The battle for talent is more competitive than ever. When it comes to executive hiring, in some cases the candidate arguably has the upper hand. With more and more organisations adopting a leaner structure and in search of candidates with multiple skillsets, businesses have been putting more importance in enhancing their candidate experience.
What is candidate experience?
Put simply, candidate experience is all about how job seekers perceive your brand throughout the hiring process. Starting from when they read the job description on the job board, all the way through offer negotiation and the on boarding stage. Is the hiring process simple and easy to follow? Or is it complex, with too many interviews, and lots of changes along the way? All of these factors influence how a candidate feels about your company. Their experience not only impacts their decision to take a job, but also how they portray your company to their network, friends and other prospective talent in the market.
A good candidate experience could lead to:
A higher job acceptance rate
Candidates who are satisfied with their experience are more likely to accept the job. Their experience throughout the process could be one of the deciding factors whether to go for your company or with one of your competitors.
A stronger employer brand
Simply put, candidates who have a positive experience will more likely refer other people to your company and will share their positive experience with their network.
Reduced time to hire
With good experience comes a referral. Consequently, you will have more applicants, more hires and higher quality of hires with a deduce cost per hire and time to fill.
On the flip side, a bad candidate experience has the potential to destroy your company’s reputation. Believe it or not, those who have a disastrous experience are even more likely to spread the word to their peers and network; encouraging others not to apply, damaging the reputation of your company. Recent research by CareerArc revealed that 72% of those who have a bad experience will share their story in person or online.
5 tips to improve candidate experience
It all starts with a clear job description
Never oversell the role – provide a clear explanation of the job, responsibilities, and expectations. If the job requires the candidate to stay overtime, include that into the JD too!
Agree a clear salary range before you start advertising
If you’re working with a recruiter, make sure you discuss this with them, so they can provide a shortlist of candidates who fit within your range. Be honest about your budget range – what are the limitations?
Communicate your interview process and timeline
Manage the candidate’s expectations from the start – how many rounds of interviews will there be, and when are you aiming to make a final decision by? If there are changes during the process, communicate these to the candidate as soon as possible and provide the reason behind the changes.
Provide prompt and “constructive” feedback
Nothing frustrates candidates more than not getting feedback after an interview. Even if they are not the right candidate for your company, make sure you provide constructive and clear feedback on why you are not taking them through to the next stage. Many candidates will appreciate honest feedback that can become a development point for them in future job interviews.
Never lowball the offer to test the candidate
Sadly, I have worked with some companies in the past who chose to give a lowball offer at the 11th hour, just to test the water. Every time, the candidates didn’t bother with trying to counter. Instead, they were left with a negative impression and declined the offer. Establish compensation ranges that you can deliver to candidates, and if you end up not being able to offer someone what they expect, have an honest conversation as to why, before offering an alternative.