6 ways to know your candidate experience needs work

When starting the hiring process, you ask a lot of your candidates. You’re asking them to trust you. You’re asking them to step out of their comfort zone, and possibly leave a current role for yours. You are asking for their attention, time, and commitment to your recruitment process. This is a tall order for many job seekers, especially those who have skills that are in high-demand, and potentially several offers on the table.

So how do you get their attention? It starts with the candidate experience. How are you showing candidates that they’re important to you, and that their time is valued? That experience is their first foray into life at your company – and it’s the best time to start building mutual respect.

As a competitor in the war for talent, how do you know that your hiring process isn’t deterring candidates? Here are six dead giveaways that your candidate experience needs some serious attention.

No applicants

Are you subscribing to the “post and pray” way of getting applicants’ attention? If you are relying on your job posting to speak for itself, you better hope it’s speaking the right language.

A job posting alone is often not enough to convince applicants to apply to your organization. If your job posting lacks pertinent information about company culture, vision, and growth, it will perform poorly as an engagement tool.

A badly written job posting is a window into the upcoming candidate experience. If your posting says, “We don’t care what kind of candidates we get,” it will show in your lack of applications.

Learn how to write a killer job ad by downloading our eguide here.

Interview no-shows

Rearranging your busy schedule to accommodate interviews can be tricky. But what can be extremely frustrating is when you clear your calendar for a no-show interview! If you find that this is happening often, it could be that your application process is turning people off before they even meet you in person.

You have several interactions with your candidates before the first face-to-face interview. Your career website, your applicant tracking system, your telephone pre-screening conversations, or your presence on social media all contribute to a candidate’s decision to take an interview with you.

Jobseekers will rarely say no to an interview when put on the spot (i.e. in a phone call), usually because they want to keep their options open. But if not given a reason to be excited about an interview, they won’t want to waste their time if another opportunity comes along. Thus, the “no-show.”

You have no way of managing applications

Job postings can sometimes attract hundreds of resumes.  The best way to organize them is with an applicant tracking system that can help sort and keep track of which applicant applies to which role (Workopolis Recruitment Centre, for example, allows you to post, manage, sort, and track applicants – in one place). In a perfect world, applicants who are not hired (but who are still skilled) are kept on file for future roles. This only works if your recruitment team is diligently going back and referencing resumes that are less than six months old.

Posting a role that you already have qualified candidates for is not only costly, but it can send a very negative message to interested potential applicants. By seeing the same role posted over and over, it looks like there is high turnover or that the role is impossible to fill. Applicants who have applied and who are qualified get frustrated seeing the role repeatedly posted – especially when they know they have the skills, yet, no one is calling them!

Chances are, you have the perfect candidate’s resume already. Be consistent about going through past applicants to ensure you haven’t missed someone great.

You go for weeks with no contact

Check out our blog post about what candidates want during the hiring process. Communication and follow up is key. If you’re waiting too long to communicate the next steps to your candidates, then you run the risk of losing them in the process.

It’s always safe to assume that an active job seeker has several irons in the fire. The best candidate experiences include clear and timely communication, follow up and timelines for next steps.

Candidates need to feel valued during the process and know that you are respectful of their time. Keep an open dialogue, and ensure that it is within a reasonable timeline (two to four days between each contact).

You’ve never evaluated your Employer Value Proposition

Candidates can get turned off easily. Google your company. Specifically, “working for” your company, and see what comes up. If you see that there is a lot of negative social buzz about working for you, then it might be time to re-evaluate your Employer Value Proposition, and do some soul-searching into the root of the negative comments.

Sometimes, doing research into your own reputation as an employer can be a very humbling and eye-opening experience. Try to take what you find with a grain of salt, and be honest with yourself on how you can make strides to improve and replace the negative with positive employee experiences.

You keep losing candidates to your competitors

If you find that your competition is snapping up all the great applicants, it might be time to look at your Total Rewards package. Try to do some research as to what your competition is offering, and ensure that your package is fair for the talent you are looking for, and in the market which you are in.

Additionally, you can do some research into the Employer Branding messaging of your competition. If they have a career portal that speaks to life and work within their organization, and you don’t even have a career website, clearly applicants are getting a more informed candidate experience from the other guy.

Candidate experience is a major contributing factor to choosing a role. You are asking applicants to take a risk to work for you, so you need to make the experience enriching to stand out in the competitive talent market.

Take a long, honest look at your candidate experience today – if you look at your process, and can’t clearly see why someone would want to work for you over someone else, then it’s time to step it up.


Sonya Matheson is a recruitment and employer branding consultant with Workopolis. Specializing in candidate experience, she has been working to help companies hire better for over 15 years.


See also:
Management tips from Howard Hughes
6 hiring lessons from Google that every small business needs to know


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