Here in Wisconsin, the unemployment rate for the entire state is an astounding 2.9%. Locally it is about 2.4%. Competition for new employees is fierce. How you treat your candidates during the entire recruiting process is a key component of establishing a brand that effectively attracts and gains good employees. The candidate experience as it is often referred to is a great way to position your business as a premier employer.
What is Candidate Experience? While it can be defined many ways the most common is the entire interaction both applicants and candidates have during the recruiting process. It involves everything the applicant and candidate do during the recruiting process.
Paying attention to the candidate experience is important. The Bureau of Labor statistics shares that there is about one unemployed person FOR EVERY available job opening. With competition being fierce the candidate’s impression and experience with your recruiting process become crucial. Job candidates are now acting as consumers. Unlike just a few years ago they can pick and choose who they work for. Some studies suggest that as many as 60% of all job candidates report a negative experience as job candidates. Over 2/3rds of those talk about it on social media or directly with others.
What Makes Up the Candidate Experience?
What is a part of the candidate experience? While there are many components, the most common that candidates express their views on are:
- Company culture – How do you describe the culture in your business? Are your website and literature simply about what you do or what you sell? Does it have stories and sharing of the work environment, what your employees do and believe in within your business? Job candidates want to see real experiences and what your work environment is like. They want to know how they can grow, how you will support them and if the work is meaningful. They want to know how you treat employees and whether or not you are involved in the local community
- Candidate/Job Seeker communication – Candidates want to know if you received their resume or application. This can be as simple as an automated response from your application process on your website. They want to know if they are being considered or if you have moved on to others. They want to understand your selection process, what to expect and how soon they should expect it. How you share, that information is as important as whether or not you share it. The bottom line: communicate with your candidates at every step of the process. If you don’t, you may find that applicant you thought would be a good fit now works for a competitor.
- Candidate evaluation – How you interview candidates, phone or in person is important. Being prepared for the interview is also important. No candidate wants to meet with an official of your business who is eating or answering emails during the interview. You expect a candidate to be prepared for the Interview; you too should be prepared. Give the candidate time to ask questions and give them honest, thorough answers.
What Can You Do to Improve Your Candidates Experience?
NOW is the time to review everything in your recruiting and selection process. For example:
- Job Ads – Does the ad given information about the job or is it all about your company? I once saw a job ad that over 80% of it was about the company. The rest was a bland generic “here is the job” paragraph with an email address to apply to.
- Application – How easy is your application to complete? Does your application process ask for a resume and then require the candidate to complete a lengthy application asking for the same information that is on the resume? This is a major complaint of job applicants that is easily remedied.
- Career page on your website – Is your career page easy to use? What does it say about your company, its culture, work environment, and benefits of working there? Does it explain your recruiting and selection process?
- Communication – Do you have a way to communicate with candidates or, are they left wondering about their status? How long does it take you to get back to them, or, do you only communicate with those you have selected to move forward in your process?
Many candidates see the job application and recruiting process as a black hole of disappointment. Certainly, not every job applicant will be hired by you. However, some of those you don’t select for your current opening could be strong candidates for another. Keeping them happy with your recruiting process is a good way to not only separate your company from others but more importantly a good way to keep good applicants applying.
How you present your business during the recruiting and selection process is important. Ensuring a good candidate experience is a simple and effective way to set your business apart from all of the others. Take the time to review your process, make the necessary adjustments and experience strong positive results. After all, it’s your business.