In today’s ultra-competitive talent market, companies are examining every aspect of their employer brands in order to attract and retain the best candidates. Many have realized that creating an attractive employment package begins before a single job posting has hit the company website.
Thanks to sites like Glassdoor, LinkedIn, and Indeed, today’s job seekers are able to access unedited perspectives on almost any company’s culture, values, and reputation. This allows job seekers to be more selective about the types of companies with which they seek employment.
In response, employers are looking for ways to rise to the top of the talent landscape with attractive benefits packages that include perks like flex-time, unlimited vacation time, and gym memberships.
However, one of the most effective, but frequently overlooked, ways to attract the best talent is to create a stellar candidate experience.
What Is the Candidate Experience?
The phrase “candidate experience” refers to every step along the hiring path, from the job posting itself to the final offer. Because relatively few employers put extra attention into the details of the candidate experience, organizations that do work hard to craft great candidates experiences can gain tremendous competitive advantages.
Here are five steps that we at BASF have found can make a noticeable difference in creating a positive candidate experiences:
1. Be Transparent
In today’s hyper-connected world, it’s no wonder that the No. 1 source of frustration for candidates is not knowing where in the hiring process their application stands at any given time. The single most important step a company can take in improving its candidate experience is to communicate initially (by acknowledging receipt of the application) and regularly (at any milestone – for example, if the position has closed.) At BASF, our hiring process document provides an at-a-glance snapshot of each step of our hiring process, so candidates are well aware of what they should expect when applying to our organization.
2. Recruiters at the Ready
Your recruiters set the tone for the entire hiring experience. Invest in informed, experienced, and enthusiastic talent acquisition professionals who reflect your brand’s core values. Encourage open lines of communication between the talent team and the work team so that recruiters on the front lines are equipped to answer candidates’ questions about the organization and the opportunity.
3. Organize Interview Day
Every minute the candidate is on site is an opportunity to make a positive impression. Ensure that your interview room is neat and clean, and use the space to further bolster your brand by showcasing company products or awards. Make sure everyone on the interview team understands their role. For instance, have one person evaluate the candidate’s technical skills while another considers the candidate’s cultural fit. Review questions in advance and debrief immediately, while the information is fresh.
4. Provide Timely Feedback
Candidates are eager for feedback after an interview, so make sure to set aside time after each critical stage to provide constructive comments. Ideally, this should be a phone or face-to-face conversation to encourage two-way dialogue, especially if the candidate is not moving forward in the process.
The feedback stage is also an opportunity to open up the conversation to other potential roles that might interest the candidate. Companies can capitalize on talent by building a “silver medalist” pool to gain a competitive advantage in filling future positions.
5. The Job Offer
If your company typically issues offers through the recruiter, consider having the hiring manager make the initial offer, and then hand the call over to the recruiter to go over the details of the compensation and benefits package. This shows your interest in your new team member, as well as your excitement about bringing them on board.
A successful candidate experience not only creates a positive lasting impression, but also improves the applicant experience and boosts your employer brand perception. Consider every step along the hiring path – from job announcement to the first day – as an opportunity to highlight your excitement and show the candidate that you truly value them.