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Candidate Experience and Recruitment Best Practices

Before the pandemic, companies were investing in their employment brand and the employee experience to di­fferentiate themselves in the most competitive talent market in decades. This included focusing on how job seekers encounter the company during the hiring process, an experience that could either reinforce or contradict their employer branding. With the pandemic shaking up the job market, disrupting office procedures (including recruiting), and reshaping interactions, focusing on the candidate experience is more important than ever.

From our proprietary talent behavior research and from anecdotal evidence shared by our recruiters, the plurality of job seekers said their experience as a candidate influenced their opinion of the company they were considering for employment. Whether you’re actively adding to your team or are filling your talent funnel in anticipation of hiring freezes thawing, pay attention to these candidate experience pitfalls to ensure your talent management strategy is successful.

Lack of Communication

Are you guilty of the infamous recruiting black hole? Applications filled out, resumes submitted – yet the candidate receives no acknowledgment. Emails and phone calls go unanswered. Does this unresponsiveness reflect your company culture? If anything, the pandemic requires over-communication, and more of the human touch. Despite high unemployment, talent for the most in-demand roles (especially in marketing and digital jobs) are being courted actively. Don’t lose out on talent because your competition is more responsive. Also, with talent increasingly anxious about job switching during uncertain times, a lack of responsiveness can deepen doubts that a candidate may have about job security at your organization.

Excessively Long Recruitment Process

The trend over the last several years has been that the time to convert candidates to employees is expanding. This is due to more testing, interviews, reference, and background checks. Have you audited your process for time drains? If anything, that fact that we are all more easily accessible as we shelter in place and work from home, moving the process along should be easier than ever. Pandemic or not, fast moving employers scoop the cream of the talent crop.

Too Many Interviews

Of course interviews are critical in getting the right fit both skill-wise and culturally. But are you being strategic about who the candidate should meet with and why? Have you updated your virtual interview process to meet today’s job market needs? If the process is repetitive, disorganized, burdensome, and perhaps even disrespectful of the candidate’s time, it’s probably a turn off. Are you being considerate about the use of Zoom versus phone? A pandemic side effect is Zoom pressure and fatigue. When is appearing on video absolutely necessary, and when can a phone call suffice?

Application Took too Long to Fill Out

When’s the last time you took a moment to fill out your own company application? What’s the laptop experience versus mobile? Are you inadvertently weeding out great candidates because the process is cumbersome and frustrating?

Disproportionate Amount of Work Samples Required

Work samples and homework assignments help verify qualifications and skills. But keep in mind quality over quantity, and be aware of the time and effort required of the candidate. Might homework assignments be misperceived as giving knowledge work for away free? Can work samples be shared easily virtually, or is the request burdensome on the candidate? Being more considerate of time, effort, and health security to fulfill such requirements makes a big impression on job seekers. If you must have these items completed, over-communicate their purpose and how they will be used to evaluate the individual’s candidacy. Reserve these requirements for those professionals with the greatest chance of landing the role.

Reference or Background Check Took too Long

References are necessary, but don’t let an ineffective reference process plug up your talent funnel or snuff out candidate interest. This might be a good time to review your approach and become more strategic about your use of references. Background checks are always important, but slowdowns give your competitors an edge at the finish line. Prepare candidates for this step to avoid incomplete or poorly organized information. Revisit the types of checks required, and the depths you’re probing, or how late in the process you initiate these. Or maybe it’s time to change a slow-moving background check service provider?

With each of these potential pitfalls, one way to make them seem less cumbersome, is to continually communicate – update, provide feedback, offer timelines, and clarify the step’s purpose. Keeping candidates engaged, informed, and prioritized will create a lasting impression, whether they join your company or not. For more hiring insights, click here.