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How to ensure a positive candidate experience

Kate Allen, Managing Director, Allen Associates

A positive Candidate experience goes a long way. Even if they don’t get the job, it will leave the Candidate feeling confident and more likely to reapply for future positions or recommend the company to friends and family. But what do we mean by ‘Candidate experience’ and more important, how can Employers ensure they achieve one each time they embark on the hiring process?

The Candidate experience involves every part of the recruitment process, starting as soon as the candidate first becomes aware of the company and the job role via the job advert. This is possibly the first impression the Candidate will have of the company and if they can easily see what the organisation does and there is a clear and specific job description (and job specification), then the Candidate will not only have a positive impression of the organisation, they are more likely to apply for the advertised role, too.

The next stage of the Candidate experience is the application process. Make sure you provide instructions on how you want them to apply for the role. For example, if they need to fill out an application form then be clear about this – the easier you make the application process, the greater the number of quality applications you receive. We’re not suggesting that volume is key – quite the opposite.

Indeed, statistics and our own experience over the last 20 years have shown that lengthy application processes results in a significant drop-off rate, which in turn can see Employers miss out on top talent.Once they have applied, confirm that the application has been received and provide a date that the Candidate should hear whether or not they have been shortlisted.

Good communication and keeping the Candidate up to date shows you are a professional company that appreciates the fact that they have spent the time applying for the job. Even if the Candidate isn’t shortlisted for the role, an email letting them know and thanking them for applying will leave a positive lasting impression.

The job interview will be the first time you get to meet the Candidate face to face, so ensure you fully communicate the details of the interview so they know where the interview is going to take place, what date and time it is going to be held and who they are meeting. Make sure there is someone to greet the Candidate and that the interview is held in a suitable room. When the interview ends, let them know what the next stage of the interview process is and when they should expect to hear from you.

It is inevitable that some of the Candidates you interview will be disappointed if they don’t get the job and the way you handle the rejection process will either leave the applicant with a positive or negative view of the company. Always provide feedback as to why they didn’t get the job – this is not only appreciated but it also means that should a similar vacancy arise within the business which they could be better suited, they are more likely to out themselves forward for it – it’s about developing the talent pipeline.

The final part of the recruitment process is the Candidate’s first day of work. Just because they have accepted the job doesn’t mean that the positive experience can stop. The successful Candidate will want some reassurance that they have made the right decision and from the company’s point of view, happier employees that are motivated and productive will result in a reduction in staff turnover, saving the company money in the long term.

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