The Candidate Experience

The ‘candidate experience’ has become a buzzword these days. “It’s so crucial to have a positive candidate experience,” and, “What kind of candidate experience do we want our company to have?” These are the ideas swirling around in the already jam-packed brains of human resources professionals and hiring managers. So, how do we define this?

First, let’s talk about the candidate. After all, that’s who this is all about, right? They are working hard to sell themselves to a company, a manager, and often times, a culture. We talk about ‘culture fit’, and it is every bit as important to candidates coming into an organization as is it to the organization that works so hard to create it.

More and more research emphasizes the job market being a candidate-controlled market right now. Employers have more open jobs now than ever, and there are also more qualified, talented candidates with multiple job offers in front of them than ever before. And as these candidates consider the offers in front of them, deciding which one is best, weighing the pros and cons of each, we as the employer can feel powerless. We sit and we wait, hoping they choose us.

So, how can we turn the tables? How can we as the employer take this control back again?

It’s called the candidate experience. And we have a responsibility to make it an incredibly good one. From the very first email or phone call, to the interview, the follow-up, the offer, all the way to the door of their orientation day, it all needs to be tailored in a way that makes the candidate feel important.

While there are a multitude of things that make the candidate experience a positive one, overwhelming feedback from candidates say that communication is the biggest indicator of a good experience. People like to be acknowledged and heard. While constant communication can be tough – let’s be real, we all have a lot to do in a day! – a simple, brief email to the candidate, letting them know you will keep them informed can go a long way.

The other thing we as employers need to do is put ourselves in the candidate’s shoes. While the interview process can be a tedious and necessary evil in our busy schedules, we have to remember that we’re interviewing these candidates for OUR company, and OUR team. We want the best, don’t we? So let’s mirror what we’re asking of them. Let’s be prepared, polite and professional. Let’s show up and be present. Even if we’ve met with ten people already, it might be the eleventh person who makes all ten before him worth it. The candidate is testing us just as much as we are. We want to make sure we present an opportunity that is lucrative, challenging, satisfying and fun. Work is such a huge part of life, so let’s all try a little harder to have a good time doing it.



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