Approximately 60% of job seekers report having a poor experience while applying for work1. This negative impression can be a deep and lasting one, with 83% of candidates reporting that a poor applicant experience can change their minds about a role or company they once admired2.

Perhaps even more alarming for employers: they do not keep their feelings to themselves. Of those who reported having a poor candidate experience, 72% share their opinions on employer review websites or with friends.

The damage may not be confined to the employer brand. For many organisations, their candidates are also their customers. Alienating would-be workers has the potential to affect future sales.

Fortunately, a few simple changes can dramatically improve your recruiting process and applicant satisfaction. Implement these eight essentials into your selection process to ensure your organisation provides a positive candidate experience.

1. Communicate throughout the process

Here is a common scenario: Alex is eager to join a certain company and applies enthusiastically. He submits his CV, answers all the application questions, and completes the required online tests in a prompt manner. He even completes an interview and leaves thinking it went pretty well. Then nothing - days turn into weeks, there is zero communication, no engagement and no decision. Finally, some weeks later, he gets an offer. However, it is too late. Alex has accepted a job with a different company.

You can avoid this scenario by carefully planning your application process to include communication at key touchpoints. Share your likely timeline with applicants upfront and never keep them in the dark.

2. Embrace the power of personalisation

Job candidates are more than just files and test results – they are individuals and should be treated as such. Grab any opportunity you have to personalise your communication with candidates. Technology has made this easier than ever before, even in high-volume applicant pools.

You will also want to carefully consider the words that you use when turning down applicants.

These tips can help take the sting out of rejection letters:

  • Thank the candidate warmly and authentically.
  • Provide a reason for the rejection (e.g. timing, experience, competencies).
  • Leave the door open for the future.
  • Give them a personal take-away: Tell them something they did well in the application process or find a strength to feed back to them.

Finally, rejection does not have to mean goodbye forever. Make sure your communication plan includes a path to maintain a relationship with people you have chosen to not bring into your organisation. Some organisations design campaigns to maintain a connection with those not selected, such as developing an applicant community online or awarding loyalty points for referring the company to their friends and family as a potential employer.

The point here is to make sure that unsuccessful applicants maintain a positive view of the company - even though they are not the right fit for a particular role at that time.

3. Mix the right amount of fun into your candidate experience

Your recruitment process should be engaging, but that does not mean it should be frivolous. Primarily you want your candidates to view the application process to be professional and fair. 

You might be tempted to include games within the candidate assessment process. However, from the candidate’s perspective, games are not always viewed as appropriate in a high-stakes recruitment process.

Instead of playing games, perhaps incorporate gaming elements into your psychometric testing. This winning formula is perceived as being engaging and also delivers reliable candidate insight.    

Research3 shows that the most positively perceived gamification elements of talent assessments are:

  • Completing interactive challenges that unlock different levels.
  • Receiving immediate feedback.
  • Feeling that they’re being taken seriously by the organisation.

Seek out these elements in gamified assessments.

4. Show candidates the job

How can you hope to secure the best candidates for the job when they do not know what the job is?

A great candidate experience will include a realistic job preview, real-life employee stories and an assessment process that reflects what is important to the business.

Realistic job previews showcase the company and can be ‘scored’, giving instant feedback to the candidate. Those candidates who do well are encouraged to continue with their application. Those who do not do so well can be given tips on what other roles may be more suitable or offered suggestions on skills they may want to develop.

These features can also be built into the actual assessment process. For example, you can use situational judgement tests based on real-world scenarios. You can also include sector-specific ability tests and personality questionnaires.

5. Respect applicants’ time

Modern psychometric testing offers the opportunity to gather more information from applicants early in the selection process. The danger is that extending this stage of the process could lead to strong candidates losing interest.

Once you have mapped out your application and selection processes, time them from start to finish. Make sure the instructions and information all flow together. Above all, design them to move along as quickly as possible while still providing the information you need to make a decision.

The following tips can help tighten up your assessment timeline:

  • Adopt psychometric tests that have been developed using technology to make them as short as possible. Some robust tests can provide an accurate measurement within a few minutes.
  • Integrate all of your assessments, online questions and candidate data together into your ATS or HRIS so that candidates log in at a single screen.
  • Choose talent assessments that are mobile-enabled. That way, applicants can complete them at a time and location that suits them.

6. Differentiate the candidate experience

Your candidates are likely applying for jobs at multiple potential employers. If you want to stand out, you will want to provide a candidate experience that is as unique as your organisation.

Here are a few ways other innovative companies have found ways to stand out:

  • Present robust psychometric assessments, such as a messaging app. Rolls-Royce and Deloitte both use this format of talent assessment to provide an exciting candidate experience.
  • Abandon the paperwork in your assessment centres. Do away with endless printouts of candidate exercises – and assessor notes. The company Nationwide did this, and the candidate feedback was great.
  • Consider video interviewing. Ask candidates to film their responses to a few key questions.

7. Be transparent

No-one wants to work through a selection process in which we have no idea how we are being measured or judged.

Explain throughout the candidate journey why you have included the assessments or questions. Candidates expect you to know how the competencies or skills being measured impact the success of future performance.

Remember, it is just as important for the candidate to make their own evaluation of ‘fit’ as it is for you.

8. Give – and ask for – feedback

Design your selection process to provide feedback to candidates. Incorporate candidate feedback reports into your systems or provide instant on-screen feedback. This underscores the respect that you have for all applicants.

Provide constructive and action-oriented feedback. Research by LinkedIn2 found that candidates are four times more likely to consider your company in the future when offered constructive feedback.

Finally, ask for feedback on your own process. When it is given, take action and make changes to improve future candidate experience.

Call us to talk about how you can improve your candidate experience for your recruitment.

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