From the first point of contact through the first day reporting for work, candidate experience has never been more important to hiring effectively. The advertisement you post, and how it’s worded, the application and interview processes, the connection you make with a job seeker are integral touch points along the path to hiring. Make a misstep on one, and the chances are high you’ve just lost potential talent.
Unemployment rates are low: it’s estimated there are currently two available openings for every job seeker in the US. With this level of competition, employers serious about filling vacancies must review their hiring practices to assure every step in the funnel leads to a hire, and not an applicant drop-off. In this two-part series, find out how to turn job seekers into applicants: then interviews into new hires.
First impressions matter
The first look at your business is online at the posting. To assure they hit the ‘send’ button with their resume, make sure to make the right first impression.
Ads that draw or deter
The vacancy you post is the first introduction to your company to a potential hire. What does the posting say about your organization? Is it a laundry list of ‘you must haves’ or an enticing ‘this is what we offer’ type of ad?
LinkedIn reported that the shorter the post, the better. On average most applicants will spend less than 15 seconds scanning your ad. Less than 300 word ads get more than 8% higher response rates.
It’s not surprising many recruitment professionals are asking their marketing counterparts for help with postings. It’s an applicant market: you need to sell your company on them, not the other way around. Make it succinct, visually interesting (bullet points are easier to read than text) and include graphics and links to apply immediately.
A site that invites
Your website should be welcoming and inclusive, encouraging all applicants to apply and making it easy to do so. Your site is for customers: job seekers are customers, too. Use the site to boast about your products and services, certainly. But make sure to include how your employees drive customer satisfaction and success.
A ‘company careers’ page can be a great way to link to available positions, but also to emphasize your commitment to staff. Brag about your workers. Ask employees to write short testimonials about their experience at the company; their career growth and successes. Applicants want to work where there’s appreciation and potential: showcase that’s what you have to offer.
Online presence must be a net positive
Make sure your online presence is spotless. More than half of respondents report they will not apply to a company with negative online reviews. This can be costing you applicants and resources.
Scan for any negative reviews about your company, either from applicants or customers and resolve them. No, you don’t want to insult online reviewers: you do want to contact and work with them to try to fix the problem and ask they take down the negative comments.
Avoid application aggravation
An AppCast study showed 92% of job seekers who begin the application process with a company never complete it. The reasons are plentiful and outline application frustration. Many companies require an applicant to create a user account and password before applying; this can include verifying email addresses with links back and forth.
Others ask candidates to upload a resume, then copy all the information into another form or vice versa. The more clicks it takes to apply, the more candidate drop-off you’re experiencing.
In 2016, SHRM reported 60% of job seekers will abandon an application process that is too long or complex: that was in a good talent market. It’s easy to imagine today’s job seeker’s patience wears much thinner.
Texting with talent
Today’s job seeker is looking for work and applying with their smartphone. In 2021, almost 70% of applications were made by mobile phones. If you’re not mobile-optimized, your missing out on talent. Find ways to assure your application process works seamlessly with mobile: Google has a test to assess your site in less than a minute.
Ask applicants if they prefer a response by phone, email, or text. Studies show 90% of text messages are read within minutes. Compared to phone calls or emails, you’re more likely to connect immediately with an applicant by text than any other method
Instant screening and scheduling
If you’re using an ATS to screen candidates, the tech recognizes qualified candidates immediately. You may not be able to pick up the phone to schedule an interview in the nanoseconds it took to screen, but move as quickly as possible. (View a sampling of Critical Research’s ATS integration partners here.)
If you can, set your applicant tracking system to link qualified talent instantly to self-schedule an interview. Setting these systems up is quick and easy. You enter the times you (or hiring managers) are available, and talent that passes through the ATS books a meeting time that works for them.
It’s important to strike while the iron is hot: a candidate that has read your post and taken the time to apply is at peak interest. If you can get them on the schedule immediately, you’re more likely to keep that interest level high.
Even if you don’t use an applicant tracking system to screen, set up email accounts that receive resumes to notify you immediately with incoming applicants. Respond as quickly as possible to schedule an interview, if appropriate. A sense of urgency is key to hiring effectively in today’s challenging market.
A focus on candidate experience is key to getting job seekers to apply at your company. Candidates are customers, treating them with the same commitment shows your organization is where they want to apply. In our next blog, we’ll discuss candidate experience beyond the application process.
Candidate Experience is Key to Successful Recruitment
Part Two: Turning First Interviews into First Day on the Job