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Candidate Experience: the first impression works both ways

Collect candidate’s feedback and improve their impression

Put yourself in the place of the candidate who’s applying for a job. They say the most important part is the first impression. However, that goes for both sides. Many companies tend to forget that. This leads to tons of negative feedback on social media. Worse: a bad recruitment process can cost you a great candidate.

According to a study of the British psychological society, more than 30% of managers decide whether to hire a candidate or send him down the road in the first five minutes.

Source: How quickly do interviewers reach decisions? / The British Psychological Society

Yes, there’s plenty of studies about how to survive the first five minutes. But keep in mind that these first moments are also your opportunity as a company to make a great – or a poor – impression. Because the applicant makes up their mind at the same time. HR departments should not underestimate the importance of candidate experience.

In our busy world it has become common that the first contact in a recruitment process is not through an actual person but a computer program that guides your job seeker through the process of sending in his application. Artificial intelligence weeds out candidates and they receive communications from your brand messages. So by the time the candidate first lays eyes on an actual person of the company, they already got an idea of the tone of voice of your company, your software systems, in general: how you deal with people.

No less than 58% of surveyed candidates feel that a good recruitment process increases the likelihood of them accepting a role.

On the other hand, a negative experience wastes time and resources. It can even damage your company’s reputation: 72% of candidates share their poor recruiting experience online or with someone. That’s a number worth repeating: 72%. Can you afford that much bad rep? It will scare the great candidates away.

Source: Candidate experience in the expectation economy / ResourceSolutions
Source: 23 Surprising Stats on Candidate Experience / Careerarc

Collect candidate feedback – why it’s valuable

In today’s competitive, hyper informed, and real-time feedback work environment, candidate experience is quickly becoming the top priority for companies’ recruiting process. Another number worth remembering: 50% of candidates say that a poor recruitment process caused them to turn the job down (remember, there are candidates who are not desperate to work for you). 69% would probably not apply again.

Source: Candidate Experience Report / CareerPlug
Source: Candidate Experience Report / Talentegy

Tools to collect the jobseeker’s feedback

Feedback makes your HR department strive for excellence. A candidate survey will make you competitive in the pursuit for talent acquisition. To gain insight into their candidate experience, just send the questions to your recent applicants (if you’ve treated them with respect, they will give you honest feedback) as well as the successful hires. To paint a clearer picture, you will then self-evaluate your current candidate experience by looking into your application rates, offer acceptance rates, and employee reviews.

A candidate experience survey like the one you’ll find here is a survey in operation by hiring managers and HR pros. They are used at different key touchpoints throughout the candidate journey, including after the initial recruitment process and interview.

  • Create a brief survey, 6 to 10 questions only
  • Inform candidates about the survey during the hiring process
  • Send to all candidates
  • Make it anonymous
  • Measure NPS (if the candidate will refer to your company in the future)

By getting insights straight from candidates, you can make informed, data-driven decisions about how to optimize your hiring process. To the candidate, this shows you care about the process itself, but that you also care about the people who are a part of it.

Improve with your candidate’s feedback

Bad or outdated hiring practices can be detected if you ask the candidate to give you feedback. So what makes a bad candidate experience? This is what you might find out about your organization:

1. Failing to re-assess a role

When an employee quits, the company should re-evaluate the open position. Are there changes to be made? Are all the tasks and responsibilities still necessary? To figure that out, you should do an exit interview

2. Unclear job description

Some HR departments just recycle the old job ad. The (gender-neutral) job description should be accurate and refrain from skill mention that’s unnecessary for the position. Don’t do a confetti job application. And be upfront about the salary range. You save yourself and your candidate a lot of time.

3. Poor communication

A good recruiter doesn’t interrogate but rather have a great conversation to cover all the fields with your candidate. Eliminate outdated interview questions. And by the way, judging from the negative feedback some companies get, they need to be reminded that it’s not just the applicant who should be on time for the interview.

4. Lack of feedback

That’s the cardinal sin: not letting your candidates know what happened after the interview and have them call you to find out. When you’ve made your selection, be sure to thank all that applied.

Factors for positive candidate experience

  • Clear job description
  • Transparent recruiting
  • Informative career site
  • Easy application process
  • Professional, timely, and friendly communication
  • Feedback provided and taken

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