Putting a Plan in Action
If you’ve read Pt. 1 of our Candidate Experience series, you’ve gained an understanding of your organization’s current candidate experience. Now you’re wondering what steps you should you take to improve it? Well, this answer could be different for varying organizations based on how good or bad your experience is. The best way to map this out, however, is to focus on the different steps of the candidate journey and decide which of these is a priority.
There are various candidate funnels out there that companies have created. But at TMP, we like to think of the candidate journey in terms of three core steps: 1) Attracting the candidate; 2) Informing the candidate; 3) Converting the candidate into a great hire. These aren’t necessarily listed in order of priority, but can help give you an idea of some of the things you can adapt and consider for each step of the way.
Attracting the Candidate
Some companies do this stage very well, but fail once they get to the convert state. However, some of the most important things to look out for are no different than any other top-of-funnel exercise. When it comes to your attraction strategies, it’s very important to make sure that the messages you are putting out are in line with the realities of the job. You need to find the balance between overselling and underselling the opportunity. If you are not aligned with the realities of working at your organization, you are going to have poor retention and have drop-off further out in the process.
You also want to make sure you are targeting the right audience with your messages. If your recruiters are e-mailing candidates on a larger scale for high-volume call-center roles from a job boards’ database, they may not want to broadly target resumes with the word “customer” in them. They may be inadvertently targeting a web developer who works on “Customer Relationship Management” systems or an executive who is an expert in “Customer Experience.” With this phase of the process, targeting the right candidates is essential because you will automatically put off a candidate with the wrong message, and they may not consider your organization down the road.
Another factor to consider is the ease of responding to your advertisements. It’s important to make it as easy as possible to respond to your ads. If you are utilizing off-line advertising, send the candidates directly to the jobs. If you are posting on a job board, don’t send the candidate back to the home page to do their job search again. These little missteps can harm your experience and the effectiveness of your attraction efforts.
Informing the Candidate
Once you’ve attracted the candidate, how do you effectively inform their decision? A core part of this is your online footprint once the candidate begins their research. This can span from the information on your careers site to your job description to the profile on Glassdoor.
The job description is an important aspect of the candidate decision cycle. An effective description can help you push that great candidate across the finish line or even weed out the poor candidates that can waste your recruiters’ time.
TMP has worked to develop “Talent Brew Advanced Job Descriptions,” which aim to give a rich and informative experience to the candidate before they decide to convert. For some of our clients, their goal is to increase applications, and for others it is to improve candidate quality by creating a better-informed and educated candidate while weeding out the underqualified ones. This rich job description experience is similar to the experience customers get when they book a hotel online, with a lot of pertinent information easily at the candidate’s finger tips.
Converting the Candidate
This is one of the most important and robust areas of the candidate experience. If you are unable to effectively convert that candidate into a hire, the hard work you are putting into the other areas of the candidate experience will be diminished. A great employer brand and talent attraction program with a poor application and hiring process is the equivalent of pouring water into a bucket with many holes.
Many organizations find themselves exerting a high amount of effort in sourcing activities to get more candidates, when they are not properly utilizing the candidates they have, and losing many candidates along the way due to various process flaws. This is a vicious cycle and can be very costly to an organization, not only due to the extra expenses on sourcing activities, but also the harm in brand equity and potential loss of customer revenue.
In this step, there are definitely a lot of pieces to the puzzle. This can span from the application itself, all the way to the specific steps and statuses the candidate is assigned to. To help give you an idea of what to look for, we’ve put together a quick hit list of the most important, immediate actions you can take to improve your candidate experience:
Reduce the amount of unnecessary information you collect from candidates. Make it easy and painless.
Ensure the candidate assessments are effective in identifying top talent. No one wants to fill out a second application, so make sure this is worthwhile for the candidates and your organization.
Ensure the brand quality and look/feel of your application matches your attraction efforts. Nothing is worse than a great-looking career site that drops you off at an application that looks like it was from the ‘90s.
Ensure your application is mobile-friendly. Even though more job seekers browse on mobile then apply, not having this functionality makes your organization appear outdated.
DO NOT robo-reject candidates. The instant feeling of rejection and the obvious feeling that a recruiter did not even look at your resume leads to a very poor experience.
Audit Your ATS auto-replies. A lot of these can be robotic and poorly written. Write like you are talking to the candidate. And make sure you are communicating consistently.
Train your recruiters on Employer Brand. When your recruiters talk to the candidates, they should be aligned on the right messaging and positioning of your company. The candidate’s expectations should be on par with what they’ve learned before they talk to the recruiters. And they don’t want surprises.
There are numerous other aspects of the candidate experience that I haven’t covered in this article. And as an industry, we all have a lot of work to do. But remember that this is truly a journey, and improvements will come over time. So for now, I hope this can help kick-start your efforts as you start championing candidate experience within your organization.