How to Create a Great Candidate Experience
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By Bethan Port
From the moment that candidates apply to your roles, you should be thinking about how to make their experience a positive one. Whether you hire them or not, chances are they’ll talk about their interactions with your company to other people.
Unfortunately, people are more inclined to share negative reviews rather than positive ones. The candidate may just tell their friends – or they may post a bad review online for the whole world to see.
So, you can already see the importance of good candidate experience. But if you want to make sure you attract and hire the best talent; your focus should be on creating a great candidate experience. Take a look at our guide for top tips.
Perfect Your Application Process
Firstly, your job advert should be clear and concise, without excessive buzzwords and jargon. It should be easy to read and list all the essential criteria, so you don’t waste candidates’ time.
Similarly, don’t over-complicate the application process. Before the candidate starts their application, be sure to let them know what they’ll need to submit. This will manage their expectations and avoid them dropping out halfway through. The shorter the application process is, the more user-friendly it is. Short application forms are also more mobile-friendly, which will make it even easier for candidates to apply. It also demonstrates that you value your candidates’ time.
Send a Confirmation Email
Most applications that candidates fill out online go ignored and unanswered. This can be extremely demotivating and frustrating. Especially if they’ve spent hours filling out an application form.
Therefore, it’s good practice to acknowledge applications. This could be a generic email thanking them for applying, alongside a copy of the details that they filled in. It will make you stand out as an employer. Also, it helps candidates to keep track of the job-hunting process.
Prepare candidates for their interview
Well ahead of time, there’s certain information that candidates have a right to know. Make them aware of:
- Who they will be meeting during the interview
- How long the interview will take
- What format the interview will take (situational, competency based or a simple question and answer)
- If they need to bring a presentation or any other documents
- Useful links within the company’s website
- How to get to the office building
- Where to park/any useful transport links
Make Interviews Efficient
Devise an efficient interview process, which you stick to. Walk into every interview with a purpose and know what you want to find out from the candidate. This will help you make decisions quickly. Moreover, ensure that you know who you’re interviewing. This may sound obvious, but it can be easy to mix candidates up when you’re conducting various interviews. Review their profile, check their CV, book out a room and have a list of questions prepared.
The more efficient your interview process, the more professional your company will seem. Candidates should walk away from an interview impressed.
It’s the little things that can make a big difference. Aside from paying for candidate expenses, look after them in the interview process. Provide water and a hot drink, if appropriate. If the interview is taking a long time, you can even offer them lunch.
A gesture can be as small as asking a candidate if they’re okay. Put them at ease and see how they’re feeling. It may even mean that they perform better in the actual interview.
Continue to keep candidates informed in every step of the process. Why not give them a phone call before asking them to complete a pre-interview test? The candidate will be more inclined to follow up, plus you’ll be able to answer any questions they may have.
The rest of your hiring timeline should also be transparent. Leaving candidates in the dark is a sure-fire way to put them off working for your company. Help to ease their nerves after completing assignments or telephone interviews by getting back to them quickly.
Even if you have to reject a candidate, don’t leave it too long to tell them. Furthermore, don’t send a generic rejection email. Candidates may have invested a lot of time in the process and will appreciate a phone call, with some honest and constructive feedback.
Create a Survey
After the interview process is over, consider sending all successful and rejected applicants a survey. You might think this is a crazy idea – but it’s the best way to get valuable insight into your hiring process.
Wait around a month before sending the survey, however. It will allow time for any tensions to cool down. The honest feedback from a rejected candidate will be useful in improving your candidate experience for next time.
Perfect your candidate experience
Creating a great candidate experience is extremely important. If you create a positive experience, candidates that you want will be more likely to accept an offer.
Equally, candidates who you reject are more likely to walk away feeling respected and willing to recommend your company. So, take the time to perfect the process and learn from your mistakes. Never underestimate the value of a great candidate experience!
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