How vital is candidate experience to a company’s recruitment marketing strategy? Look no further than a Talent Board study that listed the top three reasons candidates end the application process: disrespect of time (37 percent), poor recruiter rapport (32 percent), and length of the hiring process (29 percent).
Those numbers point to how pivotal creating a positive candidate experience is in attracting qualified, top-tier applicants. Candidates these days can be highly selective, exiting the talent funnel at the first sign of trouble. A customized, memorable experience keeps companies competitive and their talent pipelines brimming. Candidate experience should be a critical element of marketing your company and strengthening brand perception.
The candidate experience in recruiting should provide a picture of not only the duties and responsibilities of a role but also the culture, mission, and values of an organization. It should answer common questions: “What happens after I apply?” “When will I hear back?” “How many steps are involved in the hiring process?” It should set expectations and provide a realistic preview of how candidates move from one phase to the next in the hiring process.
A thoughtful, transparent, and candidate-friendly application experience can be a valuable part of any company’s marketing strategy. Finding the tools and tactics to round that approach into form is essential.
Creating a Positive Candidate Experience With Marketing
Even when you think you’ve perfected your candidate experience, perception doesn’t always match reality. A PricewaterhouseCoopers study found that 49 percent of candidates in high-demand fields turn down job offers due to a poor experience as an applicant.
Employing the right recruitment marketing strategies ensures everyone knows what to expect from the start. These tactics reduce any uncertainty or confusion during the critical stages of the candidate journey where talent can easily be lost. The right candidate marketing strategies also allow you to showcase why someone should choose your organization over other options.
You always want to build a foundation of trust with candidates. That’s what happens when you focus your marketing efforts on candidate experience. You develop a bond with those “right fit” candidates as they learn who you are as a business and why your company is the right fit for them.
How to Improve the Candidate Experience During Recruitment
Given all of this information, it’s natural to wonder how you can go about creating a positive candidate experience that will resonate with top-notch talent. Here are six places to start.
1. Spotlight the process in a variety of ways.
Not everyone consumes information the same way. And with that comes the need to vary the delivery format of essential information during the hiring process.
Besides telling candidates what to expect—both in the recruitment process and while on the job—consider incorporating educational content such as blog posts, infographics, and videos into your recruitment marketing strategy. A human-interest piece from an applicant’s perspective can also help pique the interest of potential hires and create a more marketable candidate experience.
Our company regularly features this type of content in our digital ads and on social media, educating while driving talent to our website.
2. Keep communication consistent during the process.
Clear and regular communication is essential to creating a positive candidate experience. As often as possible, keep talent informed on all subsequent steps and provide a rough estimate of the timing.
Let candidates currently in the queue know when to expect a response and consider communicating all pertinent information across different mediums. Email is an obvious choice, but you might also employ automated messaging, chatbots, and text messaging to be even more responsive while supporting the variety of communication preferences modern candidates have.
Many companies now use automated communication platforms, 24/7 live chat support, and help desk ticketing systems to meet the urgency people often feel during the application process.
3. Humanize the experience.
As the world gets more automated, it’s easy to lose that human element in our day-to-day interactions. Even when talent prefers to handle everything digitally, there are still opportunities for warmth and humanity within the candidate experience during recruitment.
Automation and other recruitment technology shouldn’t be reserved for only rare occasions, though. You can’t beat the speed and immediacy it affords your candidate engagement activities. But you still must ensure all messaging and visuals support your brand and effectively convey the culture candidates will be joining while building a relationship with your candidates. Each touchpoint is an opportunity to strengthen the foundation.
4. Leverage testimonials.
People trust people more than brands. If employee testimonials aren’t already part of your recruitment marketing strategy, you’re missing an opportunity to connect with job seekers on a more impactful level.
Share employee experiences with candidates, connect them with people on the floor, and never forget to capture feedback on the entire recruitment process to improve your candidate engagement strategies continually. You’ll never be able to spot any gaps if you fail to ask for this valuable feedback.
5. Customize the candidate journey.
Candidates are consumers. And like consumers, they want customized experiences during the recruitment process.
Make sure you have a solid candidate engagement platform. This allows you to tailor the experience to suit each person’s preferences. At the very least, choose recruitment technology that offers candidates a choice in the type and frequency of communication on job applications as well as career opportunities that fit specific criteria. The move will help in personalizing interactions and creating a positive candidate experience.
6. Align the candidate and employee experience.
The candidate experience should be a window into the employee experience. If one falls short, you’re doing a disservice to all parties involved—including your business.
Make sure talent truly experiences what it would be like to be an employee. We go as far as providing virtual reality job previews for many of our positions. This ensures candidates feel confident they know what to expect on day one. Conversely, make sure the employee experience matches all the pomp and circumstance of the candidate experience in the recruitment process.
Otherwise, people won’t stay. They’ll likely also spread the word, damaging your reputation with other potential recruits. Own all facets of your business and see it through from start to finish.
The importance of candidate engagement can’t be overstated. It requires time and attention to get it right. Even then, you might miss the mark a time or two. As long as you set clear expectations early in the process, stay in regular contact with candidates, and never lose the human side of your organization, you’re moving in the right direction.