Candidate Experience: Using History to Improve Future Results

When it comes to recruiting, the importance of providing a good candidate experience during the application process is often understated. There are many stories in the recruiting pyramid leading to a successful placement, but the basic building block upon which the process rests is the candidate. There can be no successful hires or tenured employees without quality candidates. Especially in today’s hyper-connected world where airing one’s grievances and frustrations with the application and interview process is as simple as posting a Glassdoor review, recruiters can’t expect to attract quality candidates without a good candidate experience.

So how can recruiters improve the candidate experience? Let’s oversimplify it: in order to do so, candidates should be treated better. How? Recruiters should learn where the pain points are in the hiring process, then eliminate those issues. In order to learn the pain points, the candidate experience should be quantified and tracked. Of course it’s easier said than done, but every great journey starts with a single step.

Learning the Pain Points

Despite the ubiquity of big data, few companies actively evaluate candidate satisfaction throughout their recruiting and onboarding process. Those that do see an increase in their quality of hires, leading to quicker onboarding times and a lower turnover rate. Since candidate satisfaction is essential to quality hires, and thus leads to employer satisfaction, so too is a good candidate experience.

However, measuring candidate experience isn’t as cut and dried as measuring time-to-fill or source-of-hiring rates. One way to evaluate candidate experience is through the use of a survey sent to individuals after hire. Survey questions should focus on how well the recruiter or hiring manager communicated the job and company descriptions, the candidate’s interview experiences, and his or her initial impressions of the job and company after the start date. This can shed light on weaknesses in the recruiting process, as well as sending a message to candidates that the recruiter is concerned with their job satisfaction beyond just making a placement.

In the event that the job is not the right fit for the candidate and he or she leaves within the first few months, if the candidate has a highly marketable skill set and had a good experience during and after the hiring process, there should be no apprehension in working with the same recruiter or hiring manager again should an opportunity arise that’s a better fit. Additionally, the recruiter may have to return to his or her original candidate pool to backfill the same position. Assuming the candidates who were not originally hired had an equally good experience throughout the first round of the search, they will be more likely to consider an offer the second time around.

Promoting Positive Change

Further information can be gleaned by monitoring candidates’ progress as they move through and beyond the onboarding process as new employees. Nearly one-third of workers quit a job within their first six months of employment. While it’s impossible to determine the perfect candidate fit 100 percent of the time, maintaining a high level of candidate satisfaction throughout the recruiting process can help mitigate the number of employees who leave shortly after hire.

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Though the volume of candidates that most recruiters place would make it impossible to follow up with all of them, choosing a few top candidates who were considered major successes may provide a useful cross-section from which to determine candidate satisfaction leading to future success with their employer. Monitoring the time-to-productivity by following up with placed candidates at crucial points in their employment, such as the one-month, three-month or six-month mark, can offer additional feedback on candidate experience predictive of employee performance. This information can then be used to guide future searches and placements.

When asked how recruiters can better meet their needs, a common answer among employers is requesting better quality candidates. By connecting the chain of causation, recruiters can determine that candidate satisfaction is integral to attracting quality candidates, which in turn leads to employer satisfaction. While numbers determining candidate experience are not as easily measured as other recruiting metrics, by reaching out to placed candidates and soliciting feedback, recruiters can progressively work to eliminate difficulties in the interviewing and hiring process, collecting the data necessary to improve candidate satisfaction, and ultimately impacting employer satisfaction.

Learn More

Join us on Thursday, April 27, 2017, at 2 p.m. Eastern time for a free webinar with Erin M. Stevens of MasterBrand Cabinets. Attendees will gain insight on what winning recruiting teams are doing to ensure outstanding candidate experiences, including: how to work with hiring managers, how to build stronger relationships, and how to refine processes. Register here.

John Feldmann is a writer, blogger and content developer for Insperity, a leading provider of human resources and business performance solutions. He has more than a decade of marketing and copywriting experience in the recruiting and advertising industries, working with clients in such disciplines as real estate, construction, engineering, accounting, healthcare and technology. He currently specializes in employment branding and recruitment marketing.

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4 Comments on “Candidate Experience: Using History to Improve Future Results

  1. Insightful piece. The notion of using the candidate experience to gain quality hires is parallel to high employee engagement leads to employee referrals. Your point on measuring candidate experience though can be not only cumbersome (surveys etc) but dishonest. Think of a new hire scenario with a poor experience through the interview process but the position, culture and company is what enticed the candidate to work there. The data you gain as an HR professional could be inaccurate/ not helpful if measuring on solely the hiring experience.

    However, your point of ‘promoting positive change’ and continually measuring recruiting experience could be a cure from the lack of data hiring managers have on the entire hiring process.

    Thanks again for the insightful piece. Have a great day!

    1. Thank you for the comment! You make a good point in that follow-up information gained by employers through candidate surveys may be weighed differently depending on whether the company is using a corporate or agency recruiter. However, I disagree that the info wouldn’t be helpful.

      If a candidate had a negative interview experience with a corporate recruiter, it would signify that the company’s interview process needs to change as it may be driving away good candidates. If they used a third-party recruiter, it would alert the employer that they may not want to work with that recruiter or agency on future searches. Even follow-up surveys by agency recruiters could provide valuable feedback on their interview and screening process.

  2. Well done, John. Such a key here is the opt out rate that many candidates experience in the ATS. Some of the best candidates will opt out even before you know who they are. Make sure the front end of the process is easy for the candidate. Walk them through an 11-step mandatory application process and its doomed to failure.

    1. Very true! A difficult and tedious application process will frustrate good candidates before they even reach the interview stage. Combine that with a non-responsive recruiter or hiring manager and you have the perfect recipe for a bad candidate experience.

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