5 Ways to Revolutionize Candidate Experience

candidate experience priorityCandidate experience is a topic that has grown in popularity in recent years. However, many organizations just aren’t doing it well. According to the 2014 Brandon Hall Group Social Talent Acquisition Study, only 8% of companies are trying to improve candidate experience with their social recruiting practices. During our webinar last week, Kyle Lagunas asked me why I thought that might be the case. My answer was fairly simple:

The simplest answer is that there isn’t enough of a link between candidate experience and the bottom line. If we look at what companies are focusing on, such as attracting more talent, strengthening the employer brand, or reducing sourcing costs, it’s easy to see how those could translate into improved results both for recruiting and for the business.

So, with that being said, how can we change this? How do we make it a priority? Here are five ways to make candidate experience more meaningful at your organization.

  1. Measure it to get it done. We often hear “what gets measured gets done.” So let’s start surveying candidates on their satisfaction with regard to the hiring process. Is there a lagging step or a recruiter that doesn’t follow up? This type of measurement can turn up those otherwise hidden factors that can impact candidate experience.
  2. Make it automatic. The simplest and easiest steps toward communicating with candidates are built into virtually all of the recruiting platforms today. Need to send a broadcast message to candidates? Done. Need to notify a batch of applicants that they were not selected? Simple. Technology makes this incredibly easy.
  3. Make it part of performance. I’ve found that if you want someone to pay attention to a business process, you have to rate their performance in part based on their usage of it. If the goal is to drive follow up with every candidate, then that should be a rating factor in your recruiter performance discussions.
  4. Make it more important than something else. The bottom line is that setting priorities is always going to leave something at the bottom of the list unfinished. So let’s change our priorities. Maybe we make follow ups a higher priority than more phone interviews. Or maybe we offer a tradeoff by letting recruiters reduce the frequency of communications with warm leads in order to make contact with groups of candidates.
  5. Make it a business priority. This blends several of the tips above by making it not only a recruiting priority or an individual performance discussion, but a business level decision. If organizations are trying to grow a brand or build a world class team of talent, they can’t afford to bear the blowback form negative candidate experiences posted to online social tools. Make it a priority for the business and you’ll often find that the issues of processes, resourcing and measurements will naturally follow.

As you might have expected, most of these items do not require a drastic change to how organizations are performing their talent acquisition efforts, but the thing I’ve learned is that solid performance in any business area usually isn’t the result of sweeping changes. It comes back to basic principles that are exercised consistently over time. And when it comes to candidate experience, that’s definitely a recipe for success.

Has your organization made candidate experience a priority? Why or why not?

–Ben Eubanks, Associate HCM Analyst, Brandon Hall Group

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