Candidate Experience:Just a Buzzword?

We see plenty of corporate throwing around the term Candidate Experience as part of their branding and promotion efforts. What is this development and what does it imply? Like any other industry, the recruitment industry has also experienced a disruption. As far as disruptions are concerned, this one was a welcome change that should have probably happened sooner. Up until now, recruitment processes weren’t primarily candidate centric. By providing a niche for candidate experience, organizations and job-seekers have both achieved great benefits.

What is Candidate Experience and why does it matter so much?

Simply put, it’s the experience offered by an employer to a candidate from the beginning to the end of a recruitment cycle. Then again, it is not a simple and straightforward concept. The implication of this concept is way deeper than it may seem on the surface and the sheer possibility of innovation in this field is overwhelming. To start off, the word candidate refers to all job-seekers – past, present and potential; and experience entails every little aspect of the candidate’s psyche during the entire recruitment process. Let’s take a scenario to understand why this new recruitment strategy has become so important.

A job-seeker applies for a vacancy. He/ she doesn’t get called. He/ she keeps waiting for a response. Weeks pass by. Nothing. The job-seeker tries to get in touch. On the rare occasion that he/ she does get through, he/ she gets a non-concerned party to tend to his/ her queries. He/ she is dismissed.

Did the company lose a potentially talented resource? Yes.

Did the job-seeker find a potentially well-suited role? No.

Does the disappointed job-seeker share the bad experience with friends and possibly potential candidates through social media? Absolutely.

Now this is not the kind of publicity any company would want.

As much as this scenario gives off a negative impression about recruiters in general, this isn’t normally the case. Recruiters are genuinely busy people. Their plates are always full – tasks upon tasks, making connections, updating and managing portals, applications and repositories – it’s almost like hell. Hence, to not respect their efforts would be wrong. Effort, that is probably in the wrong direction. This is where candidate experience and a whole new set of related technological advancements bring things to perspective. It bridges the gap between employers and job-seekers. (If a job-seeker is listening, here’s a new opportunity for you – Candidate Experience Manager.)

Artificial Intelligence paves way for smart recruitment

The introduction of Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence in the recruitment industry has been an absolute game changer. AI powered recruitment solutions have been vital in tackling numerous recruitment challenges and streamlining processes, thereby improving candidate experience.

Here are a few ways in which AI enhances recruitment.

Human effort multiplied

When recruiters skim through numerous resumes, it becomes time-consuming, and they are vulnerable to human errors. With the advent of AI, thousands of resumes can now be screened in great detail, maintaining accuracy and in a matter of seconds. This improves the efficiency of the whole process exponentially and results in better job-candidate matching.

Personalized experience 24*7

AI enables one-on-one engagement with candidates round the clock which has thus far been difficult for recruiters to achieve. This enhances candidate experience as they get timely and personal attention that they expect from an employer. As AI isn’t prone to human constraints, it could engage with any number of candidates simultaneously and continue to deliver value to the candidates throughout the recruitment cycle.

Preliminary interviews

With the help of AI, the preliminary level of shortlisting candidates can now be achieved through chat-bot interfaces. Relieving recruiters of this task allows them to focus their attention and effort on more critical stages of hiring. The screening efficiency of AI coupled with the thorough engagement with potential candidates gives the recruiters all the information they need to make the right choice.

Candidate experience can Make or Break your business

A plethora of online networking channels have empowered people to express themselves without limitations or inhibitions. Websites such as Glassdoor.com even gives space for candidates to share their feedback on the interview process. As much as good user reviews form the best advertisements, bad reviews bring down businesses. Unhappy candidates will want to get back at companies by discontinuing association with them and encouraging others to do the same. For companies, this means tarnished reputation and financial loss. Even big companies take such losses very seriously. A good example of bad candidate experience gone wrong is Virgin Media losing $5 million annually. Yes, $5 million! This is a result of cascading events provoked by mistreated job seekers; in this case, a hopeful candidate being ignored during the interview process.

 5 Ways to rank your Candidate Experience Strategy up a notch

Since we have established that negative candidate experience is potentially destructive, let’s look at some measures by which recruiters can tweak their ways to bring in a competitive advantage through positive candidate experience.

1: Catchy and clear vacancy ads

What makes a company stand apart and seem appealing on a job portal is the way they craft their ads. A boring list of responsibilities that read borderline Greek to an outsider, disappointed gets ignored (unless of course a whopping pay package catches the eye.) This brings us to the next element – information. When you word your ad copy, keep in mind that people don’t just want to know about what is required of them; they want to know what they can get in return. Put everything out there, in clear transparent terms– money, perks, values – everything.

2: Keep people in the know

Mostly when candidates apply to a role, the process keeps them hanging on tenterhooks. Waiting clueless, trying to guess what happens next. Candidates seeking jobs already tend to be insecure. It would do good for recruiters to extend a humane gesture here by keeping them in the loop about the recruitment process and where they are in the whole picture. This is a feel good factor, but goes a long way to build amazing impressions.

3: Applying, Acknowledging and Responding

Time is a very valuable and important commodity in everybody’s lives. Let’s just keep that in mind while we build application processes, shall we? Do you know how many people back out just because the application process is too long and confusing? A simple straightforward approach, asking for just the right amount of information and an activity that can be taken up impulsively and completed successfully within minutes is the perfect deal. It doesn’t matter whether or not you think the applicant should be pushed to the next level, but acknowledgments and responses do matter. Whether it is good news or bad, always stay connected with your candidates.

4: The Interview

Interview is usually the most dreaded part of the recruitment process for many job seekers. The anxiety, the expectations, the pressure of this crucial step is trying, undoubtedly. On the flip side, good interview experiences build positive candidate experiences. An informal air over discussions, a walk around the workplace, exposing company culture and vibes – give a feel of what it means to be part of your company. A candidate who leaves an interview like that would never forget the experience (in a good way!) which in turn will build goodwill for the company.

5: Build Lasting Relationships

In most cases, recruiters either let go of a candidate who is not the right match or let them be buried somewhere in a pretty huge database to be forgotten. It would be a great idea to pull out those profiles now and again and keep the connections active. Even after the interview is over, recruiters must make sure not to sever communication channels with the candidates. Building relationships is the best way to secure an active talent pool. Organizing events or even sending them interesting mailers would do the trick and keep them abreast of the company’s presence because such efforts ensure they keep feeling positive about the prospect of joining the company at any point in the future.

Not such a hideous buzzword after all

Optimizing candidate experience is an ongoing process. Recruiters apply strategies, measure results, make changes; at the end of the day, it’s an amazing buzzword to be experimenting with. While the human factor continues to be an integral part of this process, there is so much that can be achieved with the help of AI and related technologies. We build solutions that help resolve recruiting challenges. Get in touch with us and let us help you design a way to take your recruitment process to a whole other level.

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