A pleasant candidate experience should be the goal of every company's recruitment marketing efforts. When candidates are presented with a great experience from the moment they encounter an organization and throughout the entire interview to hire process, they are more likely to accept a job offer and stick with the company because they have enjoyed things so far. Positive candidate experiences also support the ongoing development of the employer brand. If a candidate has had a positive experience, whether hired at the time or not, the candidate will likely share this experience with others. Candidates who are looking for a place to grow their careers can envision themselves working for a company that puts an effort into making the candidate experience a good one. A CareerBuilder survey indicated that, “78 percent of candidates believe that their experience is an indicator of how the company values its employees.”
Interestingly, while companies are working towards making candidate experiences better, they may not be tracking how well they are doing. Since the future of your company depends on talent, and talent depends on the interview experience, it’s important to monitor how the company is doing with good HR data. How does a company go about measuring it’s candidate experience with quantifiable data? Is this something your organization may already be indirectly tracking?
There are several useful ways of tracking the candidate experience and remember, the best source of information here will be, of course, be the candidates themselves. Companies generally poll candidates post-job offer, but there are other opportunities when recruiters can check in. The best times to collect this data may be at the time the candidate applies for the job (company brand, application process), when they have had their first screening interview (speed of response), after subsequent in-person interviews (first impressions of the company’s culture), and once the candidate has been informed of his or her status of hire (responsiveness, closure). Chances are, your company may be getting some informal feedback from candidates -- directly made as comments to recruitment staff, or indirectly through online reviews and social media posts. Streamlining that process will help you uncover more actionable insights to take your candidate experience to the next level.
What candidate experience metrics should a company be tracking?
In general, there are some candidate experience analytics that all organizations should be measuring on a regular basis. These are indicators of success in certain areas of what candidates encounter when going through your talent acquisition process.
Job seekers spend a great deal of time researching companies well before they decide to apply. If they find positive reviews of your company, if the website is easy to navigate on mobile devices, and if there is a section dedicated to careers at the company -- all of these factors can add up to a positive candidate experience. Put tracking codes on your career pages to analyze the view to application rate. Are your candidates bouncing away from you before even applying? Then there might be an issue with your employer brand that they are coming across in their research.
Instead of complex and clunky applicant tracking systems, make the process to apply an easy one-step process. No one wants to spend hours filling out an application using the same information that the ATS just required to be uploaded from a resume. Streamline your application process as much as you can then monitor whether your applications are coming through from mobile or desktop devices. If you find no one is applying via mobile in 2019, then that points to a problem in the mobile application process you probably need to investigate. You can also put questions directly into your application process to help you gather information to quantify. Questions to add can include:
- Where did you hear about this job posting?
- Rate the ease of this application process on a scale of 1 to 10.
- Describe your first impression of this company in one word.
Company Response Time
One of the biggest pet peeves of candidates is that companies disrespect their time continually during the recruitment process. A Talent Board survey indicated that nearly half of all candidates withdrew their application due to having their time disregarded. Make it a habit to set up a system for acknowledging the applicant, scheduling the first interview, inviting for a live interview, taking assessments, and following up with candidates. This can be done via a tracking system or project management software to allow you to calculate your average response time. If it's high, do what you can to put processes in place to decrease the wait time.
Your approach to the interview makes a large impact on the candidate experience. Having relevant interview questions ready to ask, being punctual to interviews, and making the candidate feel comfortable are all factors that recruiters can be rated on as part of a post-interview candidate feedback survey. You can also impose a structured interview process to ensure all questions are asked to all candidates, making the interview fairer and less biased than going with gut instinct.
How the candidate is treated either when offered a job or when rejected truly matters to the candidate experience. If this process is disorganized, too brief, and does not include any feedback many candidates will feel let down. All candidates should be handled carefully at this juncture. If offered a job, there should be continual contact with the candidate until his or her start date to offer support, answer questions, and get the candidate ready to start. FYI, onboarding should also be tracked and monitored but that's a whole different conversation to be had. If the candidate is not chosen, a compassionately drafted rejection letter needs to be sent out promptly, ideally with a feedback survey to help you gather more information about your job application process. That survey should be the cornerstone of your approach to candidate experience and those responses should be reviewed quarterly to see if there are any shifts in quality or processes that you need to be aware of.
What insights can candidate experience metrics do for your business?
Once they are tracked for a period of time, candidate experience metrics can shed light on areas of the recruitment and hiring process that need work. Improving the worst rated areas should take place first. For example, if candidates rate recruiter response times as poor, the company can find a way to automate some of the messaging using an artificial intelligence chatbot on it’s career page, or an email platform that sends out various candidate informational messages.
It takes a lot of effort to make the candidate experience positive, but it’s worth it when quality candidates refer to your company as one they want to work for.