Recruiters can no longer ignore the virtues of the candidate experience to attract outstanding talent. Here are some keys to ensuring the operation is successful.
The current shortage of skilled labour only increases the importance for employers to be vigilant in their relationship with applicants throughout the recruitment process. As revealed by a survey conducted in 2015 by the recruiting firm MRINetwork, 90% of recruiters consider that candidates are currently the ones who have the upper hand in the job market.
“The candidate experience is crucial,” says Sandrine Théard, consultant and trainer in recruitment at La source humaine. “The organization must be interesting and memorable so that the candidate can have positive things to say about it to their entourage.”
Here are some things to pay attention to when recruiting amazing talents.
1. Online Presence and Job Postings
The company's website and its social media and job site accounts are the first line of contact with the candidate. These are important tools for promoting the employer ‘brand’. They put forward the values of the organization and the characteristics that make it a workplace of choice.
In addition, the job should be attractive and clear. “This is a form of advertising; it must have an interesting angle, something that will give the candidate a good first impression,” says Théard. Key stakeholders share that view: over three-quarters of the 95,000 candidates surveyed by The Talent Board in their extensive 2014 survey say that the offer is the most important document in their search for a job.
2. “Preliminaries”: Sending and Receiving the Application
Then comes time to apply. The employer must send the offer over with simple and clear instructions.
At this stage, the organization must at all costs avoid the famous ‘black hole effect,’ that unpleasant impression where the candidate does not get any feedback after submitting their application. “The minimum is to at least send an acknowledgment,” says the recruitment specialist.
3. Interview: Operation Seduction
If it was once considered an unpleasant interrogation, today, interviews are more a two-way charm party than anything else. The employer will go out of his or her way to try and make everything as pleasant as possible: first contact at the reception, the waiting period, the presentations and the interview itself.
Gone are trick questions: the interview is a conversation in which the interviewer gives the candidate the opportunity to show off their skills and ask questions about the position and the organization.
Moreover, the trend in interviews is to get as far away as possible from customary formalities, says Sandrine Théard. “Some recruiters will take the candidates out for a walk, go for a drink, and even play Legos with them.” In other places, armchairs and coffee tables have replaced cold conference room furniture. The advantage here is that “the candidates shows a more natural side of themselves when they are taken out of the usual interview context.”
4. Decision Time
Communicating with those applicants whose candidacy was not retained is an unavoidable aspect of the candidate experience. For both the individuals contacted for a phone interview and those met in person, a personalized return is essential.
Sandrine Théard invites recruiters to give a positive spin to the message. Ask candidates whose applications have been rejected to stay in touch with the organization on social networks, for example. The individual then remains an existing or potential customer and an ambassador of the organization with their entourage. And who knows, they may one day be the perfect candidate for another position.
When it comes to the final candidates for the job, contact them quickly with details about the next steps to take, and to start negotiating conditions of employment with them.
“There is no secret: it’s imperative to devote time to the candidate experience,” says Théard. It is not time lost, but rather time wisely invested.