(Second of a three-part series by GPP)
Candidate Experience is King! This relatively new HR buzzword ‘candidate experience’ is now an indelible part of the employer recruiting landscape. In the past, employers didn’t really worry about how a job candidate perceived their company’s hiring practice, but times have changed. With record low unemployment and record high job openings, if you want to attract top talent to your organization, you must make a job candidates experience a priority now. To get started, think about your target candidate audience the same way you define your customer target audience.
Understanding your ideal employee persona will help you tailor the candidate experience at every touch point along the candidate journey. As a Sr. HR Director and General Manager, I focused on attracting “the right” candidates and putting our best face forward from the very first candidate interaction to the last.
Here are my top 5 “Moments of Truth” touchpoints for employers:
- Website Reviews. Most of us don’t make a dinner reservation or book a hotel without reading reviews online, and the same applies to our job candidates. Prior to applying to work for your company, candidates have researched online reviews and visited your website to glean a hint of the company culture, mission, and vision. Review your online touch points to ensure your company presents consistent messaging across all platforms.
- Job Postings. Seeking a new position is time-consuming for job seekers, so make sure your job postings present a clear picture of the employee you want. An “About You” page or article is a great way to help the right candidates see themselves in the role. Be authentic and true to your company culture. You think your company is a great place to work, be sure to share that enthusiasm with others in your job postings. When a candidate says “I was sold on your company after reading the job posting” you’ll better understand the power and importance of this step.
- Communicate and Manage Candidate Expectations. Consistent messaging and timely communication is the next important step to consider. If you are using an Applicant Tracking System (ATS), start with your autoreply. Let them applicant know that you are thrilled to receive their application in a voice that aligns with your culture. Include expectations of what happens next. Explain when can they expect to hear from you, share your review process and include links to your careers page or social sites they can follow so they can continue to be excited about joining you. Above all else, make sure this email is not from the dreaded “email@example.com”. Give them the name of the talent professional that is in charge of that particular role.
- The Interview Process. Once the resumes have been reviewed and candidates have been selected for interviews, each candidate needs a clear vision of your company’s approach to hiring. Explain the recruiter's role, the interview process and how many interviews they will have. If there is an assessment test, will it be an in-person interview, phone or video-call? Some roles may take longer to fill, and candidates don’t necessarily mind a longer process as long as they are made aware and kept in the loop along the way. By sharing what to expect with candidates and maintaining communication, they are much more likely to have a positive experience overall and a favorable opinion of your company.
- The Hiring Manager & Interview Panel. While your talent team drives the process, when it comes time to meet the hiring manager or interview panel, this is another important touch point along the journey. Be sure that each person that will meet the job candidate is trained and aligned on providing a respectful and positive experience. A key factor noted by candidates in whether or not they had a positive experience was respect for their time and the preparedness of the interviewing team. Planning time to study resumes and preparing thoughtful questions prior to the interview is an important step. The reality is that few managers are fully trained interviewers and most overvalue their intuition and many ask inappropriate questions. Preparation will not only improve the candidate experience, but it will also ensure you are asking questions that will help you properly assess if the candidate has the core competencies required to do the job.
Redefining the candidate experience by considering your company’s touchpoints during the candidate journey will positively shape and strengthen your employer brand and ultimately hoist you into supreme ranks as an employer of choice for top talent.
Watch for CEA’s July newsletter for the third article focused on Becoming an Employer Attracting Top Talent.
Green Pail Partners is a consulting company whose mission is to support small to medium size businesses in nurturing employer brands for talent acquisition and retention. https://greenpailpartners.com/