The candidate experience: Why it matters and how to improve it

Here's some guidance on why the job seeker experience matters and how companies can improve their hiring processes.

When businesses have open positions, their main concern is usually finding the right candidate for the job. However, hiring should ideally be a two-way street that's beneficial for both job seekers and employers. That's why hiring managers should keep the candidate experience in the back of their minds.

Here's some guidance on why the job seeker experience matters and how companies can improve their hiring processes.

What comprises candidate experience?
When considering a job seeker's experience with your company, it's important to understand the different factors that contribute to the overall impression. From the moment candidates apply to work at your business - whether through a staffing agency or a job posting - through their last communication with the company, they're forming an idea about the organization.

This means that if the application process is confusing, a receptionist is rude or an interviewer is unprofessional, job seekers may leave with negative impressions of the company. On the other hand, if applicants only encounter friendly, helpful people within the organization, they'll likely have a positive experience, even if they don't land the job.

Consistently poor candidate experiences can translate into a bad reputation.

Why does this matter for employers?
There are a number of reasons why employers should pay attention to the impression job seekers are leaving with. First and foremost, online employer reviews are becoming increasingly important for job candidates. Many individuals will do research on employers before submitting an application, so if your business has too many negative reviews from disgruntled interviewees, you could miss out on future applicants.

"Negative candidate experiences can result in lost customers."

Similarly, it's safe to assume that the people who apply to work within your company are familiar with your brand, services or products. Sometimes these applicants are even customers. If they have a negative experience during the hiring process, they may be less likely to patronize your business in the future and could even encourage other people to avoid your company as well.

How can companies improve job seeker experience?
There are a few key issues that candidates frequently flag as negatively influencing their experiences during the job hunt. Consider how your company handles the following situations to improve your job seeker experience.

  1. Unclear job postings: It's frustrating for job seekers when they're interested in working for a company, but find vague or overly complex postings. When hiring managers are creating job postings, they should carefully detail what the position entails, any education or skill requirements, and how to apply.
  2. Lack of communication: If an eager candidate applies to work with your company but doesn't hear anything from you for months, they may lose some of that enthusiasm they had for your business. Similarly, if you contact an applicant to set up an in-person interview but become busy and don't confirm the meeting for a week, it's frustrating for the job seeker. Try to put yourself in the candidate's shoes and be as considerate with communication as possible. These small efforts show that you respect the person's time and value his or her interest in the company.
  3. Undefined hiring timeline: Another common grievance that candidates cite is an unclear hiring timeline. This problem is simple to remedy: Simply let applicants know when you hope to fill the position. If you don't have a defined timeline, let candidates know that too.

This content brought to you by the Marketing Team at Beacon Hill Staffing Group.

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