Understanding the candidate experience

Bennett Sung Corporate Recruiting, Staffing

One of the main problems with recruiters today is that they have a hard time seeing things from the job seeker’s perspective. While all of us have been job seekers at one point or another, it can be easy to lose touch this this perspective once you’ve been in the workforce for a while. Failing to see the job seeker’s point of view can result in all sorts of problems. In the end, it makes for a less satisfying experience. This is something that needs to change.

As Matt Carney points out in Recruiting Daily, too many recruiters haven’t actually taken a deep look into their own processes. In other words, most recruiters have little idea of what it’s actually like to go through the application process at their own firms.

Here are the top things to keep in mind when it comes to candidate experience:

First impressions matter
In an ideal world, the person applying for a position with your company is well aware of its leadership in your industry and has been following your movements for some time. But let’s face it; not everyone is Apple. In practice, this rarely happens, at least in the B2B world. Your first impression could very well be the job post you scroll past while looking for a new marketing position. In fact, according to data from the Candidate Experience Awards, 77 percent of candidates reported that a job post was the most useful employment content. Unfortunately, most job posts are dry. They tell you what someone will do in the position, but don’t give off any impression of what it’s like to work there. However, blog posts and other content that shows off the culture of the employer is strongly desired as well. Recruiters that put themselves in the position of the job seeker know that content, whether it’s social media or on a job board, is a great chance to make an impression that will last.

Application length 
It’s basic common sense that the longer an application is, the fewer people will fill it out. You might argue that those who dropped off before finishing it probably don’t want the job that badly anyway, but that’s beside the point. Even candidates who complete the process can be alienated when it takes up to 45 minutes to complete. A candidate might find herself asking, “what other cumbersome processes does this company have?” Already a seed of negativity has been planted in her mind. Don’t let this happen! The same goes for the interview processes. Candidate Experience Awards found that 12 percent of candidates sat through between five to eight or more interviews in the course of the selection process.

Candidate experience affects the bottom line
When job seekers have a bad experience with a company, they are bound to talk about it. According to a survey from Careerbuilder, 32 percent of job candidates are less likely to purchase a product from a company that never responded to their application. In addition, 78 percent of job seekers will talk about a bad experience they had with friends and family. Recruiting isn’t separate from the rest of the company. Your actions reflect on the business and can have a negative impact.

Potential candidates are everywhere
Candidates can start out as customers, especially if you’re a retailer or in the B2C environment. In this situation, anyone who comes in the door could be a job seeker at some point. Having a good interaction as a customer is crucial in the decision of whether to apply at a later date. Every customer touch point should speak in some way to the culture of the company.

They have actually seen the candidate experience
In order to really understand what it’s like to be a job seeker applying to work at your company, you need to have seen it from a job seeker’s perspective. That means taking the time to perform an audit of the process. What is it like to experience the applicant tracking software from this position? Is it time consuming? Confusing? Be sure to know what’s going on from the job seeker’s point of view and make revisions when necessary.

Do you understand the candidate experience? If not, it’s time to get to work.

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