The Anatomy of a Great Candidate Experience

May 12, 2014 3:29 pm Published by Chris Fields

When was the last time you went online to apply for a job? If it’s been a while, let me tell you that you have been missing out on something special! (That’s sarcasm.)

Most application processes are long, disjointed, broken and belabored. It’s hard to believe in our digital age of mobile technology, free WiFi, instant communication and information that some companies still require you to sit down and fill out an online application taking anywhere from 20 – 40 minutes. That’s crazy!

User Experience

Shouldn’t you be able to apply for a job with a push of a button? There are some companies that offer that option but far too few. Social recruiting is big and only getting bigger. Nowadays companies research candidates but did you know candidates also research companies? And if the application process is too difficult or time consuming, they will ditch it and never come back. Recently, a recruiter friend of mine began a new job. She immediately took it upon herself to have the company’s website fixed and optimized for mobile users as her first initiative. She did this because she understands the candidate experience is vital to winning the war for top talent.

What is the candidate experience? It is the entire process that you put your potential employees through. It begins with the application process, continues through the interviews, the job offer, the training and the first few weeks on the job. But wait, it also includes how you treat rejected applicants. If you treat rejected candidates with respect, they will have positive feelings about your company which means they won’t bad mouth you in the community and on social media.

The application process should be easy – a push of a button or a quick download of your resume credentials from the cloud. In 2014, for the first time ever, more people accessed the internet from a smartphone or tablet than a desktop since the invention of the internet.

Mobile users are a particular bunch. They want to be able to access your site and access anything they want within 5 or 6 seconds. If it takes more time than that, they will bounce and go to the competition. Here’s a nice infographic from illustrating that fact. You can no longer expect a candidate to stick it out and go through a lengthy application process. Your developers and community managers should be able to run reports to show the open, abandon and completion rates on the career page. Your ATS should definitely allow for custom reporting as well. Chances are, this data will prove that your candidates are abandoning job applications because you don’t have a simple mobile apply process.

Now that you know the current process is broken, mobile usage is increasing and branding is an important part of the recruiting and candidate experience, how do you fix it? Glad you asked!

First, you need to partner with Marketing to be sure you understand the company’s marketing campaigns and brand messaging. This needs to be incorporated into the job description. For instance if you are trying to position yourself as an agile, fast moving start-up with growth potential, it makes no sense to a have an exhausting application process.

Next you need to sit down with the web and app developers along with the ATS vendor or social recruiting solution provider to explain what you need, why you need it and how it should work. The goal should be to get all of the candidate’s information as quickly as possible so your potential new hires feels great about the application process and so you can determine organizational fit.

The third step is to test it. Make sure it functions properly on both a desktop and a mobile device. It should work on both Apple and Android operating systems. Again it should be user-friendly and easy!

Finally, add a survey to your application process. Solicit feedback from candidates – some will fill it out, some won’t, of course. Use this data and look for common themes or inconsistencies. This information can be beneficial if you do not ignore it.

You can achieve an excellent candidate experience if you make the investment: develop a strong employer brand, mobile-optimize your application process, make it simple, test it, and solicit feedback.

What do you think makes an great candidate experience? Tell me in the comments!


This post was written by Chris Fields

1 Comment

  • pjelinic says:

    Applicants invest a lot of time, energy, and hope when
    applying for positions. For an applicant
    to feel that the application was a positive experience, even if the applicant
    was not successful in securing the position, the following needs to happen:

    · Acknowledgement of application received

    · Timely update of where the company is in regards
    to filling the position

    If selected for an interview, clear outlines to
    be provided on what will be expected at the interview

    · Interviewers to be prepared for the interview.
    (many have not even read the resume)

    · Timely feedback on interview and status update

    · If unsuccessful at securing the position, some
    form of feedback would be good so the applicant can improve for the next time

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