Candidate Experience 2021: What to Know and What it Means to You

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Long before social media and viral videos, businesses relied on print, Television advertising, and word of mouth to help sell their products. Usually, word of mouth was a happy by-product of satisfied customers, who then became repeat users and shared their discovery. To the generation who grew up in the seventies and eighties, no one did a more memorable job of demonstrating the idea of word of mouth than Faberge Organics who created the well quoted and sometimes spoofed “and they told two friends” ad campaign.

In the classic ’80’s ad, a young woman (Heather Locklear) explains how wonderful this new shampoo is and then talks about how she liked it so much that she told a friend. That friend, in turn, told another friend and you can see how that keeps going and going. The screen then divides up and begins multiplying the actor, showing how quickly the message about how amazing this shampoo was spreading.

At the time, a similar old-fashioned approach was taken to finding great employees. Print advertising in the classified section and a solid company reputation was an efficient way to attract a steady stream of good candidates.

The newer methods of advertising job openings online and through social media may have disrupted these old methods but the reality that “people talk” remains. It is still a driving factor behind candidate attraction and employee retention.

Candidate experience is a current hot topic in data-driven HR. If you care about conducting an effective recruitment process, you likely care about the experiences of the candidates during the recruitment process.

What exactly is candidate experience?

Candidate experience is how job seekers perceive an employer’s recruitment process. If a company uses an effective recruitment process it is beneficial for both potential employee and employer and fulfills the needs of both.

Poor candidate experience can negatively impact the effectiveness of a business’s talent acquisition. Therefore, it’s only logical to put as much emphasis on the candidate experience as that of any other shampoo-buying customer. If you do it right, you too can have candidates telling two friends and so on and so on.

In the current candidate market, it is increasingly difficult to persuade passive candidates to take part in the recruitment process. Talent attraction is not the only reason for improving candidate and employee experience, with candidates increasingly sharing their experience with others on websites such as Glassdoor they are acting as influencers for both passive and active candidates that are considering your company as a place to work. Recognizing applicants are also potential customers can provide an excellent framework for better candidate experience.

Also, as the ad demonstrates on an ever-dividing screen, they’ll tell two friends (and so on). It doesn’t matter if those people are customers or candidates. Good or bad, candidates are very likely to share their experiences with their peers. While companies routinely seek out customer feedback and praise, candidates often get neglected. But why? A poor candidate experience can negatively impact a business’s ability to acquire top talent. Therefore, it only stands to reason that as much emphasis be put on the candidate experience like that of any potential customer.

Here are four areas the Candidate experience can be measured and improved:

One helpful tool is surveying. Instead of just letting go of applicants who weren’t a good fit, ask them about the application process! Make sure HR routinely surveys candidates to get the gist of what they did and didn’t like about the process.

A second useful approach, that’s relatively new to the hiring arena, is using a Net Promoter Score (NPS) to boost candidates’ positive hiring experience. An NPS determines how likely a consumer is to recommend a service or product to their friends (think shampoo ad with empirical data to back it up). The 1 to 10 scale is being used to track candidate word-of-mouth behaviors.

the third number that can be helpful is offer rate acceptance. This can be calculated by dividing the number of job offers by the number of candidates who ultimately accepted. Typically this gets calculated annually. In the case of a particularly active recruitment period, it’s possible to check the percentage over a period of weeks or months.

Here are a few ways to improve your overall job offer acceptance rate:

  • Offer competitive wages.
  • Consider telecommute options.
  • Investigate using an NPS. 
  • Review last year’s offer acceptance rate

The first step is to start by surveying your recruitment process objectively as though you were a lucrative hire. Did they find the application process logical and streamlined or tedious and time-consuming? Identifying and answering these types of questions will put your company on the path to improved candidate experience and ultimately better hiring outcomes.

The fourth significant area of measurement is a Candidate Experience Audit.

Conducting a Candidate Audit is essential. Why? Having a third party review your candidate experience by going through the process as a candidate will objectively expose areas for improvement.

Candidate Experience Audits, Candidate Surveys, establishing NPS, and gauging offer rate acceptance are all great tools for monitoring a company’s employer brand.

Our team at Core Executive Consultants offers a popular candidate experience audit to our clients that includes a review of the candidate attraction process through the eyes of a candidate. Among other things, this includes going through the application process as a prospective hire, with input from real candidates that fit your desired hiring profile and a review of the brand marketing strategy through the eyes of such a candidate.

These uncovered audit details could be decisive factors in getting a passive candidate to leave a current position or luring an active candidate weighing several job offers.

Things that we found useful to include in the Candidate Experience Audit

We include 7 items in the Candidate Experience audit running the gamut from Review of the Market Employer brand, testing application on various platforms, and gathering feedback on candidate experience. Things that should be gained through a successful candidate experience audit:

  • Suggestions for the Improvement of the Application Process
  • Identification of flaws in the application design and technology
  • Verification and suggestions for a mobile-friendly user experience

If you are interested in having us perform a candidate experience audit as part of your recruitment strategy, or just considering having a virtual call to discuss ways this could help with talent attraction, feel free to reach out,

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