According to Forbes, one of the biggest trends in the workplace for 2017 is going to be an increase in the improvement of the candidate experience. If you’ve been neglecting your applicant tracking process, now is the good time to get ahead of the curve. With access to the proper technology easier than ever, there is no reason your job candidates should have anything less than a painless, even enjoyable experience applying for employment at your company.
As an employer, you understand that most of the duties surrounding the hiring process involve sifting through the slew of unqualified candidates to find those few gems who will thrive within your company. Because of this, it’s easy to ignore that big group of “no’s” and focus solely on the potential “yes’s”. However, completely disregarding those that don’t score an interview can be detrimental to your company image. According to a recent study, 60% of job seekers have had poor candidate experiences. Of that number, 72% of them have shared their negative experiences with online employer review sites such as Glassdoor. If people are seeing that you’re treating your candidates poorly, they’re likely going to avoid applying for jobs within your company, and this greatly reduces your hiring pool. You never know what talent might fall through the cracks because you haven’t refined your application process.
So now that you understand why you should revamp your candidate experience, you have to learn how.
Refine your Application
Often times hiring managers will go years without updating, or even looking at, their applications, and that can be a major problem. I’m not suggesting you create a new application from scratch once a year, but reviewing it every so often is important. While you do so, consider it from the perspective of a new hire. Consider the length of the application process; if it’s too long you might have a number of otherwise qualified candidates decide not to apply because of the daunting process. Most of the time people are applying to dozens of jobs at a time, so making the process as smooth as possible will ensure you’re getting the most out of the application. If you prefer to have a longer application to weed out some of the candidates, consider adding a progress bar to the top of the application. This will make sure the applicant knows exactly how far they are into the process, while also making your application look more visually appealing.
Occasionally, certain businesses require additional steps that you won’t find on your typical application. If this is the case, consider creating a video that explains to your candidates how to complete it. Even if the process might seem straightforward to you, offering additional resources for your applicants to utilize, should they have any questions, is a great way to leave them feeling confident and comfortable while applying for a job with your company, at no cost to you.
Communicate Communicate Communicate
I can’t stress this enough. If every other element to the application process is flawless, but there is no communication, your candidates are going to walk away from your company with a bad taste in their mouths. There is nothing worse than putting significant time and energy into an application and interview, just to get ignored for weeks on end while waiting for an answer. I understand that the interview process can be long, but it is vital to communicate with every single person who submitted an application at every stage of the process. They should get an email when their application is received, a thank you email or phone call after each interview, and a personalized email or phone call for each rejection. If your business gets too many applications to personalize each rejection, a well-formatted stock email should suffice for only those applicants who did not qualify for an interview, especially if you brand them so it comes off as a personalized response. Considering nearly everybody has an email address, there’s really no excuse to have your candidates waiting to hear from you for longer than a few days. If you’re worried you’ll be too busy to remember to reach out, put the candidate in the driver’s seat by asking them to text, call or email you if they don’t hear back after a certain number of days.
Improve your Onboarding Process
Having an efficient onboarding process can do wonders to improving your candidate experience. During an interview process, it is their job to win you over, but once you’ve hired them it is up to you to convince them they made the right choice in taking the job. After all, organizations have the highest level of turnover during the first 90 days. The first few days should be a positive experience for them, and this is accomplished by having a refined onboarding process that will quickly assimilate the person into your organization. With a proper onboarding platform, you can have your new hire fill out all the necessary paperwork electronically, including direct deposit information, I-9s and W-4s, and whatever personalized documents you require such as key card release forms and your orientation packet.
If you’re serious about having the best possible application process, prepare a survey for your candidates to fill out after every job posting is filled. Perhaps not all those who you rejected will respond to a follow-up email asking for their opinions of your process, but it will leave them with an impression that you value their opinions, and that alone can do wonders. However, if you take the responses you do get seriously and take steps to improving the issues people are having, it can make the process of improving your candidate experience a breeze.
You can get some really valuable information from a short survey. If some candidates were confused about how to fill out the application, you know you should add more instructions (or even a video, as discussed above). If candidates express frustration on how long it took to hear back from you, you know to improve your communication skills. Surveys are a great way to learn what your applicants are thinking and can really help you refine your application process.
Introduce the Candidate to Current Employees
There are some other fun tips and tricks you can implement to make the application process more enjoyable for your candidates. Introducing them to the people they’ll be working with is a great way to show them the environment they’ll be working in if they get the job. This can be done during the final interview process by giving them a tour of the space in which they’ll be working, or else you can add a blurb to your application that introduces each employee in that department with a photo and a short bio. This is a great way to make your candidates feel at home even before they apply for the job. Additionally, if you choose to introduce the candidate to the current employees, you can ask them about their first impression and consider their input before making your final decision.
Consider it this way: say you have forty people apply for a clerical job within your company. You ask five of them to come in for an interview, and ultimately one of them is offered the position. That leaves thirty-nine people who took the time to fill out your application and, of those, four who came in to interview. Most of these people have friends and family who are interested in their experience, and that can affect both your company image and your future applicants. If I’m looking for a job at a company and a friend says “hey, don’t apply there, I did so a year ago and they never responded,” they’re missing out on me as a potential candidate. However, if that friend talks instead about how great the application process is, I’m that much more likely to apply. In the end, word of mouth is considered one of the best methods of marketing, and a lot of the people talking about your company are candidates who did not get the job. What do you want them to be saying?
Click below to learn how Dominion's Applicant Tracking can relieve you of some of these issues and improve your overall candidate experience!