By Ruth Ritzema, Marketing Manager – DaXtra Technologies
It might seem that everywhere you turn in recruitment at the moment, people are talking about ‘candidate experience’. But what does this actually mean and why is it so important?
What is candidate experience?
Candidate experience, as defined in HR Technologist, is “the perception of a job seeker about an employer, based on the interaction during the recruitment process”.
The recruitment process offers multiple touchpoints for a candidate, from searching for a job, reading a job listing and applying for a role to communicating during the application process, interviewing and being offered (or not being offered) a job – right through to onboarding. These interactions can affect how a candidate feels about your company – whether you’re an employer or a recruitment or staffing agency.
Why is good candidate experience important?
Creating a good candidate experience is an essential element of the recruitment process. With data regulations such as the GDPR being introduced, recruiters can no longer rely on sourcing a large pool of unqualified candidates and trying to match them to available jobs. In a competitive job market, it has become increasingly important to attract quality candidates and ensure that they remain engaged throughout the process.
If a candidate has a great application experience (whether or not they end up being hired) they're more likely to advise people in their network to apply there in future. This word of mouth recommendation is an invaluable part of a company’s candidate attraction strategy. These candidates will also look more favourably on your brand - and so are more likely to become customers or even brand advocates in future.
The benefits of good candidate experience start at the acquisition stage but carry on throughout the process and beyond.
You will find your time to hire is reduced, since your application processes will be user-friendly and your communication will reflect your company values.
As an employer, your onboarding and retention rates will improve, since candidates will start off with a full understanding of your brand ethos and value proposition. You'll be able to build loyalty, with these candidates recommending others in their network to join your company, leading to increased savings in the time and cost of future talent acquisition. These highly engaged employees should also be more productive, which will ultimately make your business more successful.
What are potential consequences of bad candidate experience?
The advantages of creating a good candidate experience can be lost instantly if candidates have a negative application experience with your company. Candidates not getting replies after sending their CV or having to fill out an endless stream of online forms may feel like they’ve wasted their time and are unlikely to apply there again.
It's highly likely that they might also tell other people not to apply. It's now even easier for them to share their experience - not only with close friends and family, but also across social media and online forums. For many companies, their candidates are also their customers, so if they have a negative experience, they're more likely to take their business elsewhere and advise others to do the same.
How can you create a great candidate experience?
If you’re looking to attract the very best candidates, you don’t just want them to have a good experience – you want to wow them with a great experience, making them more likely to accept your job offer.
This article by CV-Library CEO Lee Biggins offers seven tips to help you create an awesome candidate experience:
- write clear and concise job descriptions
- make it easy for candidates to find and apply for your jobs
- communicate with candidates early and often
- brief candidates with instructions before an interview
- don’t ghost unsuccessful candidates
- give feedback and ask for criticism
- keep in touch with promising candidates for any future roles
Recruiters must now take an active approach to improving candidate experience, such as suggesting roles for candidates almost immediately following the submission of their CV.
It's also vital to ensure that the candidate experience is aligned with your brand and company values. Does what candidates experience when they interact with your organisation match how you promote yourself externally? For example, if your values state that your employees are the most important part of the business, ensure that you treat your candidates as equally important – communicating regularly and providing updates on their application. You need to ensure that this experience is consistent across all candidate touchpoints.
How can technology improve candidate experience?
There are many ways to use technology to improve candidate experience. DaXtra’s Adrian Farthing looks at some of the tools available to recruiters to streamline the application process, freeing them up to spend more time focusing on candidates’ needs. As the RecTech industry continues to innovate, there is now technology to enable both greater automation and increased personalisation of the recruitment process.
At DaXtra, we’ve applied the AI and machine learning technology used in our candidate search and match and our parsing products to Apply & Match. This solution enables candidates to upload their CV to a recruiter’s website and immediately see the most relevant open jobs based on their skills and experience.
Technology solutions are now available for each part of the recruitment process. You can use a chatbot to guide your candidates through the application process, automate your initial candidate outreach and engagement via our partner Herefish, as well as using video for your initial interview screening. The more information you can collect from a candidate’s application, the better the interaction your recruiters can have with them and the better their overall candidate experience will be.