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Do Your Business a Favor & Improve the Candidate Experience

Posted by James Patrick Kahler on February 12, 2016

What are you doing to make yourself better today? I know, the last sentence sounds like something a football coach or motivational speaker might say, but it’s applicable to all walks of life. When it comes to your company’s hiring process and the way you treat your candidates, this question of self-assessment is intrinsic to developing your employment branding. 

In other words, how you treat your candidates—from the first email to the point when they’ve completed the interview process—says a great deal about your company.

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What HR Says About the Candidate Experience

To dive deeper into the candidate experience, how it affects your business’s brand as an employer and how to make it better, I interviewed our own HR expert and Director of Talent, Melissa Ryan.

What are the keys points for making candidates feel welcome during the process?

“For me, recruiting is very much like a sales cycle, in that it’s important to develop relationships with candidates, be realistic and relatable to them, all the way from the start of the process. Even if we ultimately don’t hire a candidate, I want them to have a positive experience when walking away, thinking, “You know what, even though I didn’t get the job, those were some really great” and that they’d walk away recommending Hireology as good place to work.”

“This helps boost your employment branding. It’s similar to advertising from a word of mouth perspective, if somebody comes in and has a really poor experience in an interview—whether it’s because they had to wait for a late hiring manager or the person interviewing them wasn’t engaged—it all boils down to the impression that the interviewee is left with when he or she leaves the office. In order to create a strong employment brand, you have to throw all different touch points in the (hiring) process, leave people “wowed” and excited to want to work here and share that information with their family and friends.”

How many interactions, online and offline, do you recommend to have with a candidate and how do we make sure they have a positive experience throughout the process?

“It depends on how many steps there are in your hiring process. It’s most important to keep a candidate updated in a timely fashion. I’ve found that candidates appreciate being kept in the loop, even if the update is simply checking-in. Most times candidates appreciate the thought.”

What are the best ways to make a candidate have a realistic view of the job?Melissa_Ryan_Dec_2015_SQUARE.jpg

“Honesty and transparency are the most important things throughout the recruiting process. You never should misrepresent the job. The last thing you want is to hire a candidate and then they walk in on their second or third day, realizing that the role is not what they expected and then they decide to part ways. Job shadowing is a great way to give a realistic job preview, and it also allows the candidate to speak with someone who is currently in the role they are interviewing for.”

“When a candidate is going through the interview process, I believe it’s my responsibility to represent them and make sure that they feel like this is their decision as well. Hiring isn’t a one-way street. It’s just as much a candidate’s decision as it is ours. It has to be a mutual agreement. By giving a realistic preview of what the role is and what the environment and culture are like, you are allowing the candidate to determine if the role is something they would enjoy doing day to day.”

With regards to onboarding, how do we make sure new employees are well informed?

“A new hire’s first few days will make a lasting impression, so it is important to facilitate a seamless onboarding experience. New employees should have the equipment, tools, and resources needed to hit the ground running. We have found that an introduction to the company, overview of the organizational structure and meeting with key members of the team are important parts of the onboarding experience.”

When do you consider to be an optimal time to hire?

“It depends on the role. Your process should be long enough to thoroughly vet the candidate, but to allow the candidate to feel like they weren’t rushed into making a decision. For more complex roles, there should be a more thorough process. For entry-level or individual contributor roles, I would think 2 to 4 weeks; for mid-level roles, 4-8 weeks and for executive level roles, it could take as long as 6 months.”

If you have unlimited resources, how would you design the optimal candidate experience?

“The Hireology process is thorough and informative, and it allows us to make a well informed decision, while focusing on what we know to be most important in someone’s success. If I had unlimited resources, I would spend it on employment branding and employee engagement tools. I’d also invest in more resources on onboarding, as well as Hireology swag. Who doesn’t like free swag?”

Having trouble attracting applicants to your open jobs? Click on the link below for some free tips on how to get more (much more) candidates by next week.

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Personality Assessments, Employee Skills Testing, How to Hire, Hiring Tips, Hiring, Candidate Experience


James Patrick Kahler

About the Author

James Patrick Kahler is Hireology’s Copywriter & Content Specialist. He is a graduate of the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University and has over four years of professional experience writing for various industries. Outside of the office (and sometimes inside), he has a passion for comedy, advertising and his Cleveland sports teams…all of them.