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The Candidate Experience

July 21, 2021

Why It’s Important

By Joey Miller

  • Only 25% of candidates report having a great candidate experience (Mya, 2020).
  • 69% of candidates want to see employer response time improved (Mya, 2020).
  • A positive candidate experience makes candidates 38% more likely to accept a job offer (IBM, 2017).

In the competitive candidate marketplace we face today, companies sometimes forget the candidate experience is one of the most important pieces of attracting and retaining top tier talent. Think of the different candidate experiences that you have had throughout your career and how impactful those experiences have been in leading you to accept or decline a job opportunity. There will always be a multitude of factors involved when deciding to pursue a job opportunity – compensation, leadership, company growth, career growth – to name a few. The one thing that should be a constant focus for hiring managers and recruitment teams is creating an ideal candidate experience.  In doing so, here are some things to consider:

Complex Application Process

  • 60% of job seekers have quit an application in the middle due to its length or complexity (SHRM, 2017).

I was having a conversation with one of my partnering recruiters the other day about a Technical Sales Engineer that she is representing. She identified a job opportunity on LinkedIn for this candidate that seemed like the perfect fit; however, we had never done business with the company. She told me “he likes the opportunity, the company, the compensation, and even has a relationship with the hiring manager, he just did not want to go through their lengthy, multi-step application process and felt that it would be quicker for us to represent him and bypass that process”. It was interesting that something as simple as a lengthy application process would be enough to hinder him from applying all together.  

Lengthy Hiring Process

  • The average time for top tier talent to be on the market is about 10 days while the average time it takes to hire a full time employee in 2021 is 36 days (SHRM, 2017).

For hiring managers, this means that your hiring process should be no more than a maximum of two weeks, and even then, active job seekers will most likely have multiple offers by then. I have a few clients that I have worked with over the years that have felt the need for 5-6 step hiring process that are drawn out over 3-4 weeks. While candidates understand and appreciate the need for companies to be thorough, having a long and drawn out hiring process is exhausting and can be a deterrent in deciding to wait for an offer or move on. On average, I have seen hiring managers lose 1-2 very strong candidates per opening due to a drawn out hiring process.  In order to mitigate the risk of competing against other offers or losing the candidate altogether, it is best to move quickly and efficiently when looking to bring on highly sought after candidates.

Communication and Expectation Setting

One of the most impactful things that hiring managers and recruitment teams can do is setting proper expectations from the beginning. If it is not possible to condense the hiring process into a time period of less than two weeks, then it is vital to communicate how the hiring process works, how often they should hear from you, and approximately how long the process should take. One of the most frustrating things for candidates is having to reach out for updates and going several days without communication. If you are not communicating with your top candidates at least every other day during the hiring process, you run the risk of losing engagement.

Summary

The one thing that should be a constant focus for hiring managers and recruitment teams is creating an ideal candidate experience. Hiring managers can make a huge leap in attracting top talent by reevaluating the length, complexity, and communication style of their company’s hiring process. These are three quick and easy tweaks that are low to no cost to improving the overall candidate experience.

Read more about these statistics, here:

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