Cater to Your Candidates and Improve Your Bottom Line

161725848Think about the last time you applied for a job. What stood out about the entire application process? Was it streamlined and easy and did it make you excited about potentially working at the organization? That’s what a positive candidate experience should look like but, unfortunately, the concept of “catering to candidates” hasn’t been embraced by all companies yet. But why is it important to cater to a candidate? What many organizations don’t realize is the candidate experience is not exclusive to talent acquisition only and can actually impact your overall business.And,having a negative candidate experience can dramatically influence your bottom line.

The hiring process isn’t just stressful for the employer, it’s also stressful for the candidates who are applying to multiple companies at once. Applying to a company that has an unorganized and long, drawn-out application process, no social media reach, poor communication, impersonal recruiting process and for lack of a better term, a “bad” careers page, will negatively affect your employer brand, referrals, retention, productivity and profits. To support this claim, The Talent Board, which runs the annual Candidate Experience Awards, surveyed nearly 50,000 candidates across 100 different companies and found that 96.9 percent of candidates with a positive experience would refer someone to the company’s job opening, while only 33.2 percent with a negative experience would do the same. So why does it continue to be ignored? Because it’s easy to forget about, especially if you aren’t a recruiter in the process every day. But, it can only be ignored for so long before it sneaks up and starts impacting your business in multiple ways all at once.

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Organizations can start improving their candidate experience today by focusing on the following:

Optimized career site and social media presence: Making adjustments and building out your website, employment brand and social media presence is the first step to focus on. Before candidates even considers applying to a position, they research a company’s career page, social media sites, Glassdoor reviews and press releases. All of these are opportunities to showcase your employee value proposition and company culture and confirm your organization is an ideal place to build a career. Updated social media pages that engage your audience will show potential candidates you’re open to two-way communication and adds a human element to the application process. You’re also showing you’re a company that stays on the forefront of new trends and technology and won’t get left behind when trends emerge. Optimizing your careers page is also necessary for attracting top talent and acts as a centralized platform to showcase unique benefits, employee testimonials, corporate videos, access to the talent community, social media streams and any other appealing aspects of your company.

Application process: Make it a point to go through your company’s application process step-by-step by putting yourself in the candidate’s shoes. With candidates getting burned out from applying to multiple companies, will your application process seem like a dreaded undertaking or will it be a walk in the park? If candidates are choosing to skip over your job openings to avoid your application process, it’s time to revamp it. A broken or taxing process not only reduces your applications, but candidates most likely won’t refer their peers to the company and you’re left with the reputation of not valuing a candidate’s time. Analyze how you can make the process easier for both you and your candidates.

Communication and transparency: As simple as it sounds, many organizations forego open lines of communication that provide additional information and realistic previews of the job and culture. Unfortunately, this lack of communication is extended through the application and interview process, coining the sentiment of being in a recruitment “black hole.” A strong candidate experience incorporates opportunities to communicate expectations, timelines and feedback during the application process. Don’t hide key information from candidates and always meet the deadlines you set with your applicants.Even if you don’t have any updates on their candidacy or the position, consistent communication is appreciated and helps build stronger relationships.When the process is completed, ask for feedback, even if they weren’t hired for the position.Getting their candid opinion on your application process and their candidate experience from start to finish can identify areas of improvement. Keeping successful and unsuccessful candidates in your talent communities will ensure continuous interactions and also show candidates they weren’t just a forgotten transaction. Gerry Crispin, human resources expert and Talent Board co-founder noted, “It’s important to help them however we can and live up to the hype your company may project. Candidates, whether hired or not, are ours to lose.”

Bottom line, if you’re not actively involved in your company’s candidate experience initiatives, it will affect your profits and your ability to attract quality candidates. It will also make it much easier for candidates to apply to your competitors once they hear about your poor candidate experience through the grapevine. As a result, this can lead to talent shortages, profit loss and lack of innovation. Don’t be left behind; take your candidate experience seriously and you’ll notice a difference immediately.

To register for the 2014 Candidate Experience Awards, please click here.

MORE: The shift toward mobile recruitment

John Wilson

John Wilson
John Wilson is the founder and CEO of WilsonHCG, a global recruitment process outsourcing (RPO) and human capital consulting firm. Connect with him via LinkedIn and Twitter.

John Wilson

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