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Why candidate experience really matters

In today’s candidate led market, job seekers should be treated more like consumers and businesses need to strive for high levels of candidate satisfaction, like they do with customers. The chances of your company winning the war for top talent can be drastically increased by focusing on creating a positive ‘candidate experience’. Also, with many applicants already consumers of the company that they apply to, treating them well is not only vital for your employer brand, but also your overall business brand too. Unfortunately, Virgin Media found out about this the hard way when 7,500 candidates who had a bad experience cancelled their subscriptions and switched to a competitor, costing the business £4.4 million. And this is just one of many examples which shows why candidate experience matters so much.

What exactly is candidate experience?

There isn’t an official definition for ‘candidate experience’, however it can be described as the overall feeling prospective employees are left with during and after the recruitment process. This opinion often starts to form the moment the person reads the job description and continues right through to the onboarding stage. It’s important to engage with applicants effectively throughout each touch point as this can influence whether they decide to accept the role or re-apply in the future. It’s also vital to remember that regardless of what the hiring outcome is, the applicant is likely to share their experience with their social circles both online and in person.

Why outdated recruitment processes can turn applicants off

There are several things that can make a candidate lose interest. And in this highly competitive, technology-driven job market, there certainly is no room for outdated recruitment processes. Lengthy applications, a lack of utilising AI and impersonalised engagement will all quickly switch valuable people off and turn them to your competitors.

Time is important for both candidates and employers

Many leading companies like Apple, Netflix and Facebook all have some of the fastest application times. They understand that there is no need to complicate processes and that many high-value candidates don’t have the time to spend on lengthy forms. According to a recent study, 30% of all applicants – and 57% of those earning over £86,000  – won’t spend longer than 15 minutes on an application. In addition, companies with 45 or more screening questions are losing almost 90% of their potential candidates as they abandon the process before completion. Expecting top level employees to trudge along a gruelling procedure risks you limiting your access to talent. Instead, focus on condensing this stage and perhaps investigate utilising one-click applications.

Candidates can see through generic systems

The way we recruit and engage top talent has changed drastically. People expect a personalised experience and can see through generic systems. By tailoring the process, candidates will feel more like a valued individual rather than just another job seeker among hundreds of others. Therefore, it’s important to review all questions and steps so that they are relevant to the applicant and not just there because they are ‘traditional’ methods. For example, if you know that an applicant lives far away or is currently in a job, why not utilise video software rather than asking them to take multiple trips to the office for interviews?

Why candidate experience really matters the most to internal talent acquisition teams?

The main method to create a positive and personalised candidate experience is good communication. This includes being honest and transparent about the role, providing thorough feedback and treating them as valued potential employees from the start. This may be difficult for an external recruiter to do as well as an in-house team member as they have less insight into the company and, in some circumstances, less authentic care for finding the best fit. According to the Human Capital Institute, a major cause of dissatisfied candidates is disinterested interviewers – so to avoid this, it is best to have your own, trusted people dealing with your company’s future talent .

The recruitment process should constantly be under careful review, tested and adapted following feedback. In-house teams are best positioned to drive change and challenge processes with key decision makers. They can transition talent from having a positive candidate experience to an excellent employee experience and increase the chances of achieving maximum productivity and retention.

For more information about creating a positive candidate experience and the benefits of an in-house recruitment team please visit our knowledge hub.