rather than later.

Other considerations in the candidate experience include ease of use and branding, both of which candidate relationship management software can help recruiters create and refine. With all of the above components used to their full potential, applicants are likely to come away with a positive impression of a company, whether or not they receive a job offer.

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