Candidates who have a negative recruitment experience with a company are less likely to buy their products and services. This shouldn’t really come as a surprise. A positive candidate experience starts long before someone even thinks about getting in touch with you. Candidate experience starts with how a brand is perceived, what reputation it has and how it builds relationships with its clients before starting to work with them.
A big part of my role in M3S (part of Morgan McKinley), is to develop good relationships with candidates that we source and recruit for our clients every day. One thing I often hear our candidates say is that they don’t get any responses to their applications from other companies which can be quite upsetting and frustrating. They seem to be disappointed by the way some companies have handled their applications without giving them any feedback.
Unfortunately, this is a real life example that illustrates the impact that a poor candidate experience has. But before we start blaming the HR and TA teams for this, it’s important to understand that there could be numerous different reasons for this lack of communication.. For example, the volume of such applications may simply be too high for them to process.
Not every company’s HR department is equipped to handle a high volume of applications and while we can all understand that it might not be possible to reply to 100s of applications, as a candidate you will consider a lack of communication as simply unprofessional. After all, many of us consider our jobs and careers as something that is highly important to us so we don’t want to work with companies we feel do not understand or respect that.
A brief scroll through LinkedIn will reveal one of the main criticisms candidates have in job hunting is the lack of feedback (whether through an agency or via one of the many companies using a sophisticated ATS).
At M3S, we come in when the applications are too many for a HR team to handle. We make sure that the candidate experience remains positive for our clients and candidates alike. As an RPO partner we build positive candidate experience carefully into the recruitment process.
How To Build A Positive Candidate Experience
Generally speaking there would be two root causes that lead to bad experiences for candidates - (1) busy internal recruitment teams and, in the case of using external providers, that (2) it is challenging to 'monetize' the candidate experience – so resources are not always directed towards enhancing it.
TIP: Companies should include such critical aspects when discussing their RPO implementation plans.
Some ideas that could help in enhancing candidate experience are as below:
Implement HR Technology To Improve Efficiency
….and free up your Talent Acquisition team. There's plenty of HR software available on the market that can help you automate your recruitment processes, sort the data and make it easier to manage applications (... etc etc). Filling in spreadsheets, going through emails, folders and documents can be distracting, demotivating and time consuming.
Use AI to provide meaningful interaction at the application, sourcing or screening stagefor example if relocation is possible for a particular role.
These tools aren't necessarily costly and they will free up your HR and TA teams' time so that they can focus on more meaningful tasks such as looking after your candidates and their experience
Simplify the application process
... and minimize mandatory checks and requirements, though they do help for compliance/ governance, they sometimes frustrate the candidate and some end up ‘giving up’ midway.
We don’t want candidates, particularly A-players and passive candidates, getting turned off by the application process thinking it might not be worth the effort. Test your application process internally - see how long it takes and that only relevant information is being asked.
Communicate, communicate, communicate
Silence is what kills a good candidate experience and would probably be the only thing candidates would want changed in the application process. Include automated/ triggered status updates during the recruitment process to keep candidates updated throughout the process. It can get anxiety-inducing for some candidates if they don’t hear back, knowing their skills/ personality is being judged. A few companies provide a timeline info-graphic – which is even better!
Maintain Candidate Relationship
The application outcome does not always have to be a Yes / No result – Even if a candidate did not make the cut for a particular role, he or she may be perfect for another role at a later time.
Consider how your ATS or VMS can redirect, pool and continually engage with Silver Medalists, Alumni, Niche or Seasonal profiles that might be right for your organization at another time.
Keeping in touch with your candidates can significantly lower recruiting and hiring cycles.
My final piece of advice would be to bring the candidate experience to life in the real world. By creating great EVP materials, detailed interview preparation, personalized greetings, calendar/interview integration and hiring managers trained to conduct structured interviews - this will not only connect you with active and passive candidates but also provide them with useful and relevant information and share the company culture which should attract them to work with you.
If you'd like to know more about how M3S could help to improve your recruitment process and boost your candidate experience, please fill in this form and one of our consultants will reach out to you to schedule an informal chat.