Candidate Experience Matters
“Candidate experience” is a term that we’re seeing a lot of in the recruitment, hiring, and HR spaces right now, and we’re hearing it for a reason. There is a lot of competition for the top talent out there in every field, and one big way that employers can gain that competitive edge is through how they treat candidates leading up to a hiring decision.
The candidate experience can begin with how a job post is written, where it’s advertised, and how the application process works. The key to creating a great candidate experience is to really put yourself in the shoes of the people you’re trying to attract.
Don’t let the job description turn into a pie-in-the-sky wish list of skill sets and qualifications. Keep it simple and easy to read, and include some reasons why your ideal candidate would want to work for you in the first place. Choose where and how you advertise your openings carefully. Think like a marketer, about whom you want your message to reach, where they are most likely to see it, and whether or not your posting venue fits with your image as a company.
And finally, don’t put the applicant through a long, tedious and frustrating 20-page form to fill out, followed by 20 more pages of screening questions. Would you enjoy that process? How would going through that affect what you think of your prospective employer? There’s also the chance you run the risk of alienating or even screening out the right candidate when you put them through an onerous process like that, which can reflect badly on your employer brand.
Recruiting Isn’t a Science
At least, it isn’t just a science; there is an art to it as well. There are things you can screen for, and there are things you can’t categorize as easily. You can use technology to match specific skills to specific job requirements, but soft skills and personality traits are harder to quantify.
You may find the perfect candidate on paper, with all the right qualifications, and then discover he or she is a complete mismatch when it comes to fitting in with the workplace culture. Recruitment can also be about building and maintaining relationships over time, not to mention corporate branding and providing that good candidate experience.
Good recruitment strategies are a balancing act between art and science — using proven strategies as well as taking into account the more intangible aspects of qualifying candidates and getting to know them as people.
Hiring for Attitude, Training for Skill
Hiring someone with all the right skills and hoping that the right personal traits or attitudes will appear can result in disaster. More often than not, if a new hire doesn’t work out, it’s because of attitude rather than lack of skill.
The right personal traits, like flexibility or willingness to collaborate, can be as important if not more so than the perfect skill set. Again, it’s a balancing act between the soft skills and the hard skills that a candidate has to offer.
One method is to look at previous examples you’ve seen of employees who have thrived in your company, figure out what traits or abilities helped them to do so, and then look for those elements in candidates.
The bottom line is that recruiting and hiring are not simple processes by any means, but it can be effective, successful, and even pleasant for all involved when the right strategies are used. So keep these three nuggets of wisdom in mind as you prepare for your next round of hiring:
- Treat the candidate well by honestly considering his or her perspective.
- Both the “art” and the “science” of recruiting are constantly evolving and need to balanced.
- Hiring for attitude and training for skill can have a significant impact on the long-term costs of hiring.