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3 ways to level up your candidate experience in 2023

Candidate experience is fast becoming the key to gaining the competitive edge in the talent marketplace. In recent years, customer experience has become a key focus among businesses, with almost half of business leaders viewing it as a top priority for the next 5 years. There is no doubt that consumer expectations of a seamless, personalised experience are bleeding into everything that we do – and finding your next role is no exception.

However, the crucial difference between consumers and candidates is that where most consumers will at least walk away with what they paid for, it is inevitable that some candidates will come away disappointed. This means candidate experience needs to go further than customer experience to avoid disenchanting candidates who otherwise would refer peers, act as brand advocates, or even re-apply down the line. It is also important to remember here that ultimately, whether applicants are successful or not, they are still potential customers or brand ambassadors. Research shows that 50% of candidates will not purchase goods or services from a company after a bad job application experience.

Optimising candidate experience does not simply equate to automating processes, it spans across the full candidate journey with the company – from application to on-boarding to rejections and feedback. 

With this in mind, here are my three top tips on how to level up your candidate experience.

          1. Speed

Review your current end-to-end application time and aim to reduce it to under 5 minutes (ideally under 3).

Efficiency is key. It has been widely established that we are an instant society - both as consumers and candidates, we want speed and seamless experiences. While the digitisation of processes was well underway prior, the pandemic accelerated this shift. With 42% of job seekers stating that lengthy applications are the most frustrating part of applying for jobs, applications that take longer than 5 minutes can be detrimental to hiring efforts.

Recruitment technology facilitates this, boosting the experience for the candidate, while also expediting the process for HR teams. As an example from our own extensive research, a candidate could apply for 4 roles within the Fintech sector in the same time that it takes to apply for a single role within other sectors such as Financial Services and Consulting. 

However, speed does not necessarily lead to a positive candidate experience. There is a sweet spot to hit with a blend of seamless automation and human engagement. 

          2. Transparency

Be transparent when advertising your roles. 

While listing benefits such as free food, beautiful office spaces and office dogs can add shine to a job advertisement, being frank about exactly what you are offering is vastly more important. 

As consumers, we want to know what we are buying. The same is true for candidates when applying or a role, so it is best to avoid being too broad or vague. An example of this is with companies such as Netflix offering a staggering salary range on a role of $90,000 to $900,000. A range this broad ultimately defeats the object of including a salary range within the advert, as it gives no indication of what salary band the candidate can expect to join at. A recent study even found that 78% of people looking for a job would be put off applying if the salary was not displayed.

This is not only true for salary. Ideally, job descriptions will give a full impression of what the job entails. Giving clear details about aspects such as the working pattern (onsite, remote or hybrid) or any generous employee benefits, unique to your organisation, will bolster advertising. 

          3. Perception

Review your candidate journey from careers pages through to onboarding. Is it clear to candidates what your organisation’s values are? 

Whilst currently representing 35%, by 2025, 75% of the global workforce will be Millennials. This will inevitably shift recruitment trends as Millennials typically prioritise the morals of a company over other elements such as salary. And nearly 4 in 5 candidates (78%) say the overall candidate experience they receive is an indicator of how a company values its people.

Ultimately, the next generation of candidates will value companies that strive to positively impact society. And the way to encourage applicants, or reduce application drop offs, is to illustrate the ways in which your organisation fulfils this. So, the question to ask here is: before starting, would a candidate know what it is like to work at your organisation?  Are your company’s values, mission, and ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) ambitions clear? One way to bring this to life is by employees share their own authentic stories and experiences.. 

These tips are merely scratching the surface of ways in which you can optimise your candidate experience, with near constant developments in workforce research. With this mind, we have created a Candidate Experience Audit that holds up a mirror to your current recruitment process in a candidate-centric way. The methodology audits 9 different lenses that reference over 160 data points analysing how well you, as an employer, attract, engage and more importantly convert candidates throughout the candidate journey.

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