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Candidate experience can make or break your recruitment strategy. While a positive candidate experience can help you win them over, a poor candidate experience can just as easily cause you to lose them—even if you’re offering the highest salary. In this article, we’ll help you get started on creating a great candidate experience—no matter your budget.
What Is Candidate Experience?
Candidate experience is such a hot topic in human resources that you might think it’s a brand-new concept. Although the term might be new, the concept isn’t.
Candidate experience can be described as a series of first impressions made by the employer on a candidate for employment. More specifically, it’s how the candidate feels and the opinions they form about an employer based on their interactions with that employer in recruitment and onboarding. It encompasses every aspect of their experience from application to their first weeks of work.
These interactions come in many forms. Some common interactions that impact candidate experience include:
- The application process
- Email communication
- Online presence, such as the company website
- Recruitment and onboarding software
- On-site visits
- Interview processes
- Onboarding training
- Career fairs
- Job offer letters
- Job offer negotiations
- Rejection letters
Benefits of a Great Candidate Experience
Some of the most important benefits of creating a positive candidate experience include:
- Successful recruitment. Building a great candidate experience during recruitment improves two important aspects of recruitment: attracting qualified applicants to create a competitive candidate pool, and securing top candidates during the offer phase of recruitment.
- Positive workplace culture. A great candidate experience in recruitment and onboarding sets the right tone for each new team member by helping them understand your company culture and expectations.
- Better company reputation. Company reputation is paramount to attracting and keeping the best employees. Almost all companies place a great deal of effort into creating a positive impression of the company throughout recruitment.
- Higher retention rates. The first few months of employment are extremely important for retention rates. A positive candidate experience, particularly during onboarding, will help employees feel they belong.
30% of job applicants say they’re very likely to refer others to apply to the company after having a positive candidate experience—even though 90% of them were rejected for the role
How to Get Started Creating a Positive Candidate Experience
Because there are so many elements to candidate experience, it’s hard to know where to start. If you’re feeling this way, you’re not alone. We’ve put together a list to help you break down candidate experience so you can build it back up in a way that works for you.
Step 1: Take Inventory of Your Current Candidate Experience
Candidate experience involves many aspects of recruitment that are likely already in place. So, before implementing any changes, first determine where your company’s recruitment process currently stands.
To do this, start by considering the following questions:
- Is your career page easy to find on your company website?
- What does your career page say about you?
- What’s your social media presence like?
- Do your job descriptions describe who you are as an employer, not just as a company?
- Is your applicant portal easy for candidates to navigate?
- Do your recruitment email templates reflect your company culture?
- Do you use any communication methods with candidates other than email?
- How do you schedule interviews and what are they like?
- What do you do for candidates when they come for on-site visits? Do you take them out to lunch or host meet-and-greets? Do you have tours of the headquarters or the town?
- Do you have onboarding software that eases the paperwork load for new employees?
You can also reach out to recent hires and your recruitment team for feedback on the topics mentioned in the above questions.
Step 2: Make Your Career Page Visible and Welcoming
If your careers page is hard to find, you might be losing candidates who simply aren’t willing to search through your company website to find the job postings. So, before making any changes to your career page, make sure it’s easy to find. The best way to do this is to add it to your website’s primary menu or your footer menu. Your career webpage should also be easy to navigate. It shouldn’t take many clicks for an applicant to get from the company home page to a list of job openings.
The most successful career pages provide meaningful information about the company as an employer, not as a service provider or product developer. The webpage should answer questions like, “What is it like to work for this company?” and “Why should I work here?”
Step 3: Build an Online Presence Through Social Media
Social media accounts are a great way for employers to communicate with potential candidates. Today, there are so many different platforms that you may have to choose which ones to prioritize. As of this writing, the largest social media platforms include Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Other platforms include Snapchat and TikTok, and more will certainly hit the market in the future.
Here are just a few ways you can improve candidate experience through social media:
- Advertise job openings
- Describe the perks of working with your company
- Highlight employee journeys
- Profile leaders in your company
- Advocate for a positive work environment
- Post achievements that your workforce can celebrate together
Step 4: Post Job Advertisements, Not Job Descriptions
Job advertisements and job descriptions are not the same. Job descriptions are official documents used to describe the position requirements and responsibilities in detail. On the other hand, job advertisements are meant to sell applicants on a job opening.
Advertisements should be exciting, concise, and easy for any qualified applicant to understand. However, both advertisements and descriptions should include the same minimum and preferred qualifications.
Step 5: Invest in HR Software
HR software improves candidate experience in recruitment and onboarding by automating many aspects of the process so your candidates know what to expect at every stage of the recruitment and onboarding process. HR software also helps by creating more time for your team to build connections with candidates and new employees.
Not sure what kind of software you need? Check out Eddy HR’s recruitment-focused software suites:
Three Organizations That Treat Candidates Right
Here are some organizations that are doing a great job creating a positive candidate experience in recruitment and beyond.
Kohler Knows How to Advertise Jobs
Kohler has one of the best LinkedIn feeds out there. You’ll notice that their headline says nothing about their product. This is because everything about their profile emphasizes their identity as an employer, not as a kitchen and bath company. Their job advertisements also make sure to describe the position as an opportunity and end with a section titled, “Why Work at Kohler?”
Salesforce Designed Their Website for Candidates
Salesforce has long been regarded as one of the top tech companies to work for in the United States, and their website shows why. In addition to having an excellent careers page, Salesforce created a values page and an impact page to speak to what Salesforce does for their workforce and for the community. All three pages attract potential candidates looking for a flexible, philanthropic workplace who share the company’s values.
REI Wants Candidates to Know They Stay True to Their Brand
REI famously built a state-of-the-art headquarters in Seattle, WA, only to announce months later that they were moving to a fully remote workforce. This move drew attention for many reasons, one being that it showed that REI prioritized flexibility for their employees. Their candidate experience wins because they advertise the same message—that “a life outdoors is a life well lived”—to both their consumers and their employees. See it for yourself.”
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Questions You’ve Asked Us About Candidate Experiences
Natasha is a writer and former labor and employment attorney turned HR professional. Her experience as a litigator and HR trainer inspired her to begin writing about anti-discrimination laws in the workplace. As a writer at Eddy HR, she hopes to provide helpful information to both employees and HR professionals who need help navigating the vast world of human resources. When she’s not writing, you might find her cheering on the Green Bay Packers or hiking in the Northwoods of Wisconsin.