Creating a Good Candidate Experience

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If you want to hire good people, give them a good candidate experience.

Your employees and your company’s reputation are among your organization’s most valuable resources, if not the most valuable resources. You want to attract top talent. To do that, you want candidates to have a good impression of your people and your company, from their first contact with your company to the last. In other words, you want to create a good candidate experience.

Why? For several reasons. It helps establish your company brand and it reflects on your corporate culture. If potential hires have had a good experience, they will be more likely to accept a job offer from you if one’s extended. And even if it’s not, they still will think well of you, and perhaps refer and encourage their peers to apply to your open jobs in the future. Word spreads powerfully and quickly through social media and networks, and a single bad experience can be public poison. As the saying goes, “You don’t get a second chance to make a first impression.”

Here’s how you can create a good candidate experience:

  • Be clear in the job description what you are looking for, and convey it in a positive tone. Then walk the walk. If you’re looking for someone with great attention to detail and good writing skills and you have typos in the job description, you have an immediate credibility problem.
  • Manage expectations all along the process. If applicants are applying online, quickly acknowledge receipt of the application and let them know what next steps are and the approximate timing. Once you interview a candidate, do the same thing. Then adhere to the schedule or proactively explain why things have changed. No one likes to be ignored. Everyone deserves closure. When rejecting a candidate, be respectful.
  • If you are working with a recruiter, hold them to the same standards. In essence, they are your ambassadors and salespeople. Their professionalism reflects on your company, so they need to be clear with prospective employees about the job requirements, the culture, compensation, and timeframe for what happens next, and communicate those openly and honestly.
  • Remember, attitude matters. Create good will wherever you can. Your company and the employees should not be conveying to prospective employees, “you need us more than we need you.” If a candidate is left to feel they were one of the anonymous masses who meant nothing to your company and that applying was a waste of their time, then they will feel your company means nothing (or worse) to them.
  • The actual person-to-person interviews are the candidates’ best window into what your company, their co-workers, and the job would be like. Is the reception area pleasant, was the receptionist welcoming? Did the interviews start on time? Did the interviewers represent the company well? Were they familiar with the candidate on paper and have good questions prepared, or did the interviewer first scan the resume while in front of the interviewee and then wing it? Both the interviewers’ and interviewees’ time is valuable; make the most of it.
  • Ask questions of your employees, recruiters, and candidates about how the experience could be improved. Then commit to making improvements. It costs little to nothing to create a good candidate experience, but the price for not creating one could be steep – missing out on the best talent, getting bad reviews on social media, and creating ill will, and lost revenue.

The days of companies holding all the cards when it comes to recruiting and hiring are gone. Top talent is in high demand, and if you’re not making a good impression, you could lose out on finding that perfect fit. At Mankuta | Gallagher, we’ve been cultivating employer and candidate relationships since 1994. Contact us to see how we can help you make the most of your recruiting experience.  ~