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You’ve done the hard work of gaining interest and buy-in from a candidate and having them apply to an open requisition. That’s an excellent start, but the crucial question is: How to successfully convert an applicant into an employee?
Research shows that 73% of organisations agree that the candidate experience is essential to their business, but less than half believe their recruiting practices are effective. Many firms struggle to keep candidates engaged, with most companies facing an 80% drop-off rate during their employee application process. It’s critical to understand why these applicants are declining to move forward. Candidates resign for various reasons, including inflexible and outdated recruiting technology, lack of follow-up and feedback from unavailable recruiters, and repetitive or time-consuming interview stages. Job seekers in high-demand fields say they’ve even turned down an offer because of a cumbersome hiring process.
How do you create a positive candidate experience during recruitment? Here are five winning strategies that you can use:
Prepare your hiring managers
In today’s competitive marketplace, hiring managers’ commitment to the recruiting process and ability to uncover a candidate’s full potential is crucial. Managers play an important role in ensuring that their organisation can attract the best talent in the market. To do this, they must be able to effectively “sell” the company to potential applicants by presenting a compelling Employee Value Proposition (EVP) case for why the organisation is an ideal fit.
However, with managers’ focus often placed on hiring quickly – for example, to backfill a role – they don’t have time to build a proper rapport, encourage the candidate to share crucial information, and ultimately determine whether that person is a complete fit. During an interview, managers often concentrate on getting the information necessary to meet the short-term goal of hiring someone. While rushing through this process, they can miss key details about candidates’ long-term potential and how well they complement established internal teams and the organisation.
The best way to upskill hiring managers on interviewing techniques is through training sessions focused on appropriate questioning methods, company EVP, building rapport with candidates, and understanding the different types of interviews and their unique purposes. With proper guidance and strategy in interviewing candidates, your managers can quickly uncover deeper information about a potential candidate’s background and qualifications. If short on time, offering self-scheduling options to interviewees might be a valuable technique to consider. Allowing candidates to schedule their own interviews frees up more time for your managers to focus on candidate research and interview preparation.
Personalising communication can make a big difference in how applicants perceive their overall experience during the hiring process. Taking time to send creative and customised messages at the start of the recruitment process makes candidates feel respected as individuals rather than just numbers in a sea of applicants. If a candidate has been waiting longer than expected for feedback, sending a bespoke text or email message can help alleviate any anxiety, letting them know that their application is still being considered.
Communication at the later stages of the process is equally important. Before any virtual interview, hiring managers should research candidates’ previous job experiences, hobbies, and social media presence. This will help create an inviting atmosphere that shows you’re interested in who the candidates are as individuals and not just their qualifications.
During the interview, make sure to ask applicants what sets them apart or makes them unique. This information can be used in a timely follow-up email referencing what was discussed and thanking the candidate for the valuable insight shared. Such a personalised approach will create an atmosphere of respect and trust that will make your organisation stand out from the competition.
Keep candidates informed
Informing candidates about hiring deadlines and where they are in the process is critical to keeping them engaged and interested. Research suggests that 96% of candidates will apply for jobs at a company they know will keep them well-informed during the application process. Lack of contact from the potential employer can often lead candidates to become unresponsive or drop out entirely from consideration. Meanwhile, over 6 in 10 job seekers say they never or rarely ever hear back regarding their applications.
Many candidates are left in the dark during the interview process due to a lack of feedback. Experienced recruiters should prepare candidates by setting expectations, building a relationship, and sharing essential information to understand selection criteria. Job seekers who feel their time is not respected during the recruiting process may be unmotivated to continue and decide against pursuing a role.
If deciding not to move forward with the potential hire, managers need to give actionable feedback, so interviewees understand why they weren’t selected. Even if it’s bad news, timely feedback conveys respect for someone’s time and effort – plus, it gives the person closure. Additionally, employers can offer constructive advice on how the applicant could improve their chances of being hired or recommend another role within the company that could be a better fit.
Employers must have a robust and agile governance model to manage and track all communication. At Pontoon, we work with clients to help set clear expectations, escalation paths, and a roadmap of the candidate journey that is repeatable and easy to follow. This provides quick and smooth access to all key stakeholders and a corrective action plan and process change if needed.
A mobile-first approach
Companies must ensure their recruitment process is optimised for mobile to attract the best possible talent. Failing to do so puts them at a competitive disadvantage as they miss out on an essential portion of potential hires. According to a survey by Glassdoor, 35% of job seekers would prefer to apply from their phones.
With the talent pool growing more competitive daily, companies must ensure their hiring process is accessible and convenient. Talent analytics help find and source untapped talent pools, while mobile-friendly recruitment techniques give employers access to more people, including digital-native Gen Zers.
Regardless of the industry, having a clearly defined mobile strategy can significantly impact a company’s ability to acquire top talent.
Work with an experienced recruiting partner
It takes time and dedication to discover the right balance between technology and the human touch, which can vary depending on the candidate (age, culture, roles, etc.). That’s why having an experienced partner to help streamline your recruiting process is so important. With knowledge and insight into the current job market, firms specialising in recruitment have access to specialised screening and sourcing technology and resources, which means decreased time to fill and better candidate management.
At Pontoon, our talent advisors partner with clients to help them understand what job seekers want, implementing a personalised approach to improve the candidate experience. With the perfect blend of analytics, advisory services, and process analysis, we create a customised communication strategy for our clients focused on keeping applicants informed. We’ll help you identify ideal talent channels and shortlist candidates to ensure you hire qualified and engaged candidates. By reducing the candidate shortlist-to-interview rate, we will decrease your time to fill.
Creating an enjoyable candidate experience should be a top priority for any employer. By personalising communications, keeping candidates informed throughout each step of their journey, and providing timely feedback, organisations can increase their chances of attracting top talent while maintaining positive relationships with all potential employees – even those who don’t get hired. An improved candidate experience means better engagement among potential hires and higher retention rates once new employees join your team – ultimately leading your business toward success.
Learn more about Pontoon’s Recruitment eXperience Outsourcing (RXO) solution.