In a survey conducted by Talent Board North America, candidates said the top three reasons they withdrew from the recruiting process were their time was disrespected during interviews (37%), poor rapport with recruiters, and the process simply taking too long (29%). Recruiting can be an overwhelming debacle of processes and competing demands, but we should never lose sight of the candidate experience. Here are three ways to improve the candidate experience, backed by data.
1. Make the application easy!
If you want a quick win, start with the application. Studies show candidates were more likely to rate the application process highly, with 42.7% of all five-star ratings resulting from an application of 15 minutes or less. There are a number of constrictive factors within the application process that are driven by the applicant tracking system (ATS) you use. Some require a certain parameter of fields to be completed before an application or expression of interest is considered complete. Conversely, when the ATS is not making the process complicated, the HR processes usually jump in to botch a process that should be relatively simple.
Start first with redundancy. Apply to one of the open roles and determine which fields are absolutely necessary for a candidate to be considered. Do you really need their social security number, date of birth or emergency contact just to express interest in the role? I recently participated in a panel with a Global Talent Director who tackled her application process to streamline it for the candidates. Not only did her completion rate increase by 70% but her candidate survey scores increased 25%.
2. Address the broken Feedback Loop
One of the most crushing words to here in a candidate survey is, “I never heard why I didn’t get the job” or “I’m still waiting on feedback from my interview”. A candidate driven market demands that you address the often broken feedback loop. I’ve written about the importance of creating a Service Level Agreement in Recruiting and the importance of hiring manager feedback before. This is one of the core principles of Sprint Recruiting and I compare it to the gas that keeps the machine moving.
In a TA survey, half (47.2%) of respondents said that HR or recruiting professionals told them what would happen next, and another 20.6% said the hiring manager explained it to them. (Pro tip: hearing it from the hiring manager can be even more impactful.) Unfortunately, roughly one in 10 candidates (9%) said they received no additional information, follow-up, or next steps after the interview — so companies can make an easy and significant improvement immediately. If a candidate goes through your belaboring interview process and waits for days or even weeks for feedback, it increases anxiety and doubt. This is especially true when you have worked so hard to recruit a passive candidate. Recruiters go hot and heavy after top talent, only to have them waiting for ions while the recruiter tracks down feedback.
Letting a candidate know they did not receive the job is equally important. While this is not the fun part of our jobs, it is definitely the ethical thing to do and can positively impact your candidate experience scores.
As a leader, create a mutually inclusive service level agreement to get a handle on this process. A Service Level Agreement in Recruiting should include a deadline for recruiters to provide feedback to both managers and candidates throughout the process. More importantly, it should create a deadline and consequence for those hiring managers who neglect to provide candidate feedback in a timely manner. You won’t make a lot of friends in the beginning of the process, but your candidate experience will benefit from it.
Onboarding a candidate is the first step in their employee journey so you will want to do it right. Oftentimes, recruiting gets thrown under the bus for issues that belong to IT or other groups which is demoralizing and frustrating. One way to overcome this is more frequent communication during this critical time. Fortunately, this responsibility does not rest solely on the shoulders of recruiting. About half (46%) of new hires surveyed say they received calls from their hiring manager prior to their start date — and 49% of candidates who rated their new hire experience five stars said they received a call like this.
Set up a timeline for managers to follow ahead of a candidate’s start date. You can do this with a quick one pager as a quick reference or automate the process using calendar appointments. There are many office suites that have a To-Do function that will allow you to assign tasks to hiring managers according to a timeline. Have the hiring manager check in with the new hire know what to expect on their first day and offering to answer any questions. This is a quick, simple, and effective way to make the onboarding process go smoother, while also wrapping up the candidate experience on a positive, upbeat note.
The ultimate form of sophistication is SIMPLICITY.Leonardo DaVinci
Providing a stellar candidate experience isn’t just a recruiting issue — it’s a business necessity. When you’re staring at a long list of new hires or trying to manage a chaotic recruiting load, it can seem like a tall order to create a personalized yet streamlined experience for everyone. Honestly, candidates don’t expect you to create a “Disney” experience for them. They just want to know that you respect their time, that they’re being treated fairly, and that they’re more than a number to you.
As you implement these strategies remember to start small and keep it simple. Unfortunately, the bar is so low in most organizations, small gestures will go a long way to improving your candidate experience.
- Get helpful recruiting tips sent to you monthly!
- Read each chapter of the book Sprint Recruiting as it’s written
- Resources including graphics, reports and training
- Special Q&A sessions to learn how Sprint Recruiting can help you transform your Talent Strategy.