Give them a bad experience, and friends, family and colleagues are likely to hear about what made it so painstaking.
Give them a good one, and even if they didn’t get hired, the positive experience means that they may well send other talent your way in the future, while spreading the news about how great your company is as a whole. (read our guide that explains why candidate experience is essential for more details)
1: Look at the Big Picture
A common mistake is thinking that candidate experience is limited to the hiring process alone – as in, the elements that you can directly control. This isn’t the case. The moment a candidate hears of your organisation or visits your website, they have started their candidate experience.
It’s important to consider every single interaction your company has with a candidate as a result, not just the direct ones like emails, calls, or interviews. What does your careers page look like? Is the company culture clearly communicated in your about us section, and does it reflect the kind of talent you’re hoping to attract?
The same is true after the hiring process – and it’s important to ensure that your candidate experience transitions smoothly into onboarding for successful applicants, or provides a positive and encouraging resolution for any unsuccessful candidates.
2: Be Transparent
Candidates often have questions, and being open and transparent about your hiring process, and what you expect from applicants along the way can help to build trust. Developing a good relationship between your hiring team and candidates early on is beneficial for a variety of reasons.
Firstly, it can help candidates feel supported, and more at ease during the process. This can help bring out the best in them, so you get an accurate picture of who they are and what they can do.
Secondly, it will greatly enhance the overall candidate experience, no matter the outcome. Even if they’re unsuccessful, applicants will come away from the process with a positive overall impression of your organisation.
3: Create Candidate Focused Resources and Content
Having a helpful central hub for potential candidates is a great way to not only show you care about their experience, but also that you want to give them the best chance possible of being successful.
Useful content related to interview procedures, preparation tips, or other aspects of your hiring process that candidates might have questions about also serves another purpose: It frees up time for your hiring team, as they won’t have to directly respond to the same candidate questions over and over again.
A candidate focused career hub is also another great way to increase the overall transparency of the hiring process.
4: Make Candidates Feel Valued and Respected
It’s important to remember that the whole hiring process works both ways. Candidates are assessing your team, culture and business just as much as you’re assessing their skills and potential.
Treating applicants with respect and compassion can go a long way, and once again, it pays off even if you don’t end up hiring them. Simple things like offering them pre-interview coffee, making them feel comfortable, and delivering fair and detailed feedback while thanking them for their time, if they are unsuccessful, are all just some examples.
This way, everyone, whether you hire them or not, comes away from the experience with a positive mindset. Candidates talk to their colleagues and social circles too, of course, and making them feel valued whatever the outcome will ultimately reflect positively on your company.
5: Measure, Refine, Improve
Companies that provide exceptional candidate experiences often have one thing in common: They measure their candidate experience. Contrary to what you might think, candidate experience is measurable. Perhaps not in a hard data kind of way, but you can certainly gain valuable insights into how applicants feel about the whole process.
Good practices include sending out post process questionnaires or short surveys, and looking at the stats for recruitment processes. If candidates are applying through your company portal, for example, how many drop out of their application, and at what stage? Identifying these potential problem areas can help you smooth out any kinks in your candidate experience.
Performing these kinds of assessments and analysis regularly can really help develop a top-level candidate journey. This ultimately creates a win/win for your brand and the applicant.