With the race for top talent growing by the minute, every organisation is rethinking their approach to how they currently attract prospective employees. As a hiring manager, you can use the multiple touch points in the candidate journey to help you create an outstanding candidate experience. If you feel there are bits of the process that are owned or led by your HR team, seek out and have regular conversations with them so you can share your views on what might need to change and why. It is a role in your team, so make sure you have your say on how you would like the experience to shape up for the candidates.
Nearly 60% of job seekers have had a poor candidate experience, and 72% have shared their experience on online employer review sites such as Glassdoor.comCareerArc Candidate Experience Study
Here are our top 10 tips to help you get started:
1. Welcome them with a smashing careers page
If their first visit to your careers page doesn’t ‘wow’ them, then it’s unlikely they’ll go through with applying for a role. Have regular conversations with your Recruiting Team to help put your careers page to work with eye-catching design, useful resources, employee stories and what benefits you have to offer.
The team at Booking.com has put together a fun, interactive multimedia experience on their careers site. Candidates can explore career options and watch videos introducing their prospective teammates, check out a day in the life at various offices, and even learn about how certain product decisions were made. There are blog posts, photos, videos, infographics, and working at Booking content available on pretty much any social media platform you can think of. The site also addresses common candidate questions and concerns and provides tips on how to excel in the interview process.
2. Jazz up your job post
When you begin to read a job advert, does it fill you with excitement? Well, that rarely seems to be the case! Candidates spend an average of 14 seconds looking at a job description before deciding whether to apply. If you want to create a compelling advert, then consider re-wording your job descriptions to showcase the personality of your company.
For each job ad Lego publishes on Twitter, they have an accompanying picture of lego men acting in the job. Like this ad for a Demand Planning role where you can see numerous lego men in different roles in a warehouse. This has a great visual impact as it showcases in lego-form what the job entails and its tagline ‘Bring It To Life’ is more than apt here.
In this coded Instagram job ad by Verizon, they used a graphic to pose a challenge for their target audience in a playful way.
3. Be transparent
How often do we provide our candidates with all the information they need right at the get go? Almost never! Prioritise transparency at every stage to establish trust and help build relationships right from the start.
If you can, publish the expected salary or salary range. Knowing the expected salary upfront lets a candidate understand whether a job will be financially viable for them. It also streamlines conversations later in the hiring process. Take Glitch who share transparent salary ranges to ensure people know what to expect and feel confident that they’ll be paid equitably.
Work with your recruiting team to explain the selection process upfront i.e. number of interviews, any assessments etc and when you expect to make a decision. At DigitalOcean they realised that most candidates tend to have similar questions about what to expect during the application and interview process, especially when it comes to onsite interviews. Anticipating this, DigitalOcean’s recruiting team created a central hub of resources for candidates. Check it out here for some inspiration for your own candidate-facing content. Bonus: Not only does this show candidates you care about their experience, it can also save recruiters’ time.
Procter & Gamble has a step-by-step guide on its career site, including details about the different types of assessments candidates may be asked to complete, how long they’ll take, and how soon they’re likely to hear back from the recruiting team afterward.
Whilst we’re on transparency, take ownership of your Glassdoor page. Candidates (and customers!) are already looking at you on there. Put on as much as you can about your culture, perks etc. Encourage your current workforce to go on and review you and respond to comments – take responsibility to respond rather than expecting the recruitment team to lead and try not to be too defensive about any negative comments!
4. Simplify your application process
On average candidates spend 3-4 hours on submitting one job application! No one these days has the patience for a lengthy application processes so work on making yours more simple. If you feel like your process needs an update, discuss this with your HR Team to see how they can help to make any changes. Share some useful stats that will help them sit up and take notice. Like this: Only 14% of candidates complete applications with 11-15 fields.
Userlane simplified and humanised their hiring process by constructing their applications like conversations though the use of Typeform. This enabled them to build a rapport with the applicants and make them feel more comfortable during the process. By using logic jumps built into the Typeform, they were able to create a more targeted and personalised conversation as questions changed based on the applicants’ answers.
5. Acknowledge receipt of applications
This sounds like such a simple thing to do and yet a majority of organisations rarely do it. If you consider the time and effort a candidate has put into applying for a role with you, then it’s imperative to take the time to send an acknowledgement. And as that can be automated nowadays, there’s even less reason to not be doing it!
6. Use technology to improve the user experience
Use tools that will help you automate routine tasks – saving you time and improving the user experience for your candidates.
In order to improve their candidate experience, PwC started using technology that sends a calendar to candidates showing the times interviewers are available for a virtual interview. Once candidates schedule their time on that same calendar, PwC’s software sends them information and tips for the interview. The result: 86% of candidates have responded positively.
When the company Sutherland noticed that 80% of candidates were dropping out of their hiring process, they started implemented chatbots that answered candidates’ queries and followed up with them during each stage of their application. In just two months, their 80% dropout rate dropped to 62%.
7. Shake up your selection process
Rethink your selection process so you can begin to look beyond educational qualifications, years of experience and sector-specific skills.
Managed by Q’s commitment to employees extends to the way the company treats candidates as well. Through extensive data collection and analysis, the company observed that traditional markers of success like education, industry experience and recommendations from employers are not closely correlated with success among Q employees. Instead, they identified the personality characteristics of optimism and empathy, and then designed the interview process around assessing these qualities.
What’s the best way to see how someone would perform in the role rather than how good they are at interviews?
McKinsey & Company, presents candidates with “real client scenarios” to test their skills and get a window into their problem-solving chops. And Mogul the social media platform for women, takes it a step further. After their interviews, successful candidates come in and work for a day.
8. Ask for feedback
A poor candidate experience can be a costly affair. Back in 2014, Virgin Media took a closer look at their candidate experience by conducting a “Rejected Candidate Survey” of all applicants that had been turned down. The results were illuminating: 18% of the rejected applicants were Virgin Media customers and 7,500 of them or 6% of the total applicants switched to a Virgin competitor as a direct result of their poor recruitment experience. This in turn resulted in almost £4.4 million in lost revenue, nearly equal to the company’s entire annual recruitment budget.
To show the candidate that their experience and opinion matters, ask for feedback at the end of the process. Nothing long or complicated, just one or two questions that will give you useful data to help you make any necessary changes to your process.
Software company Citrix, for example, uses the Net Promoter Score (NPS) metric to measure candidate experience after onsite interviews. Candidates receive an email containing a single question: “Based on your candidate experience, how likely are you to recommend a friend or colleague to apply for a job at Citrix?” They can answer on a scale of 1 to 10 and have the option to write additional comments. They can also opt in to speak further about their experience if they choose.
This approach was so quick and easy to complete that Citrix saw an immediate response rate of 58% — much higher than its previously used survey, which involved more questions.
9. Build a working relationship with your recruiting team
There’s nothing worse than spending all that effort to create a wonderful candidate journey if the people involved in the process aren’t matching up. Spend some time together with your recruiting team to get to know them and better understand how they work and what they need from you during a recruiting cycle. This will be incredibly helpful when you’re in time crunch hiring mode!
Netflix have totally reimagined the relationship between recruiters and managers as a real consultative partnership, rather than transactional order-taking. This is the centrepiece of Netflix’s “culture of recruiting,” where finding and hiring talent is everyone’s responsibility.
At Slack, they help improve skills for those involved in conducting interviews through a series of role-plays with co-workers. This improves interviewers’ skills, raises awareness of how bias can arise during the process and ensures that candidates are treated thoughtfully and consistently during interviews.
10. Give feedback!
LinkedIn research shows that 94% of candidates want to hear feedback after an interview – and they’re four times more likely to consider a future opportunity with your company if offered constructive feedback.
Make the effort to spend a few extra minutes to give the candidate honest feedback on ways they can improve or things they can change for their next interview.
If it’s earlier on in the process here’s a great example of a candidate rejection letter from Accenture:
‘Thank you so much for giving us the opportunity to review your resume and credentials for the _____ position. We wish we had better news for you, but after carefully reviewing your resume, we have decided to pursue other candidates whose backgrounds are better aligned with the requirements of this role.
We understand that looking for a new position is stressful and time consuming, so we appreciate the effort you spent submitting your application. Although we will not be moving forward at this time, we’d like to stay in touch.’
Final top tip….Constantly build and update your talent pool
There is no reason to wait for a vacancy to arrive before you start your hunt for the ideal candidate. Spend time consistently building your talent pipeline and build relationships with them so they are ready to join you when the need arises.
Consider what Red 5 Studios did to build their talent pipeline. They identified “100 dream prospects” and then they spent many months researching, building relationships, assessing and selling them. This innovative approach allowed them to land fully employed top quality prospects that could never have been successfully hired using traditional active sorting approaches.
At Dropbox, the recruiting team identifies passive candidates and calls on hiring managers to hold informal coffee chats with the potential candidates. Managers learn about the candidates’ interests, without the pressure and paperwork of a formal interview. These coffee chats have even been built into explicit goals for hiring managers and engineers to reach.