Everything You Need to Improve Candidate Experience
Blog posts, fact sheets, and downloadable resources to help you improve your candidate experience now.
What is candidate experience?
Candidate experience covers every interaction an applicant has with your business and brand during the hiring process, and how they experience and react to those interactions. From your job ads to responses to applications, your career site to social media presence, and interviews to on-boarding – candidates judge the attractiveness of your employer brand (and therefore your attractiveness as a potential employer) at every step of the hiring process.
Here, we walk through everything you need to know about candidate experience to attract top talent in 2020/21.
Why does candidate experience matter?
It affects your employer brand: In a Talent Board survey, 61% of responders who had a positive candidate experience said they would actively encourage their colleagues to also apply to the company, while, of those with a negative experience, 27% would warn associates against applying.
It impacts candidates’ decisions: Recruiting Brief report that up to 90% of candidates claim that the candidate experience they receive can change their minds about a role or company.
It can lower costs: The Aberdeen Group found that businesses that improve their candidate experience are twice as likely to improve their cost-per-hire, for example, as a result of reducing the costs inherent with reneged offers and a lengthy search process.
It can improve your bottom line: A Talent Board survey found that just under 40% of those with a positive candidate experience said they now felt more inclined to buy from the company, regardless of whether they were actually hired or not. Whereas, 30% of those with a negative experience would now purchase fewer of the business’s goods or services.
Candidates want to have a valuable experience when applying for a role with your company. That can mean anything from learning what their strengths are, via feedback during your interview process (something EY’s process does), to gaining a real understanding of what the day-to-day responsibilities in their chosen team and career path would look like.
Here are some concrete ways you can improve candidate experience to attract the best and brightest talent to your company:
HR leaders know that salaries and career opportunities are no longer the only concerns for candidates; every study on this subject clearly shows that issues like work/life balance and being intellectually challenged are now top of the list. The question is, do you cover these increasingly important issues, and critically, do you cover them exhaustively?
The leaderboard of candidate concerns varies significantly from one sector to another, even though there are common themes. Candidates in banking, law, and IT have different specific priorities when deciding whether to take a job, but the broad strokes are the same as other sectors – financial stability, work/life balance, the working environment, and opportunities for relocation.
The way to tackle this is to make sure you provide exhaustive and tailored content that is:
- Specific to your sector
- Specific to each type of candidate profile
- Personal and case-by-case
- Progressive, changing over the course of the candidate experience
The number one factor for a great candidate experience, according to candidates, is sufficient information about the role and what it’s like to work at your company. However, 57% of candidates report that they cannot find this information, which means closing the content gap should be a priority for all companies. In the financial services and legal sectors particularly, the content gap could mean missing out on the best and brightest candidates – perception of these sectors is driving graduates away (into the up-and-coming tech sector) – and the answer lies in tackling it head on.
Careers pages with glossy photos and generic promises of “a great future”, usually with a handful of employee testimonials and possibly a day-in-the-life video are a good starting point. But they’re not enough to convince the best and brightest that your company is any different from the ones they read about in the news. They might even apply for a role, but if they’re unable to find content that changes their perception – or ask questions about the reality of working for you – it is not surprising they’re more likely to take a role in a challenger sector that looks great at first sight, like tech.
When it comes to candidate experience in the trust economy, where the difference between gaining access to a service (or convincing someone to purchase from you) is your reputation score, a negative candidate experience impacts more than your employer brand.
61% of candidates are more skeptical of what employers say about themselves than they were a few years ago, according to research from CEB. This credibility gap creates a challenge for employers who want to provide the content candidates are seeking – if employers aren’t trusted, then how can they close the content gap?
Employees are your satisfied customers when it comes to the candidate experience, and in the new trust economy, their experience will carry much more weight with candidates than brand advertising. Using these stories will close the content gap by providing the content candidates want, as well as the credibility gap because it’s coming from a source they trust (Edelman Trust Barometer 2017).
With the ubiquity of social media, the rise of new platforms with younger generations, and the promised efficiency of automation – it’s very easy to fall for the hype and lose out on the real value of these new channels and platforms.
Myth: Companies need to have a social presence everywhere – Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter – you name it!
Having a presence across a few platforms isn’t enough. Instagram might be the best way to communicate with your target demographic, but what are you saying? Photos of your company’s annual bake-off and the office dog are an excellent starting point, but they’re not enough to help a potential hire make a decision about taking a role.
Research from professional recruitment consultancy Robert Walters reveals that candidates want corporate social media profiles to provide a range of insights. 76% of candidates surveyed look to discover generic information on the company and its operations, and 67% also look for pointers on cultural values. Social media strategies to improve candidate experience should give candidates the content they want, where they already are.
Myth: Redesigning the careers page to look fresher and more modern will improve candidate engagement
Updating your website with a slicker, more modern design will appeal to your candidates and leave them with a good impression of your brand. However, it’s not enough to convince them to apply for a role with your company on its own. 64% of job seekers surveyed by the Talent Board listed career sites as a top resource channel for researching new opportunities. However, 57% of candidates reported that employers fail to share important information such as ‘day-in-the-life’ stories. You need to update the content on your careers page – not just the design.
Content is King – Human is Ace: The Truth About Candidate Experience
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