People hate buzzwords and cliche business phrases. Through constant overuse (and misuse) they end up adding obscurity to the intent of original messages and inhibit effective communication. Over the past couple of years "Candidate Experience" has been gaining popularity in usage, leading some to possibly add it to the long list of annoying business jargon. Doing so however, may be putting your company at a severe disadvantage in future recruiting efforts as well as negatively impact your bottom line.
Whether you like it or not, your company has an employment brand that candidates consider before applying. Maybe you work in HR for Google, Apple, or another company whose employer branding is so strong that it can afford hits to it's reputation. But for the vast majority of companies, this is not the case. The job-seekers of today are the friends and colleagues of future candidates, and they will share their experience of the hiring process. Can your company afford a negative reputation that precludes it from being considered?
And future talent pool aside, take into consideration that the candidate experience is likely the first impression that your future hires will have with your company. If they feel disrespected during the process to be on-boarded, how is their morale going to be once they start? You'll be fighting an uphill battle to keep them around from the beginning. And that's under the assumption they even accept your employment offer. Research shows that a staggering 83% of candidates will change their mind based on a poor experience surrounding an interview. The hiring process is the first glimpse prospective employees have into your company culture.
APPLICANTS ARE CUSTOMERS
There are also unintended consequences of negative candidate experience that extend beyond the problems it can cause with talent sourcing. Most importantly, keep in mind that either now or in the future, job-seekers are likely to be customers too. Your employment brand rolls up into the larger branding of the company. Bad candidate experiences cause damage to your brand as a whole, and a great deal of those with sour feelings from the process will spend less money with your company going forward while influencing family and friends to do the same. Also consider that since they are applying for jobs in your industry, these candidates may end up working for a client or future client. What is the potential impact and influence of harbored resentment from the inside of a business partnership?
THE BIG FIX
While there are countless articles online about how to improve the candidate experience for your applicants, the key focus of all of them is COMMUNICATION. Clear and effective feedback is the most resounding source of negative experiences, including among those who end up receiving an offer. More than 90% of candidates report zero contact after submitting a résumé or application, and only 20% received a final communication after taking time out of their schedule to interview.
Let me respond to what you're thinking in your head as you read that. Yes, you will have to spend additional time on that communication. It doesn't need to be a monumental hurdle. For applicants you don't wish to interview, a simple email suffices. This can be done via template without excessive personalization. For the select group that you do interview, set a reasonable expectation for when they can hear back. Regardless if the outcome is a yes or no, you should call or send a more personalized email with your decision within that timeline.
For more resources on improving candidate experience: