Tips for a Better Candidate Experience

We’ve all been in the position of the candidate, spending copious amounts of time sifting through jobs descriptions, painstakingly filling out application forms and patiently waiting (and waiting and waiting) for a reply from the prospective employer. We would think that this experience would place us in the ideal position to make the candidate experience as hassle free as possible. Well, that’s not always the case.

The candidate experience is about how the person feels and perceives the company that they are applying through. If the process is too difficult they will probably give up, and more than likely tell their friends to do the same.

To help point you in the right direction, we’ve put together a handy list of tips for a better candidate experience, making them want to come back next time they are looking for a new role and stick with you when times are tough.

Keep the Lines of Communication Open

There’s nothing worse than taking the time to fill out an application form or prepping for and attending an interview, than to have to wait for long periods of time without hearing back.

Respect their time and effort by keeping them up to date with progress and the candidate will find it easier to take constructive feedback if and when the time comes. It’s a considerate way to do business.

Make the Job Application Process Easy Peasey

User experience should be a top priority, whether you’re a job board moderator or an agency. Basic SEO principles and design should be considered, with testing and research conducted before any big change.

A clear candidate journey with call to actions guiding them through the process is essential to any website, especially a job board.

Cross Browser and Device Testing

Taking a look at the User Flow within Google Analytics, you should soon spot the highest exit pages on your jobs board. These may be normal places like the Contact Us page, but it might also help to highlight technical or user issues in particular areas of your site.

Also, what looks acceptable on your pc screen, might look completely different on somebody else’s desktop, tablet or mobile. Then there’s the visual and functionality differences between Chrome, IE, Safari, Firefox…. Test, test, test!

Operate an Open Door Policy

Whether this involves always being there to respond to a query or sharing your expert knowledge, it’s always good to be open.

Just like when we talked about communication and respecting the candidate’s time, responding to questions in a courteous and timely manner is the best way to operate. Social media is fast replacing the traditional customer service department, taking the conversation online in a public forum. Use it wisely and always be visible.

Also, sharing your trade secrets in a blog is a great way to show off your skills and your authority within the industry. You won’t lose candidates, you’ll gain them, because you will become someone to trust and the go-to person in recruitment.

The Devil’s in the Detail

Include as much information in your job descriptions as possible so that the candidate feels well equipped to make a decision and apply for the role to the best of their ability.

What is the application process? Who should they contact? What’s the salary? It’s also important to keep the information up to date. If a job is no longer available, remove it.

Thought You Had Finished with Testing?

Think again! We can make assumptions forever, but to really understand what a candidate needs and expects from today’s job search, we need to ask them.

Surveys are an obvious way of gauging opinion. These can be placed at the end of a job application or sent to them in an email later down the line. Consider what you want to get from the survey and ask the right questions. Make sure you give them plenty of opportunity to speak their mind and give feedback and ideas.

The aim of recruitment should always be to put the right people in the right places. Make the candidate experience an easy one and half of your work is already done.

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Comment by Matt Ekstrom on May 4, 2015 at 1:12am

Great post! I'd only argue that "basic" design is not enough if you're truly looking for sustained competitive advantage. 


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