A negative candidate experience can be costly because job-seekers are prone to share how they feel about their experience with others. CareerArc’s 2016 State of the Candidate Experience survey found that nearly 60 percent of its 826 respondents said they had had a poor candidate experience, and 72 percent had shared that experience online or with someone directly.
So, what makes these bad candidate experiences so common? A staggering majority of the CareerArc survey respondents noted a lack of human-ness -- 85 percent of job-seekers doubted that a human being had even reviewed their application.
Companies need to focus on adding a human element to their candidate experience. Obviously, they don’t have the time and energy to read every application, but it’s possible to be more involved and engaged with candidates.
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This is how to make the candidate experience more human and less impersonal:
Use all employer-branding outlets
Try to step into the shoes of job-seekers. What do they do after seeing a job listing? They research. The 2016 LinkedIn 2016 Global Talent Trends survey found that 59 percent of candidates surveyed said they had looked up the company’s website after they heard about a job opening.
Focus on providing these people the information they want.
Brand the company career page with the logo, and provide job-hunters insights into what the company stands for. Define its core values, mission and vision, but more importantly, shed some light on your workplace's human side.
LinkedIn’s survey also found that the biggest roadblock for candidates is not knowing what it’s like to work at the organization. Use employer branding to showcase the people of your company: Post photos of the workplace, share employee testimonials and post an engaging bio for each employee that defines his or her role and lists interests and hobbies.
When showing job-seekers the human side of your office, add a call to action on the career site that encourages them to join the team. Provide an email to directly contact a hiring manager or HR associate so they can contact someone if they need help or want to speak with a person directly about the application process.
The LinkedIn survey also found that one of the biggest roadblocks candidates experience is not hearing back from companies after they apply, along with unclear communication. Simply put, people want to know what they need to do after applying and what the time line looks like for the recruiting process.
Automating everything can remove the human-ness from the hiring process, so it’s important to personalize the messaging for each candidate. Create email templates and other messaging tools in order to be consistent with everyone who is contacted. But also customize by directing the messages to each candidate by name.
What do candidates want? They want to be assured that their resume hasn't fallen into the black hole of a company’s applicant-tracking system. Directly contact them to confirm that their applications have been received and will be reviewed. Provide a time line so they'll know when to expect to hear from HR. Don’t leave them guessing.
Video interviews benefit both HR and the job candidate. Hiring professionals love the flexibility and on-demand nature of recorded candidate responses. More importantly, video empowers a candidate to represent himself or herself in an authentic manner.
It’s up to HR to find a video-interview platform that is user-friendly and customizable. These staffers can then brand the company’s video offering and provide key information like the organization's history and the prospective role’s contribution to the large-scale vision.
Make sure the introductory video also accurately matches the culture. For example, if the workplace is casual, show that in the recording. The people on film should be wearing what they normally wear and speaking in the same conversational tone they use every day.
Companies that set job-seekers up for success are bound to attract top talent. Candidates appreciate the human side of the hiring process. They feel more comfortable answering authentically and show their personality more than if employers don’t adequately inform them about the process, leaving them to fend for themselves.
Plus, a video recording gives the company a face and name the candidate can engage with -- even if this person is shown only in a recording.
After the introductory portion of the video, dive into the screening questions. Job-seekers are more engaged and feel more connected to the human element when they go into a video interview, especially if the company gives them direction on how to record their responses and how those responses will be used.
Give interviewees some tips on how they can succeed. Tell them to answer thoroughly in a concise manner. Encourage professionalism and give clear directions on how they should set up their own cameras -- with a simple background and no extra noise. Direct them to links for the company website so they can clearly explain how they will add value.
Follow up with candidates.
Always communicate with job-seekers, no matter the result of their application or interview. CareerArc’s 2016 survey found that 60 percent of candidates say better communication throughout and after the applicant process would make the most positive impact.
It’s best to personally reach out to candidates when a decision is made. The experience can feel detached when job-seekers are left in the dark. When they are contacted with an automated email or phone call recording, the process can feel robotic and impersonal.
Let candidates know immediately when they are eliminated or rejected, and when it comes time to offer the position, make a phone call. It’s the start of a long relationship, so personalize it and show them the human side of the company.