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The potential positive and negative impacts of candidate experience

With businesses still having to work hard to compete for high-calibre employees, recruitment really has become a two-way process. It is not just about employers assessing and selecting the best candidate, it is about talented people assessing and picking the best employers.

Providing a positive experience will increase the likelihood of your preferred candidate accepting a job offer with your organisation over that of a competitor. They are also more likely to be engaged and invested to add value to your business from the outset. Any high calibre candidates who came through the journey, but were not successful on that occasion, will still view the organisation positively. They will be more motivated to reapply when an alternative position arises and, in the meantime, will be more likely to recommend the company to others, both as potential employees and as customers.

In contrast, a negative candidate experience will not only discourage your preferred candidate from choosing your organisation. It can also prevent top talent from applying in the first place, cause them to drop out of the recruitment process or result in them sharing negative perceptions with their peers. All of which puts organisations under increased pressure to successfully fill positions and may result in costly hiring mistakes.

At Pure, our expert consultants support clients to review their candidate experience and to make it engaging and positive for all involved. They also provide extra resources, time and expertise, which organisations may not have in-house, to provide the candidate investment needed to create a positive experience. Here are some of the core factors we advise clients to consider when reviewing their recruitment journey.

ARE ALL TOUCHPOINTS TRANSPARENT, STRAIGHTFORWARD AND ENGAGING?

From the outset, make sure candidates are given clear information and engaging reasons why they should consider working for your business. Are the job description and person specification comprehensive and informative, so people can easily decide if they are interested before they invest time applying? Is there transparent information about remuneration, benefits and perks? Have you provided, or directed candidates to easy ways to find out more about the organisation and its company culture, working environment and values?

Once you have secured interest, is the application process straightforward? While it is important to gather the important information needed to screen potential applicants, the process should not be complex and frustrating, or candidates may move on to apply for a different position.

The interview stages are one of the biggest opportunities to provide a positive experience. Are candidates given all the information they need in advance to feel prepared? Is the interview designed to ensure they feel challenged, and to show you care about finding the right person, while still creating a two-way process? For example, are there plenty of opportunities for candidates to find out more about the organisation, the people they would be working with and the career progression and development opportunities available?

IS THERE REGULAR COMMUNICATION WITH A PERSONAL TOUCH?  

If candidates are left waiting for updates, they are likely to become frustrated and they could also accept a different job in the meantime. Are candidates given a clear timeline of the recruitment process and regular updates throughout the journey? Do all candidates receive updates and feedback, even those not selected for an interview, or for the position itself?

In the age of technology, automated emails and responses may save time, but they are usually very generic and impersonal. Is there enough personal contact throughout the process to show genuine investment in candidates? Taking the time to regularly call or send personal emails shows real consideration and respect for the time candidates have invested in applying for the role.

IS THE RECRUITMENT PROCESS BOTH QUICK AND EFFECTIVE?  

If there is too long a gap between the applications being submitted, interviews and job offers, there is a real risk that organisations will lose out on the most highly sought candidates. Has time been set aside to ensure you can act fast, without rushing? Does the recruitment process only involve necessary processes needed for that specific role?

Making yourself available shows commitment and will demonstrate to candidates that you are eager to get them on board. Always remember that another organisation may have been able to meet someone on the Monday, do a second interview on the Tuesday and have made an offer by the Wednesday afternoon. Consider the recruitment process needed for each role and streamline it to remove any unnecessary stages which could increase the hiring time period and potentially make candidates feel they are having to jump through irrelevant hoops.

Once you have made your decision, it is still not the end of the journey or the candidate experience. Let everyone who took part in the final stages know the outcome as soon as possible, not just the chosen candidate, so no one is left waiting and wondering. Consider ways of keeping in touch with the high-calibre candidates who were unsuccessful on this occasion, so they feel encouraged to apply again in the future. Plus, begin regular communications around the onboarding and induction of your chosen candidate, so their positive perceptions continue throughout their notice period and into their new role.

With businesses still having to work hard to compete for high-calibre employees, recruitment really has become a two-way process. It is not just about employers assessing and selecting the best candidate, it is about talented people assessing and picking the best employers. Their experience as a candidate, at every stage of the recruitment journey, will influence the decisions they make.

Providing a positive experience will increase the likelihood of your preferred candidate accepting a job offer with your organisation over that of a competitor. They are also more likely to be engaged and invested to add value to your business from the outset. Any high calibre candidates who came through the journey, but were not successful on that occasion, will still view the organisation positively. They will be more motivated to reapply when an alternative position arises and, in the meantime, will be more likely to recommend the company to others, both as potential employees and as customers.

In contrast, a negative candidate experience will not only discourage your preferred candidate from choosing your organisation. It can also prevent top talent from applying in the first place, cause them to drop out of the recruitment process or result in them sharing negative perceptions with their peers. All of which puts organisations under increased pressure to successfully fill positions and may result in costly hiring mistakes.

At Pure, our expert consultants support clients to review their candidate experience and to make it engaging and positive for all involved. They also provide extra resources, time and expertise, which organisations may not have in-house, to provide the candidate investment needed to create a positive experience. Here are some of the core factors we advise clients to consider when reviewing their recruitment journey.

ARE ALL TOUCHPOINTS TRANSPARENT, STRAIGHTFORWARD AND ENGAGING?

From the outset, make sure candidates are given clear information and engaging reasons why they should consider working for your business. Are the job description and person specification comprehensive and informative, so people can easily decide if they are interested before they invest time applying? Is there transparent information about remuneration, benefits and perks? Have you provided, or directed candidates to easy ways to find out more about the organisation and its company culture, working environment and values?

Once you have secured interest, is the application process straightforward? While it is important to gather the important information needed to screen potential applicants, the process should not be complex and frustrating, or candidates may move on to apply for a different position.

The interview stages are one of the biggest opportunities to provide a positive experience. Are candidates given all the information they need in advance to feel prepared? Is the interview designed to ensure they feel challenged, and to show you care about finding the right person, while still creating a two-way process? For example, are there plenty of opportunities for candidates to find out more about the organisation, the people they would be working with and the career progression and development opportunities available?

IS THERE REGULAR COMMUNICATION WITH A PERSONAL TOUCH?  

If candidates are left waiting for updates, they are likely to become frustrated and they could also accept a different job in the meantime. Are candidates given a clear timeline of the recruitment process and regular updates throughout the journey? Do all candidates receive updates and feedback, even those not selected for an interview, or for the position itself?

In the age of technology, automated emails and responses may save time, but they are usually very generic and impersonal. Is there enough personal contact throughout the process to show genuine investment in candidates? Taking the time to regularly call or send personal emails shows real consideration and respect for the time candidates have invested in applying for the role.

IS THE RECRUITMENT PROCESS BOTH QUICK AND EFFECTIVE?  

If there is too long a gap between the applications being submitted, interviews and job offers, there is a real risk that organisations will lose out on the most highly sought candidates. Has time been set aside to ensure you can act fast, without rushing? Does the recruitment process only involve necessary processes needed for that specific role?

Making yourself available shows commitment and will demonstrate to candidates that you are eager to get them on board. Always remember that another organisation may have been able to meet someone on the Monday, do a second interview on the Tuesday and have made an offer by the Wednesday afternoon. Consider the recruitment process needed for each role and streamline it to remove any unnecessary stages which could increase the hiring time period and potentially make candidates feel they are having to jump through irrelevant hoops.

Once you have made your decision, it is still not the end of the journey or the candidate experience. Let everyone who took part in the final stages know the outcome as soon as possible, not just the chosen candidate, so no one is left waiting and wondering. Consider ways of keeping in touch with the high-calibre candidates who were unsuccessful on this occasion, so they feel encouraged to apply again in the future. Plus, begin regular communications around the onboarding and induction of your chosen candidate, so their positive perceptions continue throughout their notice period and into their new role.

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