Driving a Positive Candidate Experience - It All Comes Down to Communication

Driving a Positive Candidate Experience - It All Comes Down to Communication

The upside of the various stages involved in coming to a hiring decision, is the number of opportunities an organisation has to interact with candidates. 

Through each recruitment process, organisations have the chance to demonstrate culture, values and character, leaving even the candidates not hired with a positive first impression. 

Achieving this requires frequent, consistent, and relevant communication throughout the entire recruitment journey. The processes themselves must also be efficient and transparent, progressing candidates as quickly as possible, with a clear understanding of their application status throughout.

There are five key recruitment touch points to consider - here’s how to make each one contribute to a positive candidate experience:

1. Application - Supercharge your autoresponders  

After a candidate applies for a role, the last thing they want is to be left in the dark about the status of their application. It sounds so simple, but just confirming that an application has been received and setting an expectation of when they will hear if they have been successful, will work wonders. Even if thousands of applications a received, a well-crafted automated response is a great way to begin your communication with candidates. 

2. Pre-interview - Be transparent and set expectations

Those shortlisted to progress, will be eagerly awaiting their allocated interview slot. Make sure the email confirming these details comes quickly, represents your brand, provides an idea of what to expect on the day, and even offers a sense of the office dress code (to avoid any embarrassment for the candidate who dons a suit and tie, only to find his potential future colleagues in shorts and t-shirts). 

3. Interview - Treat candidates like VIPs!

You'll ideally not be interviewing hundreds of people for every role, so from shortlist stage onwards, candidates should be treated as VIPs. They are being invited into the office, into the home of the company, and they will quickly get a sense of the culture - make it positive!

Make sure to personalise the interview as much as possible. At Xref, we often encourage clients to use references earlier in the recruitment process. One of the biggest advantages of this is the opportunity to use the results to structure the way future interviews are conducted. This makes candidates feel invested in, understood and a part of the team from the first time you meet. 

4. Post-interview - Ask for feedback 

The recruitment process is a two-way street - while you’re trying to identify if you want to hire someone, they’re also considering if your organisation is right for them. After interviews have been conducted, thank each candidate for coming in, outline who their best point of contact is moving forward, and set realistic timeframes for when they can expect feedback. 

Also ask them for feedback, to not only show candidates that you care what they think of the business, but also as an internal tool to improve the process going forward. 

5. Decision time - Offer feedback 

You must offer feedback to unsuccessful candidates. Having said that, feedback such as, “the role has changed” or a subtle “thanks, but no thanks” won’t cut it, even if a candidate was widely different from what you had expected. You must take the time to offer as much constructive feedback about the interview as possible and, where appropriate, ensure they consider future opportunities at Xref. 

Ultimately, the recruitment process represents just one element of the quest to find and hire the best people. It delivers immediate results for current vacancies but also opens up opportunities with a wider talent pipeline for the future. 

With most candidates applying for a number of roles at any one time, making sure your organisation appeals more than the competition, can only come down to the experience you offering during the recruitment process. Make sure they don’t abandon their application with you altogether, due to a poor experience at one or all stages of the journey. 

[Webinar] How to Create the Ultimate Candidate Experience 

Presented by Lewis Matthews


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Xref is a secure, mobile-friendly reference checking platform that significantly reduces time-to-hire and helps protect against candidate fraud.

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