Recruiting is made up of a million different moving pieces. Literally. And they’re not linear either; they constantly loop back and in on themselves. Some of them help with talent attraction. Some do the heavy lifting of recruitment itself. And others help us with the final stages of the hiring process.

These pieces don’t have to operate in perfect harmony because that just doesn’t exist. But to strive for peak efficiency is key, even if it means only focusing on two to three areas your team can improve today. This kind of harmonic efficiency is only possible when the right technology, systems, people and processes are in place.

Without this critical infrastructure, recruiting would grind to a halt. Tapping into today’s richest candidate channels would be almost impossible, and we wouldn’t be able to build robust candidate relationships and pipelines or effectively track and manage the million-and-one details inherent in recruiting. And that great candidate experience we’re all working so hard to deliver? Without the right infrastructure and processes that are tested and measured and adjusted, that isn’t happening either.

In fact, one of the best ways to raise the bar on your candidate experience is to relentlessly monitor and improve your overall recruiting efficiency. Because that’s what you should be doing anyway, and by doing that, you’re effectively raising the bar for your candidates (and your teams).

The Importance of the Big Picture

Recently at one of our spring candidate experience workshops (that still have seats available for the upcoming ones here), talent acquisition leaders and their teams were talking about the application process and how they’ve reduced the number of questions and fields. But before they did so, they ensured the back-end screening, assessments and dispositioning communications were in place via their technologies and processes. Otherwise it becomes a hot mess that just lets lots of unqualified candidates in the door.

Capital One, a multi-year Candidate Experience Awards winner, is a perfect example of a company whose focus on the big picture of overall recruiting efficiency has helped to reinvigorate its candidate experience.

It simplified its digital engagement for candidate exploration by rolling out both a mobile application and mobile referrals. Last year, the company saw 25 percent of its applicants come through its mobile channel, and 40 percent of its referrals come through mobile applications as well. Here’s an example of efficiency and candidate experience lifting each other up.

As detailed in a case study in the Talent Board’s 2016 North American Candidate Experience (CandE) Research Report, the company also applies candidate experience data and reporting to its broader talent acquisition organization. For instance, it uses a recruiter scorecard to tie key attributes of the candidate experience to specific recruiters and their lines of business. Capital One also examines data at every point in the recruiting process to encourage recruiters to continually improve candidate interactions.

In addition, the company implemented a new recruiting technology platform last year to provide a “central support structure” and uniform parameters for use by all hiring managers and recruiters, regardless of location or business group. According to Capital One, this has made interacting with candidates more consistent and efficient—and helped to consolidate and improve the various ways candidates apply to jobs.

Other findings from the CandE Report show just how widely these types of recruiting technologies are being invested in:

  • 97 percent of employers participating in the CandE Awards have an applicant tracking system (ATS) in place.
  • 81 percent utilize assessments and testing systems.
  • 76 percent utilize talent network/community systems.
  • 69 percent have CRMs.

As the CandE Report data also shows, participants expect these kinds of infrastructure investments to grow. (Read more about that by downloading the Report.)

Improving the Candidate Experience

The candidate experience. Those three little words have unleashed an avalanche of articles, blog posts, white papers and reports—and rightly so. The candidate experience is one of the most important aspects of recruiting success, yet it still needs to be streamlined and enriched at a staggering number of organizations.

One of the most basic problems our candidates have is just getting their foot in the damn door! Let’s be honest—the online application process can be a navigational nightmare. A time- and patience-sucking beast built on systems and processes that are poorly integrated (if they’re integrated at all).

One organization that recently overhauled its online application process—and another CandE Award winner—is NewYork-Presbyterian, one of the nation’s most comprehensive academic health care delivery systems. As recounted in the 2016 CandE Report, NewYork-Presbyterian had no problem attracting candidates. But getting them to complete online applications and assessments was another matter. Too many candidates were simply dropping out of that process.

The organization realized it was “putting candidates through an obstacle course” before even considering them for a role. To remedy this and other application-related problems, NewYork-Presbyterian dissected its entire online process and implemented fixes such as pulling key data from its ATS, reviewing responses from its candidate experience surveys, and extensively testing its application process.

If you’re interested in improving your own application process, here are three good places to begin:

  1. Ease up on some of those prescreening fails. Initial screenings don’t always tell you the whole story about an applicant’s viability or qualifications. CandE research reveals that 86 percent of employers now allow more individuals to complete an application even after they fail screening questions. And they probably have the back-end in good shape, too.
  2. Make it easier to apply on mobile devices. As mentioned above, after rolling out a mobile application and a mobile referrals program, Capital One had 25 percent of its applicants engaging the company on mobile devices after just six months—and 40 percent of its referrals came through mobile applications. And even though according to the CandEs, nearly 80 percent of the participating North American employers offer mobile apply, only 12 percent of candidates are using it, so improving that experience is critical to candidate conversion.
  3. Prepare your candidates for success from the get-go. At Hyland, a leading software solutions provider, recruiters use an applicant tracking system to determine where candidates might best fit in the organization. As a result, during job interviews, recruiters often talk with candidates about more than one position. Chicago-based consultancy, West Monroe Partners, helps its candidates prepare for an interview, even offering them tips even about the interviewers themselves to help facilitate introductions and fruitful conversations.

Without question, the candidate experience needs to improve. But it’s only part of the larger recruiting the equation. If we pay attention to our company’s overall recruiting efficiencies—and to implementing the best possible infrastructure on the back-end—the candidate experience can and does improve.

That’s the heavenly beauty of harmonic recruiting efficiency.

Registration is now open for companies that want to participate in the 2017 Talent Board Candidate Experience Awards Bench Program. Register today!

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