r4The importance of candidate experience

At a recent event I attended, a survey by recruitment trade body, the Direct Employers’ Association (DEA) highlighted how a bad candidate experience in the recruitment process can have much greater consequences than previously thought. According to the figures, 76% of respondents to the survey felt they wouldn’t take a job offer if they’d experienced a bad recruitment process.  An overwhelming 82% also felt it would make them less likely to recommend the brand to friends or family because of an unpleasant hiring experience.

At a&dc we feel these results show it’s never been more important to design your recruitment process to give a valuable candidate experience. It should be remembered that job applicants are not just applicants; they’re potential future customers, clients, reviewers or could even be suitable for a different role in your organisation, so they should be treated with efficiency and respect.  So what should you consider when looking to create an enjoyable, yet robust candidate experience?

The recruitment process begins as soon as the candidate has made contact. Applicants will often be applying for other jobs at the same time so early recognition of their CV is important. It may seem easier to wait for all the CVs to finish rolling in but it’s vital to respond individually to each person. This strengthens an employer brand in the eyes of the applicant and presents an image of an organised and well run business.

Efficient screening early on can prevent taking forward candidates who are unsuitable for the role, saving both you and them time and money.  You may consider a self-selection tool, which could take the form of a questionnaire and/or a job preview right at the beginning of your process, which will help applicants develop a sense of their own suitability for the role and give them an insight into the brand straight away.

Using situational judgement tests (SJTs) as the next step of the screening process is an effective way of finding out if candidates have the basic skills required for the role and allows you the opportunity to provide feedback to unsuccessful candidates. You can also design SJTs so that they’re aligned with your company values and environment, providing a clearer picture of your organisation to the candidate.

The first interview is possibly the most important stage of the employment process, giving applicants and organisations the chance to meet face-to-face for the first time. This is an opportunity for the candidate to fully assess your company, so remember to present an image of your organisation that you’d like the outside world to see. The interview should be well structured and challenging and should be led by a trained interviewer. Candidates should also be offered the chance to ask questions of their own.

Following this stage we’d highly recommend you use an Assessment centre. This will provide you with the opportunity to observe a candidate’s behaviour when responding to work-based situations. It will also give you an opportunity to present a clear representation of your company brand as well as its main objective – to assess a candidate’s behaviour within the framework of the role they’re applying for. This delivers a realistic candidate experience and provides a detailed insight into their potential.

It’s also important that every individual has the same experience regardless of whether they get the job or not. All applicants should be given relevant feedback in a timely manner and offered the chance to comment on the process, as this can provide an effective way of determining whether you’re presenting an attractive brand to the outside world.

Don’t forget, the devil is the detail and the little things can be important when reviewing how you want your brand to be represented. Candidates should be properly briefed for any tests and situations they will face and should be offered assistance if needed. Just because you’re not hiring the applicant this time doesn’t mean you’ll never see them again and they will tell others if they’ve had a poor candidate experience. In an increasingly fast-paced world the gap between employer brand and company brand is shrinking and a bad experience could put potential consumers or clients off using your organisation in the future.

How do you enhance the candidate experience in your recruitment process? Let us know by commenting below.

November 25, 2013 in Recruitment