By Melissa Dern, CIR and Robin Throckmorton, MA, SPHR, SCP
Looking for your next hire can be quite stressful and costly. One of the key steps to success that is often neglected is the candidate experience. This starts with creating a candidate experience that is very positive throughout the hiring process and beyond into the onboarding. Positivity involves keeping the candidate informed and using open communications from everyone involved including both HR and the hiring managers.
Why does it matter you ask? A few statistics shared by Proactive Talent Blog that you should know:
- 42% of job applicants who had a negative experience say they would never apply to that company again;
- 78% of the applicants say they would share their bad candidate experience with their network;
- 34% of the candidates would share their negative experience on social media for the entire world to see.
If these stats aren’t enough, check out CareerArc’s 23 Surprising Stats on Candidate Experience.
Make the first impression a positive one!
Making that first impression is the most important thing you can do to get started on the right foot with the candidate experience. The candidate starts forming an impression the minute they begin reading the job ad followed by their visit to the company website. How is your job ad and website viewed by the candidate? How easy is it to find the careers page on your website and apply? Step into your candidates shoe’s and take a walk thru their journey. Don’t forget, those first impressions not only come from the ad and company websites but also anything posted on social media and any reviews about the company (i.e. Glassdoor).
The #1 complaint by candidates that is heard over and over is the lack of communication by the company throughout the hiring process. It’s better to over communicate than not enough. The candidate wants to know what’s going on at all steps of the process even if the news is not good news. It’s like the saying goes “One bad experience, the person will tell 10 friends and one good experience may not be shared at all.”
It’s always best to set the expectations up front with the candidate, so they know what will happen next and when to alleviate any surprises. Don’t leave the candidate wondering and filling in their own blanks. You need to follow their journey and anticipate what information you need to provide the candidate. To avoid the bad candidate experience, communicate throughout the process and do what you say you will do such as sending a confirmation email for the interview, following up on the interview and sending that dreaded “TBNT” – Thanks But No Thanks letter to the candidate if not selected. This will put closure to the process and not leave them hanging wondering what is going on.
Prepare for the interview!
Provide the candidate all the details they need to effectively prepare for the interview which includes where the interview will be, who the candidate will meet, and what time is the interview. It can be very helpful to let the candidate know what type of interview to expect – one on one, group, panel, behavior based. But also, be sure you are prepared for the interview and on time. Leaving a candidate sitting in the lobby for 10, 15, or even 30 minutes is not only disrespectful but will also have a very negative impact on the candidate. Keep the interview moving along and stay within the budgeted time.
Don’t stop after the candidate starts!
Once the candidate is hired, the candidate experience doesn’t stop there. Keep having on-going conversations with the candidate (now employee), because keeping employees happy will transition into a successful bottom line. Statistics show that an employee’s engagement is the highest when they first start the job. So, if you are able to create a great candidate experience, your next job is to create a great employee experience.
A Road Map to Create Your Candidate Experience
Michel Falcon, a reputable advisor on customer and employee engagement has a 5D Methodology for strategically improving your customer experience that can be modified to create your candidate experience. The five D’s are:
- Discover: analyze the current state of your candidate experience.
- What are you currently doing that has a positive or negative impact on the candidate experience?
- Design: map the steps a candidate takes through the journey with your organization.
- Some examples of the steps include job ad, website, career page, application process, response to application, follow-up, calls, interviews, assessments offers, decisions….
- Develop: identify what you need to improve and continue doing to create that great candidate experience.
- Have a “secret shopper” walk through your process, ask recent new hires for feedback, and even ask the candidates as you go.
- Deploy: as Nike says “just do it.”
- You may not be able to implement all your changes at once so rank them. Also be sure to set measures including when, how often, and what you will measure.
- Debrief: Reflect back on the candidate experience.
- What worked? What didn’t? What still needs improved?
While you may not hire every candidate, you can create ambassadors of your company because of the positive experience they had during your hiring process. Plus, you never know when those candidates may even become a customer in the future. Most importantly, the success you’ll have by creating a great candidate experience and ultimately employee experience can lead to a long working relationship as well as a positive impact to the bottom line. So, start now taking a walk in your candidate’s shoes to ensure you are making that positive impact.
Melissa Dern, CIR is a Talent Acquisition Lead and Robin Throckmorton, MA, SPHR, SCP is the President at strategic HR, inc. (www.strategicHRinc.com). If you have any questions or would like to share your comments, contact Melissa@strategicHRinc.com or Robin@strategicHRinc.com.
Thanks for sharing!