Simple, but not necessarily easy. Most businesses don’t provide the experience candidates are looking for—which means that if you do, you’ll blow your competition out of the water in attracting and retaining top talent.
That’s why it’s essential to get candidate experience right.
You’ll get fewer applications from the wrong candidates and more from the right ones, which means less time sifting through emails and resumes from people who aren’t a good fit. And it gets even better, because ideal candidates will also be more engaged with the recruitment process, and therefore more likely to accept your offer.
Here are 3 simple steps any business can take to improve their candidate experience.
Step 1: Anticipate questions before they’re asked
Candidates will come to you with questions. Of course they will, because they’re human beings making a major life decision.
So think ahead about what those questions might be, and answer them honestly before anyone even has to ask.
Don’t try to hide anything or sweep the ugly stuff under the rug. Just put it all out there: the good stuff and the tough stuff.
Give people everything they need to make a decision up front, and they’ll fall in love with the job you’re actually offering, as opposed to a fictional job that doesn’t exist.
(Or they won’t and they’ll look elsewhere, which is good for everyone.)
Candidates should be able to decide early whether an open position and a company are a good fit for them, so make that decision easy for them.
Step 2: Create the content that answers those questions
Creating content is easier said than done, of course. Here are six ideas you can use to set your candidate experience apart.
Think about job descriptions as job ads
Skip the long list of requirements. Instead, provide a concise description of what the experience of a job will be like.
- How will you measure success?
- What kind of person is likely to succeed in the role?
- What will the first 30, 60, and 90 days look like?
Write like a human being, and pitch the job in a way that will resonate with your ideal candidate. Enhance written descriptions with videos and images if you can.
(Simon Sinek has a 3-minute video on how to write the perfect job ad that encapsulates this concept perfectly.)
Include hiring manager profiles
Research proves that candidates want to get to know the hiring manager—which makes sense, since managers are the biggest determining factor in overall employee experience. Learning more about who they’ll be working for puts a face on the candidate’s journey and gives them more insight into the role at the same time.
We did our own research on this at Pinpoint, and found that candidates who read hiring manager profiles are 59% more likely to apply for the job.
Describe the journey in detail
If there’s a theme here, it’s information. People want to know what to expect when they submit a job application, so give them as much detail as you possibly can.
Describe each stage in your recruitment process, and what to expect along the way:
- How will candidates be assessed?
- What support is available?
- What are the team’s expectations for the interview?
- How long will each stage take?
- When should candidates expect to hear back?
Don’t hold back. The more people know ahead of time, the better the overall experience for everyone involved. Candidates are much more forgiving of bumps in the road if their expectations are well-managed and they’re kept informed.
Add team- or persona-based pages to your careers site
Working in customer support is different than working in engineering, and each of those experiences will differ depending on the organization. What is each team’s mission, and how does it contribute to your broader business goals? What’s great about being on each team, and what’s challenging?
Core differences between teams are rarely discussed, and they’re an important part of the overall employee experience. Sharing that information with candidates before they even apply will set your organization apart.
Tell team member stories
There’s no better person to describe a job than someone who’s currently doing it. Ask your current team members what they like about their job, and what they find most difficult about it. What should applicants know ahead of time?
Get creative about how you share these stories. Use social media, blog posts, videos, or any other format you can dream up.
Consider the big picture
Think about the big-picture questions that every candidate is likely to ask, and put the answers in a place where they’re easy to find. A Careers FAQ section or page is a great place to address things like remote work policy, benefits, equity schemes, PTO, your stance on flexible work schedules, etc.
Step 3: Distribute that content far and wide
Now that you’ve anticipated the questions candidates will ask and found creative ways to answer them, there’s just one step left: distributing all that great content. But how best to do it?
The simplest way is to ask the people you’re interviewing.
Ask them what they wanted to know but couldn’t find, and where they searched for it. Ask how their journey could have been better, and how they like to consume information.
If you’re working on any kind of D&I initiative or doing blind recruiting, your candidates will vary in age, background, ethnicity, and more. And there’s a personality component, too. Some people like videos or podcasts. Others prefer long-form written job ads.
Get a feel for your candidate personas, what they’re looking for, and where they go to find it.
Don’t limit yourself to just one channel, either. Put up content in every place you can think of that might appeal to your candidates. Treat your distribution as an experiment; ask candidates about the content they found and where they found it. Continually asking these questions will reveal where your ideal candidates spend time, and what’s worth your energy moving forward.
Having trouble identifying your ideal candidate personas? Download our free candidate persona worksheet. This template will help you understand who your candidates are, where they spend time online, and how you can meet them where they are.