Positive candidate experience stretches from attracting and sharing information with applicants all the way to the point of hire, and everything in between. That’s a pretty large timeframe and a wide demographic of individuals, all with different needs and requirements for a positive hiring experience.
Providing a glass of water to candidates upon arrival to the office or being on time to interviews are good measures.
To really move the needle from a good experience to a great experience, though, candidates want a new workplace that is comfortable, that cares about them and that they can grow with. That’s why communication and transparency are so crucial to recruiting strategies.
Strong communication skills and highly open, honest teams provide that comfort and care that candidates crave. Also, these are the true differentiators between your organization and other hiring organizations, so your candidates will feel more inclined to consider offers from you!
These are the ways your team can communicate and offer transparency that applicants and candidates will truly appreciate at any stage in the hiring process.
Effective communication to candidates should comprise of a few factors - each of which make candidates feel included and appreciated while interviewing. Strong candidate communication should:
Use Familiar Means
Communicating with candidates should feel comfortable and convenient for them. In 2017, 77% of Americans owned a smartphone, with rising numbers amongst adults over the age of 50 and low-income individuals.
Use this to your advantage! Get into the hands (literally) of your candidates through mobile-friendly means. Email and text messages are all accessible from a smartphone, along with social media and targeted ads.
That being said, it’s important to take a look at your audience and create strategies that make sense for you. Teams heavily hiring entry-level roles who are millennials or younger will thrive with a focus on smartphone strategies, like texting. If most of your hires are more mature job candidates, offer other means of communications like email or phone calls.
Be Consistent & Personal
Candidates are pretty used to receiving the automated ATS email after applying to a job.
“Thank you so much for applying! We’ll get back to you soon if we feel you’re a fit!”
That’s great, but all candidates know this isn’t personal in any way, shape or form. Typically that’s one of the last messages a candidate ever receives from a company.
Make a habit of communicating upon application, during the waiting periods and at status updates so candidates are well-informed and thinking of your organization consistently. Messages coming directly from a recruiter or hiring manager will also help candidates feel like you actually want them on your team!
Share Relevant Information
The content of your messages definitely depends on where your candidates are in the hiring process, if they are active or passive candidates and if they are even candidates yet.
Initially attracting someone to a position - whether through a personalized LinkedIn message or on your careers page - should be focused on sharing why the organization will benefit them. Candidates at the last stage of the interview process, on the other hand, want interview preparation information and insights into the team they’ll potentially be joining.
Take a step back and look at this larger picture before diving into templated, static messaging that gets sent to everyone. Not all candidates are alike or have the same needs, so change the content of your communications accordingly.
Go Both Ways
Consistently communicating with candidates is awesome, but if your candidates can’t communicate back with you, it’s only a one-sided conversation. Recruiting teams and hiring managers should be resources and open-ears to their candidates since one of the top skills for effective communication is listening.
Sending messages from no-reply email addresses should always include alternative means for candidates to reach out. Leave a recruiter’s email address or phone number on job descriptions so applicants can reach out with questions.
Be a strong communicator by being available to speak with candidates, offering them opportunities to speak with you and sharing prompt feedback.
Candidates of your open jobs are evaluating your team and organization just as much as you are evaluating their skills and culture add. Recruiting teams seeking to improve their candidate experience should be extremely truthful and transparent about:
Sure, job descriptions outline the job responsibilities to a certain extent. But, candidates want to know the nuts and bolts of a position. Even the not-so-glamorous aspects.
Setting clear expectations of what candidates will do day-in and day-out will help them envision if they are a good fit or even interested in the position. Not doing so can contribute to the high turnover rate that many employers are facing today.
Employees who are bored, doing a job they didn’t expect, stressed or underutilized in their new role will no doubt leave. In fact, boredom accounts for people leaving their jobs 33% of the time. You can change that by being super transparent during the hiring process of what the position actually entails.
You don’t want to waste your time interviewing unqualified candidates. Equally, candidates don’t want to waste their time interviewing somewhere if they won’t be paid according to their expectations.
Now, gathering salary expectations can be tricky. The best solution is for your team to be upfront and gauge reactions and sentiments from candidates (of course in a legal way). Don’t create false hope for candidates, and be upfront from the beginning of the hiring process.
Hardships & Challenges At The Company
Often, candidates ask about challenges in their potential new position or company culture during the interview process. When candidates are inquiring about challenges, hurdles, culture or work-life balance, for example, they want to know the truth. A sugar-coated answer will make your organization seem inauthentic and full of problems.
If collaboration between teams is sometimes sticky, mention it but also say you’re looking for someone to bridge these gaps or find solutions to this. That offers candidates a real glimpse into your organization and provides them with an actionable task to work toward if they are hired.
Who They’ll Be Working With & In What Capacity
Hiring for highly-collaborative roles or very siloed roles are starkly different, and recruiting teams should mention that during interviews. Different individuals thrive in each of these types of positions. That’s primarily up to candidates to identify within themselves based on their interests and capabilities.
If the position works with a tight-knit team, let the candidate meet these individuals and learn how they’d work together. If the position will work independently for the most part, share what candidates would need to feel comfortable with doing on their own and what skills they’ll need to be successful.
Diving unexpectedly into a lonely cubicle or into a boisterous team can shock new employees, and again, contribute to high turnover.
Candidates want to know how they’ll be onboarded into the organization. Part of that is how they’ll be trained.
It’s absolutely okay if your team doesn’t have a defined training process. Be honest about that, and share how they will get up to speed. They may not travel to the company’s headquarters and complete a week-long training program. But, new employees may have weekly meeting with their new team and complete an online course. That is equally valuable in candidates’ eyes. They just want to know they’ll have some support and guidance while they are settling in.
Not being upfront about training can dissuade candidates, especially those wanting to develop new skills, from continuing the interview process.