How to create a better candidate experience

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Almost 60% of job applicants have suffered through a poor candidate experience. 72% have gone on to share their negative experience, either online or in person.

While a poor candidate experience can be a great way to narrow the pool of applicants, it’s not such a great way to attract the best candidates for the role.

According to the 2016 MRINetwork Recruiter Sentiment Study, 86% of recruiters feel that the market is candidate-driven. Only 54% believed this to be the case in 2011.

Companies and recruiters are beginning to feel the strain of a talent shortage. In Bullhorn’s 2017 recruitment trends report, 71% of companies felt that talent shortage was a top challenge.

If you don’t want to be caught out in it, follow these tips to help you create a better candidate experience.

Create a simple, seamless application process

Long-winded application processes where candidates must provide lengthy answers to several questions, as well as uploading their CV and a cover letter, are instantly off-putting.

60% of candidates drop out of the application process if it takes too long. The best candidates will have dozens of other options, so if they find an application too complicated, they’ll take their efforts elsewhere.

On average, candidates spend an hour researching a company before applying for a role, then an additional three to four hours on the application itself. Hiring managers spend less than fifteen minutes reviewing an application.

The easier it is for candidates to apply, the better chance you have of hiring the best.

Don’t keep candidates waiting

The longer it takes for a candidate to hear back from you, the less likely they are to think that they’ve been successful. In the time it can take you to sift through applications, they may have applied and even accepted a job with a competitor.

Providing candidates with a rough time it will take you to respond means that even if they apply elsewhere, there’ll still be thinking of you. They may even turn down a role in the hopes of getting a position within your company if they haven’t heard back yet.

Streamline interview scheduling

Scheduling interviews can be one of the most complicated and time-consuming parts of the hiring process.

When the interviewers’ calendar is synced with the ATS, the hiring manager can forward the interview panel's availability to the candidates in an email, allowing them to pick the time most suited to them.

Hiring managers don’t need to spend time writing individual emails for each candidate – the same email can be sent to one, a dozen, or even one hundred interviewees.

Calendar events can then be sent to everyone’s calendars in real-time, minimising the risk of double-booking for both candidates and interviewers. Should anyone need to reschedule, calendars update in real-time so that everyone is kept informed.

Make candidates feel welcome

The most successful interviews are the ones where candidates feel welcome. Their knowledge is tested, but they also get along with the team and feel like a good fit.

When a candidate is intimidated or otherwise made to feel uncomfortable, this gives them a negative view of the company and could put them off accepting a job offer or applying for future roles within the company.

In 2014, 18% of Virgin Media job applicants were customers, but after a negative candidate experience, 7,500 of them left the service and went to a competitor. Since they’ve brought in a new training programme for interviewers, it’s now 10 times cheaper for them to bring in new business from the hiring process.

Respond to everyone, no matter which stage of the hiring process they progressed to

When you’re short on time and have hundreds of applicants to respond to, the last thing you’re thinking about is hurting the feelings of unsuccessful candidates by not contacting them. However, by ignoring them, that’s exactly what you’re doing.

Finding ways to save the hiring manager time means that they have more time to provide feedback to candidates, even if they were unsuccessful. Providing this feedback makes candidates feel valued and makes them more likely to reapply in the future.

When a candidate isn’t informed of the status of their application, they’re 3.5x less likely to apply for another job within the same company. Any loyalty they had towards the brand risks being permanently tarnished.

With the increasing difficulty companies are feeling to hire top candidates, it’s more important than ever to create a positive employer brand. Designing a candidate-friendly recruitment process is one way to ensure that your business hires the people it needs to grow.

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