Candidate Experience

Why Candidate Experience Starts Long Before the Application

Jan 19, 2022 - Cat DiStasio

The first step to conquering recruiting challenges in 2022 is embracing the new definition of candidate experience.

The next step is learning how to put this new definition into practice and pay more attention to what’s happening at the very top of your funnel, and fast.

There’s no time to waste, so let’s dive right into the strategies you can use to improve your candidate experience right from the start, and translate that improvement into better hiring outcomes.

Better Experience at the Top of the Funnel Means Better Results at the Bottom

The sad, simple truth is that you can’t hire top quality talent if they never enter your funnel in the first place. Improving the quantity and quality of candidates at the very top of your funnel is the most effective way to boost the quality of your hires. But how?

For starters, address the most common reasons candidates drop out before applying. Recent research indicates that job seekers won’t apply to an open position if they feel they lack the required experience (31%), education (30%), or technical skills (29%). You can resolve many of these concerns by paring down job postings to the critical requirements and making note of which skills or experience levels are ‘nice to have.’ If you’re upskilling new hires, especially for technical skills, be sure to include that in your job postings as well.

Next, get to optimizing (check out these great webinars to learn how!). Because we are currently living through the Great Resignation, it’s more important than ever to find effective ways to accelerate your recruiting pipeline and build a winning candidate experience, not just now but for long-term recruiting success.

Put Your Employer Brand to Work for You

Your reputation as an employer matters to candidates. Three-quarters (75%) of job seekers consider an employer’s brand before even applying for a job, according to LinkedIn. And CareerPlug found that more than a third (37%) of candidates said they’ve posted a negative review online after having a negative experience. So if you’re missing the mark on candidate experience, people you haven’t even engaged with yet will know about it—and make decisions about whether or not to move forward in the process with your organization based on what they’ve heard.

The good news is you can work to actively manage your employer brand. In many cases, you can give your employer brand a big boost by adding more content to your careers site and social media platforms, especially video content that is relevant to your target candidates. Using a recruiting chatbot on your job postings and careers site can also help if it asks job seekers the right questions. The messaging throughout your recruiting content matters a lot, too. Make sure you align your messaging with the needs and priorities of the candidate personas you hope to attract.

Another key strategy for strengthening your employer brand is to leverage employee advocacy. Encourage employees to boost your recruiting posts and share stories about what it’s like to work at such a great organization. LinkedIn research found that candidates trust employee stories three times more than recruiters when it comes to learning what it’s actually like to work at an organization. Delivering what candidates want is a surefire way to give them a great candidate experience.

Encourage Job Seekers to Engage Early

Do anything you can to engage with job seekers as early as possible—implement a recruiting chatbot, add a quick contact form to collect their name and email, and promote virtual events that are informational or educational on your social media and careers site. Many organizations are offering pre-application virtual events where candidates can learn about your organization, meet and greet company leaders, and hear employee stories—all of which compel them to invest the time in filling out your job application (which you’ve updated to keep short and sweet, right?). Combining these tactics gives job seekers options so their decision point isn’t simply “to apply or not to apply” but rather, “how do I feel comfortable engaging with this organization right now?”

The aim is to remove any hurdles for candidates, especially if they’re not ready to submit an application. Make it easy for candidates to add themselves into your talent pool by signing up for email job alerts, dropping in to a convenient virtual event, or engaging in an online chat with a recruiter. Creating a more consumer-oriented approach to your hiring process, especially before the application stage, gives you a better chance of capturing and engaging more candidates who are a great fit for your organization.

Don’t sleep on these early points of contact. Follow up with regular and relevant communication to keep candidates engaged and warm them up. Use the channel the candidate opted into (email vs text, for example), align your messaging to their interests and job search goals, and extend invitations to virtual events. All of these moves help you lay a solid foundation for building relationships that will pay dividends over time.

Candidate Experience Previews Employee Experience

Improving the candidate experience is key to landing top talent right now, and this isn’t a passing trend. This time marks a historic shift in the relationship between employers and potential hires, and candidates will have the upper hand for the foreseeable future. Talent acquisition teams that can anticipate candidates’ preferences and offer appealing options for engagement will be more successful in attracting high quality candidates and keeping them engaged throughout the recruiting funnel—all the way to the application and beyond.

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