Despite the influx of job seekers in the market currently, there are still several expectations coming from talent that companies should take heed of. In fact, the overall candidate experience during the application, interview, and onboarding process is key to successful placement and long term employment. Why? This is the very first impression that each candidate gets about the company, and it’s a lasting impression that can affect their decision to stay on board or shift to another opportunity.

Why the candidate experience counts

As a recruiter it’s very important that these initial contacts with candidates are handled in a way that creates a positive experience for candidates, in order to achieve successful placement. Multiple studies, including a 2012 survey conducted by CareerBuilder, indicate that applicants develop this impression from the moment they apply for an open position. This survey showed that 26 percent of job seekers polled had a negative experience so significant during the application phase that prompted them to never want to apply for a job at that company again. Common issues included:

  • Not hearing back from the company to acknowledge their application, not even an email.
  • Not getting any indication from the recruitment team that the company is still hiring.
  • Inaccuracies or lack of information in the written job description based on the interview.
  • Interviewer did not provide any feedback or follow-up after the interview as to their decision.
  • Recruiter or other company representative did not paint a positive picture of the company or work culture.

Yet, on the other side, when candidates did have a positive experience during the application and interview process, regardless of the hiring outcome, they were more likely to:

  • Recommend this company to a colleague or another candidate seeking employment.
  • They were eager to learn more about the company and buy services/products there.
  • They would return again in the future for new career opportunities.


How can I improve the candidate experience?

You may be asking right now, how the candidate experience can be improved, in order to make a favorable impression with candidates. Fortunately, if you are asking this question, you are already on the right track. Here are a few suggestions, to help improve the candidate experience.

Make it easy to apply for work.  First and foremost, do not have a complicated system for submitting a resume of application of employment. This can turn off many candidates. Instead, create a simple online application form on your company website, or use a staffing agency with a candidate management system to recruit your new hires.

Treat all candidates with respect. Take the time to set up an auto-responder for all incoming applications and emails. Then follow up with a more personal message to applicants, thanking them for taking the time to consider your company for employment. After the initial interviews, let candidates know the outcome with a well-written rejection letter.

Create a positive corporate culture. Your company has a special image that is unique. Take the time to share this with a corporate culture web page and social network which shows what it’s like to work there. This can help candidates know from the start if they will fit in well. Keep things positive, including all communications with candidates.

Encourage applicants to learn more. Provide other ways for candidates to learn about openings with your company. For example, you may have a career fair or you may want to conduct recruitment outreach in the community at colleges and job placement agencies.  Give each candidate a brief introduction of your company’s foundation and values.

Update job descriptions and communications.  Work closely with your first line management team to draft accurate job descriptions before recruiting. This will help you to design interviews around the actual tasks and requirements of each job type.

For more information on attracting top candidates, contact the Jackson staffing experts at TempStaff today!

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