How candidate experience can help you hire better in 2021

Recruitment managers are looking at 2021 as a major turning point in the way hiring works. Businesses are eager to learn how to attract better talent in 2021, considering that lots of operational and market dynamics have changed forever.

As hiring talent becomes more challenging, recruiters are increasingly focusing on building a great candidate experience, because of the direct and tangible benefits it brings. 

Candidate experience – the way candidates feel about your organization as they pass through various stages of your hiring process – is becoming increasingly important for a number of reasons. That’s because good candidates have lots of choices and if you don’t make your organization a desirable place to work at, they are unlikely to consider you further. 

Why candidate experience is important

In general, we can say that candidate experience is important because it helps recruiters attract top talent, makes more people inclined to accept a role in your organization, encourages referrals and enhances employer branding, among other things.

Here’s three reasons why is candidate experience important:

  • Build a stronger reputation: The rise of digital platforms has made reviews and ratings by candidates and employees more widely known and more relied upon as we move ahead in 2021. A stronger candidate experience contributes hugely to a better reputation for your organization.
  • Carve a stronger position : A positive candidate experience puts you in an advantageous position. That’s because candidates take positive experience as evidence of stronger business processes, something that will help them perform better once they are hired.
  • Engage better from the start: A favorable candidate experience evolves when you engage better with the potential hire at every touchpoint from the start. This engagement, in turn, positively impacts your most important recruiting KPIs.

Benefits of a positive candidate experience

Among the several benefits of a positive candidate experience, we will discuss the top three:

  • Attract better talent: While you’d like to evaluate candidates at length, there’s also the challenge of attrition – candidates dropping off at different stages of the recruitment process. With a strong candidate experience strategy, you can ensure more talented people remain in your selection process till the end. As an end result, you have a better talent pool to choose from.
  • Fetches you a better ROI: All the exercises directed to improve candidate experience make your recruitment process more efficient. A stronger experience is a direct reflection of how mature your hiring is. Put differently, a good candidate experience yields you a better ROI against all the resources you invest in your hiring process.
  • Improves your brand as an employer: All hiring managers know that the candidates do substantial research about an organization before they get around to actually applying. Your employer branding in 2021 is directly related to candidate experience, so the benefits of a favorable experience directly trickle down to your employer branding.

How candidate experience can help you hire better in 2021

We can easily see that candidate experience is invaluable in getting you better employer branding or fetching a higher ROI.

But how exactly can candidate experience help you hire better talent in 2021?

Here are the five ways:

  1. Better acceptance rates: You’ve seen more candidates walk away without accepting the offer than you’d care to remember. And all the resources you’ve invested in evaluating, background checks, processing documents… all that’s wasted Better candidate experience is synonymous with higher acceptance rates. Organizations that provide a superior candidate experience see more candidates accepting the final offer. And there’s a strong reason why. Candidates who are interviewing with you are, in all likelihood, considering other job offers as well. They are a lot more open to relocate globally, and therefore they’re likely talking to businesses in more than one geographies. As a result, they are evaluating you just as they’re evaluating other organizations.
    So when they see how much you value the selection process, they understand you essentially value people. That will directly lead to improved post-offer conversion rates. 
  2. Stronger leverage through candidates you turned down: An interesting thing organizations often overlook is the power of the rejected candidates. For every candidate you’ve selected, there are probably dozens you turned down. Paradoxically, the candidates that you didn’t select influence the quality of people you’ll get to hire today and later. Many of these candidates will be sharing their experience online and offering reviews and ratings about your hiring process. If you’ve provided timely communication, said thank you for their time, updated candidates with their hiring status, and generally made them feel valued and important, rejected candidates will walk away with a favorable opinion about your organization and your hiring process. In 2021, we see more people being hired remotely. So candidates are increasingly relying upon the experience, reviews and rating others have shared  online about your organization. Better your ratings and reviews, more the number of candidates (read more talented candidates) will consider applying. 
  3. Improved application completion rate:  The application completion rate, or the number of candidates who complete the entire application expressed as a percentage of the number of candidates who began this process, is a strong indicator of whether your candidate engagement is headed the right way. How long your application takes to complete will impact how soon candidates will begin dropping off. For instance, a Recruiter study estimates that if your application needs more than 15 minutes to complete, application completion rates could drop by a heavy 365%.You can learn a number of things from this. One way of looking at it will be to say that if you can make your employer brand stronger and your overall candidate experience outstanding, you might be able to prevent candidates from dropping off.
    The hiring process steps should pay attention on how you can cut down your application time. Today, when people can do a huge number of transactions by a simple click of the mouse, there’s no reason why your application time should be inordinately long. If you can shorten the time required to complete your application, you’ll be able to improve candidate experience in recruitment and get a richer talent pool to work with. 
  4. Higher referrals from existing employees: If you want to buy a new car, you will likely be speaking to the existing customers – the people who are currently using that model. And if the users are happy, they’ll say good things about the model, which, in turn, is more likely to make you buy that model. Accepting a job offer is not dramatically different. If your current employees are happy with your organization, they’ll tell people about your great recruitment process, your onboarding process and so on. Because opinions of existing employees are valued highly, your potential candidates will pay a lot of attention to these opinions. They interpret this as a sign of a great organization and become more favorably disposed to exploring career opportunities with your organization – all thanks to efficient candidate experience management.
  5. Richer pipeline for future hiring: Smart hiring managers genuinely value their candidate’s time. Maintaining accurate job descriptions, keeping candidates updated at every stage of the selection process, answering their questions promptly … all these are signs that the organization is investing in 1:1 recruitment. And candidates value this and remember this. Or when you have more great candidates than you have openings, you naturally have to turn down a few of them. But when you are considerate enough to thank them and explain why they haven’t been hired, it’s not about a part of some smart recruitment tactics, it’s about showing you value their skills and their time.  
  6. Candidate experience best practices ensure proactive recruitment managers look beyond the current requirements or the current talent pool. It helps them build a pipeline for the future. That way, when there’s a requirement in the future, they can reap the benefits.

Final words

No matter the size of your organization, you want to be sure every stage of the entire recruitment process is optimized. A solid candidate experience strategy is not an option, it’s mandatory. That said, it’s no mean challenge.

A very huge component of building a great candidate experience is communications, something that can be effectively automated if you have a great talent management software.

The huge transformation that the pandemic has ushered in is here to stay through 2021 and beyond. Your talent management system will have to rise to these challenges in order to help you hire better. When you can leverage your hiring system to consistently deliver a superior candidate interview experience, you will be able to build great, future-proof teams.