Significance of a Great Candidate Experience

I am not a Human Resources guy…and yet, as an entrepreneur since over 20 years, I cannot help but observe the functioning of any company’s ‘support’ functions such as HR / IT / Admin. Since these form the backbone of any successful business it’s significant to keep these functions evolving over time.

One of the elements which many HR teams fail to pay close attention to is the ‘candidate experience’ – right from the time he walks in through the main gates to the time he leaves the premises. I have observed that often HR is so overwhelmed with so called ‘bulk-hiring’ / ‘deadlines’ etc. that it hardly can be bothered with the feelings of those candidates which it finds unsuitable to hire.

This is a sad picture indeed – and I am not talking from the perspective of such candidates, but from the perspective of HR itself.

For, to me, every job-seeker walking in through your company gates is a potential hire – if not now, then probably in future. Besides leaving a negative image of your company if not handled properly, you are losing out on several prospective ‘candidate pipelines’ through these ‘rejected’ candidates.

It is worthwhile to cultivate them. And therein lies the significance of imbibing a ‘super candidate experience’ from the HR department.

The basis of this starts with effective messaging. You need to be true in the image you are projecting of your company as job-seekers can ferret out inauthenticity easily. Ensure the picture you are projecting on your company website, social media channels and JDs are 100% accurate. A great way to do this is by launching a survey of what your current employees ‘feel’ about the company and the management in general; and also how was their ‘candidate experience’.

If the survey findings don’t match with what you are projecting it’s time for some serious shake-up!

Fine-tune your Hiring Process

Documentation – That’s where over 90% of the company HR fall short of miserably. And why? Just because you are inundated with more ‘important’ work or simply can’t spare enough resources?

Right from deciding who will be the first point of contact for the candidates, who will be coordinating, and on whom and when would the final interview results depend upon and communicated needs to be defined and documented along with the interview itself. Accountability must be clearly established – and not just of the Hiring Managers but junior executives as well.

This is crucial as it would not only streamline your HR department but help in HR data analytics. The findings may reveal that your Hiring Managers require training in the art of company branding.

Be Proactive

Designing and highlighting your employer brand to prospective candidates, and doing so often, at various touch-points of applicants’ history is another way to create a superb candidate experience. And yes, I am talking of even those candidates whom your HR has ‘rejected’.

Over 60% of candidates are not even communicated as to what happened with their applications / interviews. Start communicating with candidates you do not consider or do not select to stand out from competition and create a future pipeline to save hundreds of hours in your ever-going hiring process. This would go a long way in promoting your brand and setting you apart from the ‘run of the mill’ employers!

Get Personal

It is tempting to float template emailers to prospective candidates. But if you start customizing each email, believe me, it would create a lasting impact on the candidates as well as be a potential source of effective references.

Rejection doesn’t have to be the Last Word

It is tough to break the bad news. However, it is significant to let the candidate know without beating around the bush that he/she has not been selected. At the same time, notwithstanding the time factor, it is a great HR practice to give effective feedback to such candidates. For a rejection doesn’t necessarily mean you have to close the line of communication with them. Who knows, the next hiring drive you launch might see the same candidate getting hired, and even bringing in good references. This is called ‘candidate engagement’, which sadly many companies cannot be bothered with.

Be Accountable

The Hiring Manager as well as the entire recruitment team must be held absolutely accountable. One of the ways is to conduct an occasional survey of the candidates interviewed during the past few months and to ascertain and evaluate their candidate experience. Now, all this may sound too far-fetched from the time factor involved, but is actually a great way to measure your own HR’s sincerity and effectiveness in how they are projecting your brand to millions of candidates.

Also, ensuring 100% response rates to all applicants and in-person candidates, though sounding tough and time consuming, is another practice which would go a long way in setting you apart as a ‘valued’ employer and brand, as well as creating future pipelines of candidates.

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