As business leaders, we talk a lot about customer experience – that is, the journey your customer goes on when they engage with your business. But what about candidate experience?
Curating a great one should be a key part of your recruitment strategy and process. Candidate experience encompasses every interaction an individual has with your recruitment process, from the way they apply to the job through to every communication from there on in; it’s the journey a candidate goes on, the thoughts and feelings you build from them throughout, and the overall perception they have of your brand before, during and after.
It goes without saying that it’s important to make sure it’s a great one.
Candidate experience can sometimes be overcomplicated – automating certain processes, implementing technology to try and streamline, and so on. But we’re firm believers in these three fundamentals of candidate experience which, when done exceptionally well, can make all the difference.
Fundamentals of Candidate Experience: Preparation
Everyone should be prepared for interviews, but when we talk here about preparation we go deeper than that. Effectively, you should be ready to meet the candidate of your dreams, to impress them with a smooth, efficient process, and ultimately secure their commitment for the ongoing future.
So, what does that look like?
Well, for starters, spend more than a couple of minutes glancing over their resumé before the interview. Understanding their work history on paper means you’ll have already answered many of the basic questions you were going to ask, and leaves more time getting to know the person properly, who they are and how they go about things. You’ll be able to delve deeper into identifying their key competencies, the challenges they’ve overcome, their aspirations. And, fundamentally, it lets them know that you’re taking this seriously.
But, we also mean be prepared as a business. Make sure your budget has been signed off by HR and any other powers that be. Make sure you’re prepared for onboarding – that you have the right people, training, workspace and equipment ready and waiting. Being prepared for every aspect of the recruitment process will ensure it flows beautifully, creating that easy-going, professional candidate experience we’re all aiming for.
Fundamentals of Candidate Experience: Transparency
Be up front with your candidates about any challenges the business is facing and the reasons behind hiring; why the role has become available. If you have a concern about their experience, skills or otherwise, be open about it; you’ll give them the opportunity to handle that objection and clear up any misunderstanding, if there is one. If you’re absolutely snowed under and have to move their interview or can’t make a call, let them know in advance and just be honest about it – don’t make excuses. And, if in the end it turns out this opportunity isn’t quite the right one, give them some real, transparent, constructive feedback which could benefit them moving forwards.
Transparency is expected from the jobseeker’s side, so return it in kind. It’ll not only improve the relationship and bond you have if this person does come on board, but will give every candidate who enters your recruitment process a sound understanding of the integrity you operate with.
Fundamentals of Candidate Experience: Reliability
Call when you say you’re going to. Respond in the timeline you’ve promised. Show up to the interview on time. Make a decision within a reasonable period. Ultimately, do what you say you’re going to.
Being reliable in your actions and accountable for doing the things you’ve promised demonstrates that this is how you do business in general and will ensure your candidate experience as a business is a positive one. Remember, it extends beyond people who are currently in the process – those who have interviewed with you, whether successful or not, past and present, will remember what a positive experience it was and become advocates of your brand.
There are many moving parts, but taking a step back to think about how well you’re doing the basics is important to do every now and then is crucial. Get these right and the rest will fall into place.