In a Job Seeker’s Market, the Candidate Experience Matters More Than Ever

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It’s a job seeker’s market out there as long as unemployment continues to hover just above 4 percent. When there are more jobs than people to fill them, candidates can pick and choose, forcing companies to step up their games if they hope to woo top talent.

What does stepping up their games entail? First, companies need to work on their brands. Forty-seven percent of working Americans (and 59 percent of millennials) feel it’s important that their family and friends recognize the name of their company, according to The Modern Job Seeker, a new report from iCIMS. Job hunters are also relying heavily on online reviews, with one in three full-time working Americans claiming that they’ve turned down a job offer because the company had too many negative reviews online, the report says.

The Benefits of Employee Referral Programs

Recruiters know that their best resource for finding new talent is often an existing employee. Employees like having their friends at work, and candidates are attracted to companies that get positive reviews from their friends. It’s a win-win.

“If an employee is satisfied enough with their employer to recommend a friend or family member to work there, they are making a statement that shows not only do they value their job, but that they also believe their referral will likely feel the same,” says Susan Vitale, chief marketing officer of iCIMS. “Working Americans say they expect to be happier at a job they were referred for than one they were not referred for.”

iCIMS data shows 70 percent of referred employees have not changed positions since being hired, which suggests referred employees tend to remain in their roles for longer.

Not sure how to implement an employee referral program at your company? Ask around and see what’s working at other organizations.

For example, Vitale notes that iCIMS customer Trilogy Health Services encourages referrals by offering referral bonuses for successfully hired candidates and an awards program that rewards employees based on the quality of their referrals. Since implementing these incentives, Trilogy now makes 26 percent more hires through referrals.

That being said, incentives aren’t the whole picture. Vitale also stresses the importance of “dedicated technology to manage the referrals” and “internal communication plans so employees are aware [that incentives] exist.”

Ramp Up Your Social Media Presence

SoaringWith 94 percent of working Americans visiting a company’s social media pages when searching for a job, it’s likely that many candidates will be scoping you out on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and elsewhere before they apply. Businesses that don’t focus on building candidate-friendly social media presences risk losing the interest of potential talent.

“It’s important that your accounts accurately reflect your brand,” Vitale says. “Job seekers want to be able to visit your social media pages and envision themselves working there — and this doesn’t just apply to millennials. While that generation is leading the pack with 99 percent using social media in their job hunt, 93 percent of Generation X and 89 percent of baby boomers admit to using it as well.”

Instead of simply posting to social media when it’s convenient, develop a focused social media strategy that will drive candidates to your business.

“To make sure your company is accurately conveying your messages, make sure that you’re showcasing your company culture, key benefits, and training opportunities on both your career site and your social media pages,” Vitale says. “Job seekers use sites like LinkedIn, Facebook, and Glassdoor, among others, for their research, so make sure you’re utilizing each site appropriately. Use photos of employees to help illustrate your brand on Facebook. Be sure to include job listings on sites like LinkedIn and Glassdoor. Job seekers have the ability quickly and thoroughly research every aspect of your company before they even apply for the job, so it’s crucial to make your company stand out.”

Be Mobile-Friendly

Maybe the thought of tap-tap-tapping to fill out an entire job application on your phone doesn’t appeal to you. But you’re the minority in today’s job market.

“Many job seekers consider [applying via mobile] a must-have feature to any career site,” says Vitale. “Just like we use our smartphones and tablets to search for our next date or to purchase shoes from Amazon, the most progressive companies are seeing success by updating their processes and adapting to the increased use of mobile.”

Here, Vitale cites another iCIMS customer, Gold’s Gym. By offering candidates a mobile-friendly application process, the company made it easier for talented candidates to throw their hats in the ring. Gold’s Gym now receives 80 percent of its career site traffic through mobile devices.

According to Vitale, the following are three things in particular that job seekers want to be able to do from their mobile devices:

  1. Search for jobs anytime, anywhere: iCIMS found that 35 percent of job seekers want to be able to search for jobs no matter where they are. If your career site is not mobile-optimized, these candidates won’t take a second look.
  2. Be notified of new job listings:24 percent of job seekers want to receive notifications for new job listings. Vitale recommends using a CRM “to boost your ability to reach, attract, and nurture a healthy supply of prospective applicants.”
  3. Apply easily and simply for jobs: “If [the application is] too complicated, not mobile-optimized, or includes too many steps, candidates will drop off,” Vitale says.

By Jason McDowell