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4 Fixes to Improve the Online Candidate Experience

As the economy sits at near zero unemployment, the role of candidate experience in the hiring process has become a crucial one. It’s a struggle for recruiting and HR teams to find ways to improve candidate experience while also managing a requisition load, perform high-touch tasks, and engage on a growing number of digital channels including email, ATS, social media, job boards, mobile career sites, and so on. As we build a recruiting strategy, there are ways to streamline some functions of a stellar candidate experience.

Why Candidate Experience Matters Especially Online

If a job seeker had a poor experience during an interview a decade ago, he or she would be less likely to apply again in the future, accept a job offer, or buy that company’s products or services. They would also probably tell their inner circle about the poor experience.

That still happens today, although the proliferation of social media, digital recruiting, and employer review sites have dramatically expanded the size of our inner circles. As a consequence, news of a poor candidate experience can travel much faster and further.

According to 2017 research from IBM on “The Far-Reaching Impact of Candidate Experience,” better candidate experiences are linked to higher acceptance rates. The study reveals that candidates who are satisfied with their experience are 38 percent more likely to accept a job offer. Most candidates (over 60 percent) talk about their experiences with friends and family. With mobile and social media, feedback (good and bad) spreads faster than ever. This affects not only the reputation of the hiring organization, but also their ability to attract other candidates in the future.

It’s also good for business in general. Candidates who had a positive candidate experience are twice as likely to want to become a customer of the hiring organization compared to those who had a poor candidate experience (53 percent vs. 25 percent). Ultimately, candidate experience could even impact a company’s sales results.

Quickly Enhance Your Online Candidate’s Digital Recruitment Experience

As you’re planning and building a recruiting strategy (or refining the one you’ve been following), there are a few ways to get some early wins with candidate experience. These four fixes are free, easy, relatively quick, and can give you a lift in candidate experience metrics almost immediately.

1) Add average completion time to your job postings. Increase the number of completed applications by listing the average time to complete items throughout the hiring process, starting with your application. Somewhere near your “apply now” button on your job posting, add a note to the candidate with an estimated time to complete the application process. Note that this may vary by position, so take additional questions or screening for each job description into account.

2) Add or update your auto response email. The email sent by your ATS in response to an applicant should be regularly reviewed and updated. Candidates want to understand their progress, says a Talent Board report. When customers shop online, they have insight into how many steps are left before they complete their purchase. Candidates deserve a similar experience. New recruiting technologies have built-in workflows to ensure your candidates are informed at each stage of the application process, and the communication can be nearly 100 percent automated.

It’s helpful to include content in your auto response like how long a candidate should expect to wait for next steps (and what those are) after completing an application, as well as targeted content based on other triggers in the hiring process. Ideally, you’ll have a set of auto response emails sent when triggered by application, email newsletter signup, following a scheduled phone or in-person interview, following an applicant test, and so on.

3) Captions on videos.
Research indicates that nearly 85% of all web traffic will be video related by 2020. Adding captions to video makes the experience not only more accessible for all candidates but allows them to engage with video in different ways. How many of us mute the video and just read the captions? Consider your passive candidates may be consuming your video content while at their current job (yes, unhappy workers research companies and jobs while they’re at work…yours included). Captioning on-site and social videos decreases the chance that a candidate will scroll past in frustration because they can’t listen at work or in public on their mobile device without connecting earbuds.

4) Thank your candidates no matter how they are engaging with your employer brand. You can set up automation for follows on social media including Facebook Messenger, Twitter, and Instagram. Showcase your culture by including a fun GIF in your email or social messaging. Take a look at your current auto response emails and landing pages (specifically, the pages that are served to your candidate once they’ve submitted an application). Are you thanking them in a genuine way? Does your thank you feel sincere? If it’s time for a refresh, consider asking newer employees what they think about this function in your apply process and auto responses. How would they like to be thanked? 

When integrated into your recruiting process, as you build new strategies and raise the bar for your performance metrics, these four (small) things can give your company a considerable lift in your online candidate experience, without expense or a great deal of effort.