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The Truth About Candidate Experience: Are You Making these Common Mistakes?

The more things change, the more they stay the same. Twice last week I got into conversations with marketing executives who both shared extreme dissatisfaction with the candidate experience while looking for a new role. There are so many areas I could cover here, but let’s focus on a few main things you can do to improve your candidate experience.

  1. Assess the user experience on your website.
    When someone comes to your website, is the site set up to align with your business goals? If you’re a B2C company, ask yourself if it’s easy for the user to find what they’re looking for. If your company is primarily B2B, assess whether or not you’re positioned as a thought leader in your industry.Do you appear credible? Honest? Competent? How many clicks does it take the user find the information they need? Is the “careers” section of your site hidden in 8 point font in the footer of the page?It comes down to this: your candidates should be able to easily find what they’re looking for, and your company’s online presence should always be in line with your goals.
  1. Evaluate your in-person candidate experience.
    The impact of candidate experience on a company’s hiring success is just as powerful as the overall brand or user experience on your site. A poor candidate experience can ruin an otherwise great company’s opportunity to hire top talent, as well as an employment opportunity for a top candidate. On the other hand, a great candidate experience has the power to give a company a major competitive advantage in the hiring market place.In my role as a recruiter, I hear the good, the bad, and the ugly. In my own past job searches, I’ve experienced a variety of candidate experiences and run into the same challenges I hear from others. Sometimes people say they’ll get back to you, and then don’t. Process timelines can shift from weeks into months.In the past, I have, without fail, always gone to the company that provided the best overall interview experience – the one where the recruiter was responsive and kept me informed throughout all the steps of the process, where the managers were very informative and interactive, and where I felt like I was treated like a human being rather than “just another resume.”
  1. Start RIGHT NOW
    So, what steps could your company take to offer a better candidate experience?Consider the communication between your hiring managers and recruiters (in-house or external). Do you provide training to your hiring managers so they understand the effect of a poor candidate experience? As recruiters, we understand how busy you might be. It’s often tempting to discount the candidate that’s not “the one” for the job. But, if you invest in providing a great experience, those very candidates can become your advocates in the job market. Trust me, it pays off in the long run.Think about how you’ve treated potential hires in the past. Have you truly courted them? Guess what; that person who wasn’t a fit today just might be your rockstar employee 2-3 years from now. If they had a poor experience with your company the first time around, you can bet that you’ll not only lose out on them, but their family, their friends, and their network. People who have bad experiences aren’t bashful about sharing.

To me, the definition of candidate experience lies in how a company and its recruiters approach the recruiting process. It’s about how they interact with talent, how the talent feels throughout the process, and ultimately how that affects the talent’s decision-making process. It’s up to you to determine your brand’s fate!

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