Happy Candidates, Better Business Outcomes: 4 Tips for Improving Your Candidate Experience

As companies struggle to attract and retain workers, many are forced to turn to new hiring and recruiting strategies to stand out among their competitors. And while some methods aren’t exactly “reinventing the wheel,” one strategy that ALL employers should be focusing on is the candidate experience.


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According to the iCIMS report The Candidate Experience Report: The Hiring Process Unveiled, when a company doesn’t take the candidate experience into consideration, it is not only missing out on top talent but also hurting its reputation and bottom line.
According to the report—which featured survey findings from 500 nationally representative U.S. adults employed part time and full time—when a candidate has a poor experience, he or she is more inclined to stop giving your company business and will also stop referring friends and family to your business as well.
iCIMS says, “Recruiting practices are an extension of the corporate brand—and candidates who believe they have had a negative overall experience say they will take their product purchases and relationship somewhere else.”
According to the research findings, “67% of employed American adults agree that the application, interview or offer process would make or break their decision on whether to take a job.” And, “[a]n overwhelming majority (95%) agree that the way a potential employer treats them as a candidate is a reflection of how they would treat them as an employee.”
In order to save face, your company needs to make sure the candidate experience is a good one, from the moment they apply to the minute an offer is put on the table. Here are a few ways you can improve the candidate experience, based off of iCIMS’s findings.

1. Improve Your Corporate Career Page/Job Site

Candidates expect the same experience when applying for a job as they get when they order something from Amazon. If your career page or job site is subpar, or doesn’t meet their needs, you’re losing out on top talent. iCIMS reports that 59% of job candidates have abandoned an online application specifically because there were issues or bugs with the online career site.
The iCIMS report also found that it takes people 11 minutes to complete a job application. However, for the people who’ve abandoned an online application, the average time spent filling it out was roughly 4 minutes before deciding to leave the page and not complete the application.
By ensuring that your website is glitch-free and your online application process is easy to use, you’ll be able to keep candidates engaged longer, guaranteeing they will complete the online application.

2. Safeguard Candidate Privacy

As data breach news reports keep rolling in, safeguarding your candidates’ privacy is more important than ever before. According to iCIMS, 65% of respondents “agree that recent security breaches have made them less likely to apply for a job through social media.”
iCIMS also says that this level of concern is shared almost equally among all age groups: according to 69% of Baby Boomers, 67% of Millennials, and 60% of Gen Xers. To keep applicants’ minds at ease, iCIMS suggests that data security, compliance, and privacy should be top priorities when choosing a talent acquisition technology provider. “Technology providers with strict data encryption procedures, up-to-date certifications and security policies for supporting General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) compliance will help employers enhance the implied contract that is inherent in their candidate experience,” says iCIMS.

3. Regularly Communicate with Candidates and Try New Methods

When you stop communicating with candidates, it not only alienates them but also makes them become less interested in working for your company. Again, candidates expect the hiring process to be similar to a “customer’s” experience. Treat your candidates like you treat your customers! You wouldn’t leave a customer on hold for 2 days because you can’t answer his or her question; the same goes for candidates who apply with your company.
In order to improve your candidate communications, hang up the phone and switch to text messaging. According to iCIMS, 73% of respondents said texting is the most direct mode of communication to reach working people during a busy day. And 86% of respondents agree that it would be beneficial to receive text messages during the job application process.
By communicating via text, you are able to not only talk to candidates who are currently employed elsewhere but also provide more timely feedback regarding the application process. Keeping candidates informed of what’s going on with their application will keep them happy and less likely to decline the job offer if/when it gets to that stage.
The iCIMS report also highlights these key findings around text messaging communications:

  • 57% of respondents prefer texts when scheduling interviews.
  • 57% prefer texts when scheduling next steps after being hired.
  • 34% prefer texts when completing applications, such as to answer questions about the application.
  • 33% prefer texts when applying for open positions, such as to jump-start the application process.

4. Improve Your Onboarding Process

We’ve made it to the final stage of the candidate experience: onboarding. According to iCIMS, 26% of respondents have quit a job specifically because they didn’t feel they were onboarded or trained properly. Furthermore, 44% of job candidates didn’t quit but considered it, indicating the potential for an even more substantial retention if issues aren’t addressed.
iCIMS sites a Work Institute report that claims the cost of replacing an employee who quits is 33% of a worker’s annual salary. Based off of an average annual salary of $45,000, the cost of turnover is $15,000 per employee. It would be a shame to lose out on top talent—and waste all that money—because your new hire wasn’t trained properly. To learn how to improve your onboarding process, check out this article from Paula Santonocito, “Onboarding: Making a List and Checking It Twice.”
Just because onboarding is the “final stage” of the hiring process doesn’t mean your candidate experience should end there. Keeping your workers happy is also akin to having a good candidate experience. If your workers aren’t happy, they’ll also be more inclined to tell their family and friends to stop doing business with your company, so make sure to keep the good experience going at all stages of an employee’s job cycle.

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