Most candidates are in a relationship and are yet looking out. It is complicated. How do you make sure that you tempt the right candidate not just to meet with you but engage and hopefully live in together?
It is a war for talent today. We all want to have great people in our company. Hence, it becomes doubly important to leave a lasting impression on the candidates. Giving a delightful candidate experience so they join your organization is not just a differentiator but fast becoming table stakes.
The first part of delivering a delightful experience is attracting candidates, the right ones. Then it becomes important to keep them engaged till they apply for one of your open positions. Recruitment marketing solves this and was covered in detail earlier. But, what next? What happens after they apply? Many a times, a candidate loses interest while you are busy evaluating them. It hurts especially after you make an offer and you lose that great candidate because they lost interest along the way.
Avoiding this poor end result is why the emphasis on candidate experience matters. And then, who wants to go through the pain of finding another equivalent talent all over again? A bad candidate experience directly hurts your organization’s talent brand. Especially, if the candidate was a referral of an employee. It then paints both the company and the employee in bad light. Hurts twice as much.
I find that it helps if we think about the recruitment process a lot like two people getting to know each other. Two singles ready to mingle. Attraction, the spark of interest, dating before deciding to spend the whole life together. A candidate’s lifecycle is also similar. It starts from the moment he/she sees your open position and ends when they are either on board or rejected. It has four stages and every stage demands different set of actions from recruiters. None of which can be ignored. One silly mistake and candidates are bound to fall off your talent pipeline.
Stage 1: First impressions
A guy and girl are seated in a bus. They are constantly exchanging glances. The guy is reading a book which the girl loves. The girl’s simplicity charms the boy. Both of them are equally interested to know each other more. But, what next? Will anyone make a move? Would making a move be different if they had met at a party? Would it change things if a friend would have introduced them? Or will they just share an awkward exit?
Similarly, in a recruitment process, we need to keep an eye out and analyze where the candidates hear about your openings and what caused them to make a move. This helps in categorizing processes that actually work for the recruitment process. We need to fix the awkward moment that makes them exit. Allow me to define “awkward”.
David: “Hey, I just clicked something on the career page and I’m lost.”
Julia: “I can’t seem to find the marketing job Kim told me about yesterday.”
This is exactly how candidates fall off. Why? Most career sites give a super frustrating candidate experience. It is tough to find a job especially when nobody is concerned about making the process easy.
Let us make it easy step-by-step. Begin by having a clean career site. Most companies make the mistake of assuming a good looking career site is easy to use. They are two different things. Your career site isn’t Facebook or Twitter. Stop asking people to sign up first. Include employee testimonials to give them a better idea. Share success stories, company goals and job perks. Make navigation easy. Keep the site user friendly and simple to understand. Allow them to easily search for a particular job and share it with their circle effortlessly. Mobile is our fastest medium to reach out to the world today. And according to Inc. Media’s article, 9 out of 10 job seekers will use mobile to search for jobs this year and almost 44% of the population will apply. Hence, creating a mobile friendly site is not just important but imperative.
All the talent that we are hiring today is easily accessible online and highly social. Yet, we limit the jobs to our currently crippled career site. Share them on different social media networks while making sure they land on the career site. That way, you have just gone out to where the candidates exist while not having to worry about multiple job experiences. You just have to focus on keeping one single page updated.
Stage 2: The date night
So, the guy finally made the move. A few chat messages later, they agree for a date and share a good time. They share the basics about their life. Imagine if the guy asked thousands of questions. Some very personal to disclose on a first date. The girl would have taken the exit door easily.
It’s a similar situation when the candidate finally shows interest and plans to apply. Imagine the pain of filling the long forms. Imagine the internet going down when they were about to hit apply. Long forms are annoying. They are the reason why candidates fall off your talent pipeline at an early stage. Keep it short and easy for them. Ask only that information which you will need to evaluate him/her for an interview. Stick to the basics- Name, Email, Contact number, primary skills and allow them to attach their resume. Keep it simple.
Stage 3: The getting to know each other phase
Now, the relationship is moving on a steady pace. They talk regularly, meet once a week, have fun. Communication on a daily basis makes things easier and their love and trust continues to grow.
Engagement between a recruitment and candidate is important to avoid a break up. It becomes more important when you have competition. The candidates are likely to choose a company that they are constantly in touch with. Communication doesn’t just include keeping them informed about their stage in the process. That’s hygiene. Communication is about building a relationship so there are less hurdles to tackle when you offer them the job. Share the inside of the company with them. Make them aware of how the company functions. Share more information about their role. Provide them with data that they can look up to when there are queries. A good recruitment software can be handy to automate some standard communication while you concentrate on executing newer relationship building strategies.
Stage 4: Let’s live in together!
After months, the guy and the girl finally agree to settle in together and start to look for apartments. Like every love story, they live happily ever after.
Today, so many of us lose top talent at the offer stage. If you follow Stage 1 to 3 perfectly, you too can experience the ever after happily by offering them the job. Most of them are likely to accept it. Post that, all you have to do is be straight and transparent while keeping it simple. Provide them what they deserve and close the process. Money isn’t the only motivator to work today. You can deal with negotiations by talking benefits and the growth in the company.
Now that they have accepted the offer, it’s time to concentrate on the post offer process. Traditionally, post offer includes documents, documents and documents. Let’s not make their first day in office so boring that they have second thoughts on their decision. Have somebody from their team talk to them about their experience. Don’t just introduce them to the cubicle, introduce them to people who are going to be around that same. A simple note on the desk that says “Welcome!” can also do wonders. Make them feel comfortable. Make sure their on boarding process is an experience they will remember and share happily.
It’s not you, it’s me.
Rejection sucks when it comes from a person that would be an ideal fit. Unfortunately, there’s nothing you can do about it if a candidate chooses not to come onboard. It’s best to wish them luck and give them a valuable feedback. You can always keep in touch by sharing the company's whereabouts. This also makes sure that the next time they are looking for a job, your company is considered. Company branding is also directly elevated if and when they share their experience.
To summarize, a delightful candidate experience is a crucial ingredient to tapping the next superstar.
I would love to hear your thoughts on what you do to deliver a special candidate experience. Do share them in the comments below.