The importance of communication for the candidate experience


The importance of communication for the candidate experience

You will often hear HR people and experts argue whether the recruitment process should be more geared towards the clients, the companies that hire; or the candidates, the potential employees. If we are being absolutely and even brutally honest, this is something that will depend on the times and the industry.

Today, due to the declining employee loyalty and the ever-increasing need for trained professionals, recruitment is turning more to the candidate. It is not like recruiters are forgetting about the employers, but attracting candidates and working with them definitely feels more important today than a few years ago, especially in certain industries.

In other words, the candidate experience has become more important than it has been in a long time, especially under the influence of new technologies.

One thing has not changed, though, and that is the role of good communication in the candidate experience.

Candidate Experience in Numbers

There have been quite a few surveys done into how candidates see their potential employers and the recruiters that they worked with. While the percentages do not always match perfectly, there are definitely a few trends that can be observed even by the least observant of people.

For example, in 2015, a team from The Talent Board released their annual report where they discovered that over 40% of candidates whose experience was poor decided to take their loyalty somewhere else. Moreover, a third of them said they would share their negative experience on social media. These days, this is a huge problem.

Almost 90% of the interviewed people said that something as simple as not getting an application confirmation is enough for them to identify the candidate experience as a bad one.

The Recruitment and Employment Federation did a similar survey and they discovered that more than a third of the interviewees said that application and interview feedback was the thing employers needed to address the most. That same survey included employers and only 3% of them identified this as the primary problem for candidates.

There are plenty more interesting surveys and numbers, but this is enough to paint a very clear picture – candidates are very sensitive when it comes to their experience and it seems the companies and the recruiters are not doing enough.

Taking Care of the Basics

The good news is that enhancing the candidate experience does not really take that much. As mentioned above, a simple application confirmation email is a good step towards making a candidate understand that their application is actually being looked at. If they went in for an interview, they expect to be notified and notified soon.

It really comes to the basics. A candidate wishes to understand where they are in the whole narrative. They want to know that their application is acknowledged and that someone is inspecting it. They want to know when they can expect some news, at least an automated heads up that the applications are still being reviewed. If the process is being handled in strictly-defined phases, the candidates would like to know if they made it out of the first round or not.

If rejected, it is common courtesy to inform the candidates that they are not being considered any longer and that they can start looking elsewhere for employment. Even if it is bad news, it is basic news and the candidates have the right to know about it.

For recruiters, this means being in constant contact with employers and even perhaps being a bit boring about information on their candidates. It is highly likely that the employers will be perfectly happy to provide feedback, as long as they are asked politely.

Taking It a Step Further

Of course, there is more to the candidate experience than just being forward with where the candidate stands within the recruitment process.

For many candidates, the basic job descriptions will not do. This is especially true for top talent that has seen a number of companies and that understand that there are innumerable nuances to every position and every company.

For instance, if the position is one that is not strictly defined traditionally, the employer and the recruiter might want to give as close a description of exactly what it will entail as possible. Doing an extra step in describing the potential contract might also help attract top talent. In short, job descriptions need to be done comprehensively.

Job descriptions can often feel a bit formulaic and skimpy on the details when it comes to describing the company. Many candidates want to learn more about the company they are approaching, especially experienced professionals who know company culture can be very important.

This is where recruiters can show their strength and provide the candidates with additional info about the company. Just as an example, they can tell them whether the company uses a work schedule generator or whether this is something that is handled on-the-fly. Maybe the candidate will want to know about how the company handles maternity or paternity leave?

It is all about the information

Closing Word

As you can see, it all boils down to communication. When the recruiter and/or the employer are happy to provide as much information as can possibly be shared with candidates, it makes for a candidate experience that will not sour the candidate and that will be able to land the employer the absolute best talent.

Turning this into standard practice is the next step.

James Burbank

James D. Burbank has spent a decade and a half in the trade show industry, seeing businesses all over the world succeed and fail. He has also seen innumerable facets of the employer-employee relationship. If you find the time, you can also check out his blog – BizzMarkBlog.

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