Though a lot has changed over the last few months, one thing has stayed the same: great candidate experience is still the gold standard for today’s top-performing companies.
Nearly 4 in 5 candidates (78%) say their candidate experience is an indicator of how a company values its people, so from personal emails to easy-to-use interview scheduling, the little touches really do make a huge difference to your future employees and your brand reputation.
Sound crucial? That’s because it is.
As more companies decide to stay remote post-pandemic and struggle to navigate the ‘new normal’, the overall commitment to candidate experience (CX) has slipped—with a whopping 60%+ failing to address the pandemic’s impact on candidates.
That has to change.
We’ve written about improving the candidate experience before, but now it’s time for some real talk about how this applies to the new world of remote work.
So, buckle up for the full CX lowdown.
Back to basics: What is candidate experience?
Candidate experience is a jobseeker’s interaction with a brand from the moment they first connect to the time an offer is extended (or they are disqualified).
Think of it as a company’s report card from its candidates.
Anyone who goes through the hiring process should leave feeling great about their experience—from the job search right on through to the application process, interview and onboarding.
You need to think about CX 100% of the time. Because according to an IBM report, almost half of candidates have interactions with a brand before even applying for a role.
In other words: great candidate experience is everything.
Not sure where you stand with your job applicants and candidates? You’ve got to give feedback to get it. This guide to giving candidates feedback they’ll actually appreciate is a great place to start.
Candidate experience 2.0: How coronavirus changed the world of CX
There’s no denying the pandemic has changed the way we work.
Before Covid-19 hit, only 7% of US workers were regularly home-based. That stat leapt to a whopping 88% during lockdown, and remains high (about 55%) even as regulations relax.
Meanwhile, the number of workers filing for unemployment has hit record levels—meaning a wave of anxious candidates is flooding the job market.
So, why prioritize CX when there’s so much else to deal with?
- You need top talent to strengthen your brand.
- Those candidates need to know you’ve got their back.
If you want to improve your CX (and you should want to) it’s time to give it all you’ve got and show candidates you care.
Know your candidates
One of the most important things to nail from day one is understanding who’s going to reply to your job ad.
After all, with the cost of a bad hire reaching up to $15K, there are big incentives to attract the right candidates, the first time.
We’ll let you in on a secret, though: if you want to catch a big fish, you’ll need to use the right bait. 🎣
Today’s jobseekers are picky—and the pandemic has only reinforced candidates’ desires for great company culture—so if you want to attract top talent, these are the things that matter:
- Address coronavirus trauma: From nationwide job losses to illness, anxiety and isolation, there’s no denying that coronavirus has been traumatic for everyone. To improve candidate experience, put yourself in their shoes, recognize the trauma and focus on supporting candidates through this difficult time in any way you can.
- Reassure anxious candidates: Almost all of your candidate pool will have been affected by the pandemic in some way, so make sure you tackle the issue head-on. Be open about how you’ve handled things so far, add a coronavirus statement to your website, and be ready to discuss Covid-related questions.
- Offer flexible-working: Your job roles need to reflect that you understand the uncertainty of modern life. Think: Remote working, job shares and flexi-time options. Plus, if you’re a Breezy user, you can let candidates choose the best interview times for them with self-scheduling.
- Build a conscious brand: Job loyalty is rising in businesses that address issues around diversity, sustainability and reskilling, so be open about your values to attract top talent. (More on this next 😉).
Build your brand
From the language you use to the tools you choose, every element of your brand should reflect the candidates you want to attract—because the way a business presents itself has a direct impact on hiring.
In fact, according to LinkedIn’s 2017 Global Recruiting Trends report, 80%+ of leaders say employer branding has a significant impact on their ability to hire top talent.
Think of your candidates’ dream company as a honeypot—to attract the best, you need the sweetest offer. 🍯🐝
Here are a few ideas to bring in top talent:
- Make it easy to apply: Rather than waiting for candidates to come to you, you need to head to where they hang out. Think: niche job boards and social media.
- Update your website: Think of your website as your online storefront. It needs to make potential candidates feel at home, and every detail of it should shout about your brand’s highlights. “When people come looking for work on your company site and have a bad experience, it turns away top talent.” says Hamza Khan, CEO of Splash Effect.
- Share employee stories: Help candidates visualize what it’s like working for you by being open about the everyday experiences of your employees.
Streamline your remote systems
Here’s where it pays to do your remote systems homework.
There’s a mountain of different software out there, all designed to make remote hiring easier—but that doesn’t mean any of it actually works that well.
Forget wasting time, money and effort finding a tool for every purpose—what you really need is a smart applicant tracking system (ATS) that’s easy to set up and can integrate with other programs.
In a 2018 report, Josh Bersin, Founder of Bersin by Deloitte, explained how your ATS should feel: “All these wonderful HR apps should be natural, easy, and integrated into our work environment—we should be able to chat, click, or swipe and the HR tools we use should be as integrated into our lives as email, text messaging, or our favorite mobile app.”
Imagine a hiring process that’s as easy and fun as logging onto WhatsApp or Instagram. That’s what we call a great candidate experience! 😍
Here are a few features to look out for when choosing a smart ATS:
- Video interviews: In today’s world, many candidates need remote interview options. Look for easy-to-use video features to make interviewing remote candidates a dream.
- Integration options: Integration is the name of the game when it comes to choosing an ATS for your company. The best tool will slide right into your existing processes with minimal fuss.
- Automated personal emails: The best ATS will focus on great candidate communications. Look out for the option to send personalized emails to entire candidate pools and say ‘hey’ to your candidates with the click of a button.
- Interview self-scheduling: Candidates have lives too. For the ultimate CX, give them the option of choosing an interview time that works for them.
Commit to a candidate experience revamp
With everything that’s going on in the world, your candidates deserve some TLC.
From brightening up their days with a personalized email, to showing them they matter with flexible working options, your revamp can be simple—especially if you invest in a smart ATS to show you the way.
It’s time to build a remote candidate experience your applicants will never forget.
Because great candidate experience is no longer just an option—it’s a necessity.