How and why to improve candidate experience

When it comes to hiring, you can’t pour every ounce of your energy into wooing that one perfect applicant. It’s important to treat all of your candidates well. The candidate experience — driven primarily by good communication — is crucial to attracting a quality pool of applicants and maintaining your company’s image. How can you improve this aspect of recruiting at your company? Here are some ideas to consider.

The candidate what?

People define “candidate experience” in many ways. In short, it’s the collective results of all engagements and interactions that you have with candidates during the marketing and hiring process. Many of these interactions are technology-driven, through your career site, job postings, social media interactions, and the like. Other interactions, such as emails and interviews, are more personal.

Why an applicant’s experience matters

The ramifications of how you treat your applicants are many. For example, imagine if just half of the candidates you interacted with remained interested in future opportunities at your company. If that were the case, do you think you would have an issue finding talent? That’s a huge benefit to delivering a positive experience. Let’s dig into some data that shows why it’s more important than ever.

Surveys conducted by Talent Board show that significant numbers of candidates with a negative experience intended to share the news publicly via social media, or to take their loyalty elsewhere. Conversely, they also find that a majority of candidates who had a positive experience would:

  • Increase their relationship with a brand’s products and networks;
  • Refer someone to the company in the future; and
  • Apply again with the same company.

So, how you treat your applicants can have a large ripple effect on your business and your talent pool.

Communication is king

At the center of providing a great candidate experience is good communication. In Talent Board surveys, candidates rated communication as the number one way to engage talent. For example, significant numbers of respondents reported that:

  • Not receiving a basic application confirmation email created a bad experience.
  • If they did receive an email, the communication was weak and inconsistent.

So how can you up your communication game? The best recruiters provide candidates with consistent communication – whether the news is good, bad, or ugly. Here are some tips:

  • Send well-written confirmation and follow-up emails so applicants remain interested in your company, regardless of the outcome of their application.
  • Manage your online image by proactively addressing negative online reviews.
  • Be consistent and honest to instill trust between you and your candidates.
  • Avoid making promises you can’t keep. Conversely, don’t dance around the truth.
  • Above all, be clear, minimize extraneous words, and express gratitude for the candidates’ time and interest in your company.

Remember — every interaction within an applicant’s experience can impact your company’s overall brand, favorably or not.

The all-important interview

If a great candidate experience is about good communication, the interview is a crucial opportunity. Avoid the outdated and ineffective approach where you ask predictable questions and force an applicant to sell themselves. Interviewing is a two-way street. Focus instead on creating a solution-based conversation (or what some refer to as behavioral interview questions) in which you present a problem and discuss the solution with the candidate. The way you present yourself and treat your potential new employee during the interview is a vital part of whether they accept an offer or share favorable reviews about your company.

Up your hiring game with more positive recruiting

The idea of a candidate experience isn’t necessarily new or even innovative. In fact, it’s been discussed and analyzed for years. But in today’s connected world, candidate opinions are quickly disseminated and shared. And just because someone isn’t the best fit today, doesn’t mean they won’t be tomorrow. Get help with this and other challenges by signing up for Monster Hiring Solutions’ expert recruiting advice, hiring trends, and more.