In the interest of transparency, let’s get the candidate experience controversy out of the way right off the bat here: Not every job candidate is going to have the best candidate experience with your company.
How elitist of us! Go on, throw your tomatoes. But when you’re ready, consider the last time you shopped for bedsheets, or home improvement tools … big box stores often sell these items in terms (or even aisles) of good, better, and best. Sheets for the guest bed that’s most often the dog bed? Good is good enough. Painting the dining room, home to a thousand dinner parties? Only the best will do.
This post will outline nine ways to help move your company from a good, to a better, to the best job candidate experience you can give your applicants.
Two of the most important things to remember when using these nine good, better and best tips to improve your candidate experience:
You’re going to need a frame of reference for these, so think back to the last few times you stayed at various hotels. Got it? Ok, here we go!
Remember that time you’d been on the highway for six hours straight, and if you didn’t get some sleep (or the little ones out of the car), you’d be risking bodily injury to those around you? The first well-lit hotel with vacancy, low rates, and a clean bathroom suited you just fine. You came, you slept, you had free coffee in the morning and you were perfectly pleased with the whole shebang.
That’s the good candidate experience. Nothing to write home about, but nothing bad to write about it either.
The best parts of that hotel stay? Efficiency, simplicity and cleanliness.When you’re trying to fill multiple positions in a short time period (and who isn’t?), these three will not only be your best friends, but they’ll also be your applicants’, as well.
The Free Coffee? Go Mobile. 45% of job seekers say they use their mobile device specifically to search for jobs at least once a day. Make the most of these mobile searchers by giving them a mobile-optimized application with:
Next up on our hotel holiday? That business trip to a mid-sized city you didn’t know too well. You weren’t going to overspend on the company dime, but you still needed reliable access to certain amenities — zippy internet access, easy transport to your clients in the morning, and someplace for dinner nearby. You went with a brand-name hotel you read some reviews about earlier. Post check-in, you noticed that earned some points on the company card, and the concierge gave you some walkable restaurant choices. In the morning, you didn’t have time for the breakfast bar, but they had apples you could squeeze into your bag for your midday snack.
That’s the better candidate experience. You’ll absolutely go back the next time you’re in Mid-Sized City, and you might even seek out that brand in other locales.
This one’s all about the comfort level. The better candidate experience has all of the efficiency and cleanliness of the good one, but you’re doubling down on the amenities your company offers them along the way — usually for mid-tier roles and responsibilities.
“Is there anything you didn’t get a chance to talk about today that you think we should know?”
For every interview question that the applicant feels they stumbled on along the way, offer them this question at the end. It’s the opportunity they may need to walk out the door with confidence.
The Midday-Snack Apple: Give Negative Feedback. The vast majority of your applicants will be rejected, which means hundreds of people per year go through this with you. Give these hundreds a reason to appreciate your organization anyway. Offer honest, delicate feedback about why the candidate wasn’t suitable for the role, and how they could improve.
It’s a considerate way to give your rejected candidates something that will serve them well later on.
Last stop on our hotel trip through time! The annual family trip. You went all out — months of online review-scouring finally found you the higher-end hotel that would fit your whole family, including Scrappy the Great Dane. Once there, you enjoyed pre-booked reservations at a spa for you (and Scrappy!), the concierge scored tickets to that show you thought would be sold out at this late date, housekeeping folded your fresh bathroom towels into swans for the kids, and breakfast was made-to-order room service with free mimosas for Mom & Dad. A few days after your stay, they even sent you that souvenir Sno-Globe you left on your room’s dresser.
That’s the best candidate experience. You’ll be their brand ambassador for years, with your Facebook feed of pictures of the kids hugging Carla the Concierge and Scrappy’s painted toenails.
This is for the company that plays the long game, for roles with a higher level of responsibility and/or a tighter talent market. These recruits can take months or years to close, but when they do? So worth it.
3. Ask How it Went. The best way to continue to improve your candidate experience is to continue to ask candidates how they feel about it. An ATS like Breezy lets you automate a questionnaire to go out to your interviewees after they’ve completed the process, and revisit answers monthly.
The Sno-Globe: Send a custom thank card or gift bag. A little swag never hurt anyone! When you’re still unsure about a candidate, a branded mug with a note (“I noticed that you were drinking coffee the whole day!”) recognizes that they spent their valuable time with you. When you’re ready to welcome them to the team, a gift basket with their new name tag and a bottle of wine (“See you Monday!”) says you’re glad they’re coming aboard.
Bottom Line: Awesome recruiters know that every candidate experience matters. The key is to consider the right improvements for the right situations, and then use your best judgement. You’re looking to make the most meaningful changes to your candidate experience for the resources you spend, and we hope we’ve helped you spot them!