Candidate Experience: The 10 Commandments
With employment at a record high and a growing skills shortage across many sectors, providing a positive candidate experience is more important than ever.
As competition for talent increases, jobseekers can be more selective about the roles they apply for and the companies they choose to work for. If a candidate has a poor experience with your company or you have a bad reputation as an employer, there’s a strong chance that they won’t want to work for you.
But what makes a positive candidate experience and how can you improve yours?
Read Webrecruit’s very own take on the 10 commandments to provide you with the ground rules for delivering an excellent candidate journey.
1. Thou shall provide a clear call-to-action in your job adverts
You’ve written a job advert that makes candidates want to come and work for you. Great!
But what’s the next step? How do they apply for your role?
Leaving candidates confused at this early stage isn’t a good sign, so make sure that you pop a clear call-to-action within your job advert. This can be as simple as a ‘Click on the apply button to submit an application’ or ‘Email your CV and covering letter to firstname.lastname@example.org’.
This prevents any confusion from candidates and ensures that they’re aware of what exactly they need to do to apply.
2. Thou shalt not make candidates endure a lengthy application process
If you have an online application form that candidates fill out to apply for your role, try and make it as short as possible.
It can be tempting to overload your application form with questions, simply because you want to find out as much about the candidates as possible. However, 56% of candidates wouldn’t be prepared to answer more than 10 application questions when applying for a role, we found in our recent candidate survey.
Try to limit the questions that you ask candidates on your application form; failing to do so could result in candidates abandoning their application halfway through the process.
3. Thou shall ensure that candidates can apply using their mobile devices
It’s not exactly recent news but more and more jobseekers are searching for their next role using their mobile device.
If your careers site is unresponsive and your application process isn’t mobile-optimised, mobile candidates will likely get frustrated when trying to apply for a role with your business. Again, this can lead to frustration and application abandonment.
4. Thou shall acknowledge every application received
Sending a simple email confirming to candidates that you’ve successfully received their application can work wonders. If you’re using an Applicant Tracking System (ATS), this can be automated and is a great way of communicating the next stages of the recruitment process and setting timescales to manage their expectations.
Additionally, it will help to reduce the amount of telephone calls from candidates checking that you’ve received their application.
5. Thou shalt not take weeks and weeks to assess applications
It’s important to keep on top of your incoming applications and contact candidates promptly. If a candidate is looking at other roles and you leave it weeks before getting in touch with them, you might find that they’ve already been snapped up by one of your competitors.
Set yourself an internal SLA for assessing new applications to reduce your chance of missing out on the top candidates. An ATS can help you to keep on top of your incoming applications as the system notifies you of how many new applicants you have for each of your roles.
6. Thou shall let candidates know if they’ve been unsuccessful
One of the most frustrating aspects of the job hunting process for candidates is submitting applications for dozens of roles without hearing anything back.
In fact, 94% of candidates stated that regular updates from the employer during the recruitment process were important or very important.
A simple email telling rejected candidates that they’ve been unsuccessful won’t take you long to send (it can be done with the click of a button if you’re using recruitment software) and will ensure that applicants always know where they stand.
7. Thou shall always keep candidates informed of timescales
If you know that there will be any hold-ups during the recruitment process, such as the hiring manager going on holiday or a delay in replying to applications, it’s important to keep candidates informed.
Making candidates aware of these timescales helps to manage their expectations so they don’t get frustrated if they don’t hear back immediately.
8. Thou shall provide candidates with detailed interview instructions
When sending out interview confirmations to candidates, make sure that you include thorough details. This includes who they will be meeting on the day and any instructions for when they arrive at your office, such as details of where they can park or any documents that they will need to bring with them.
If you require candidates to prepare anything for your interview, such as a presentation or a written task, make sure that you give a clear, precise brief; this will ensure that candidates have the best possible chance of succeeding at your interview.
9. Thou shall always provide feedback to rejected candidates from interviews
If you’ve interviewed a candidate but decided to hire someone else, always let the candidate know with a personalised email (at the very least) but ideally with a telephone call.
Provide them with meaningful feedback; they’ve taken the time to meet with you face-to-face so sending an automated rejection email will likely leave a negative impression of your company.
10. Thou shall ensure a smooth onboarding process
Delivering a positive candidate experience doesn’t stop once your new hire has started within the business. Ensure that you provide a smooth onboarding experience; make them feel welcome, introduce them to every member of your team and put a solid induction plan together for their first few weeks within the business.