Have you applied for a job recently and had any of the following occur;

  • Applied for a job and it takes 30+ minutes, then the system crashes and you start over!
  • Applied via an on-line system and never heard anything from the employer past the automated “thank you” email?
  • Completed a phone interview, only to never hear from the hiring company again?
  • Been in shock and awe over the lack of information about the companies jobs/benefits/progression model on the companies “career page”.

I could go on and on but you get the picture.  I am talking about is your experience with a hiring company, your “candidate experience”.  So why do some companies (and many big name ones) continue to suck at providing a positive experience to candidates?  Here is my humble opinion on how recruiters and human resource professionals can create a positive candidate experience and set yourself apart.

1.  Realize the experience begins before the candidate applies;

  • Test your systems and experience what your candidate’s experience.  Does it take 30 minutes to go through the process?  Will the system “hang up” when you are uploading a resume?
  • Ensure all job postings are active jobs, so when candidates apply, they are applying to real jobs i.e. not getting their hopes up for jobs that have already been filled.  There is nothing worse than applying for a 3 day old job and hearing that it is closed….REALLY???
  • Make sure your jobs are easy to find on your website.  Here is a challenge; get with your marketing department or webmaster and utilizing web analytics determine the most visited page(s) on your domain.  In most cases it will be the jobs/careers page; therefore shouldn’t it be the most user-friendly (and in my opinion the easiest to find)?

2.  Have an interview process that works!

  • Make it simple and communicate the full process to candidates.
    • A recruiter/HR call (YES phone call, not a canned email) should take place.
    • Technical / special skills interview next and lastly on-site interviews.
    • Rarely should a candidate be required to return or have 3 phone interviews
  • Human Resource; Please own this process!  There are definite requirements such as applications forms, background consent forms etc….these must be provided and discussed in a timely manner, preferably prior to the on-site interview.
  • Document your process and be certain that everyone understands and follows it!

3.  Timely and honest communication about a candidates status.

  • Provide feedback IMMEDIATELY.  Candidates should not have to wait for feedback past 3 days!  If your feedback is “we are still interviewing” then tell them, consistently!
  • Hand in hand with the statement above, wrap up your interviews in a timely manner.  If you are your hiring manager is seeking “100% of the skills”, well this just may not exist.  It is the job of recruiters and HR to educate hiring managers on the available talent pool.

4.  Orientation MUST be utilized as a marketing tool.

  • Well you are not getting off that easy, once the candidate is hired; make sure their positive experience continues.
  • All systems, paperwork and documentation should be provided in an easy to use fashion, personalized and timely.
  • Orientation is the key, and within the first week the employee will decide, “I made the RIGHT choice” or “Did I make a make the right choice”?
  • Use this time to discuss/address the new employee’s positive and negative experiences with your process; remember your goal is to make your hiring process the BEST process.

5.  Exiting employees are still part of the process.

  • Yes, a voluntary departure has HUGE marketing implications.  You need to understand WHY someone starting looking for a new job (not just “why they are leaving”)!
  • Be courteous, kind and address the positive and negative impressions of the company.  Ask the question; “Would you refer a friend or relative to work here” WHY? (ask why if the answer is yes OR no).

There is much more to this process, I only have touched on the tip of the iceberg.  The bottom line, make sure candidates are treated the way you would want to be treated.  Conduct surveys to better understand how your candidates, employees and ex-employees feel about your process.  Set your pride aside and fix any identified issues, but take great joy in your positives and make sure they continue!

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