Leveraging the Candidate Experience to Secure Top Talent in a Challenging Market

​It’s no secret that the candidate experience can make or break whether candidates choose to work with you, with everything from long application forms to poor communication having the potential to cost you the best talent.

While it could be easy to assume that the candidate experience will hold less weight in a market saturated with jobseekers (not to mention the natural tendency to let it slip when faced with the sheer volume of applications), the truth is that in these uncertain times, it has never been so vital. Despite the increased availability of talent, there will still be a number of hard-to-fill roles, and the economic instability means candidates will look to have more confidence in a future employer than ever.

Inevitably, the candidate experience will continue to make or break employer brands for the foreseeable future, so it’s vital to develop a transparent, engaging and empathetic hiring process that will remain valuable long after the market returns to normal levels.

Clearly, there are instances where we all get it wrong, but there are several key things we focus on internally to make sure our candidate experience is the best it can be. Here are my top tips for providing a great candidate experience based on what has worked for us, which you can apply to your own business.

Maintain Communication

Amid the uncertainty, a bit of clarity and communication will go a long way for candidates, and keeping them informed about where they stand is crucial. Make it a priority to provide consistent email updates, and establish (and stick to) a timeframe for decision-making at each stage so that candidates are not left to wonder. Regular communication will help to keep them engaged during the hiring process, as well as alleviate the anxieties caused by the changing job market.

Of course, we all get busy at times, so if you need help keeping in contact with applications, your recruiter can do this for you.

Be Transparent

Setting expectations about the recruitment process is essential to delivering a positive candidate experience. Outline what they can expect from the hiring process right from the start, including the number of interviews, any assessments or presentations they will be expected to complete and when the final decision is likely to be made. Not only does this enable candidates to feel better prepared, but it also provides a level of transparency that’s often missing from the candidate experience in a competitive job market. And since even the best-laid plans can sometimes fail, you should also be prepared for potential disruptions to the process and make it a priority to let the candidate know about any changes as soon as possible.

Refine the Hiring Process

When candidates apply for a job, they are spending time researching, preparing their CV, interviewing and travelling, so it’s important to be respectful of this and ensure the hiring process is as efficient as it can be.

Evaluate your application process and do everything you can to simplify it and remove and unnecessary steps. Is it easy for candidates to submit an application? How many rounds of interviews are there? Are your interview questions curated and targeted? Is it possible to apply from all devices? By keeping the process straightforward and consistent for all candidates, you can not only save yourself time but drastically improve their experience.

Prioritise Connection

From the first point of contact through to onboarding, you should make your relationship with the candidate a priority. This is just as important if you’re turning them down for the role.

Rejection doesn’t have to jeopardise your business’ reputation – it can be an opportunity to learn in real-time and still leave candidates with a positive impression. Speak to your recruiter regarding unsuccessful candidates so they can let them know in a timely manner, and if possible, try to provide constructive criticism that the candidate can use to improve future applications. And remember that the best place to find out how to improve the hiring process is by talking to the people who have gone through it, so don’t forget to ask your recruiter for any feedback on your process they’ve received from the candidate. Our recruiters even have technology that will survey candidates who are interviewed about their experience, which will provide you with even more valuable insights to guide improvements.

Final Advice

Although recruitment is changing rapidly in today’s business landscape, the foundations of hiring remain the same and it’s just as crucial as ever to provide candidates with a positive experience. Yet in a market where every role advertised tends to receive a large number of applications, maintaining the candidate experience can be difficult.

Working with a specialist recruitment agency that is known for serving their candidates well is the easiest way to address this challenge. From the application stage right through to presenting an offer, managing salary negotiations and beyond, a good recruiter will serve as an intermediary between you and the candidate, ensuring they have the best possible experience while leaving you free to focus on other parts of your business.

We have received consistently positive feedback from the candidates we work with, and our outstanding reputation in the market means we have built up a pool of highly-talent candidates who work with us again and again.

To find how we can help you improve your candidate experience and secure the best talent the market has to offer, feel free to get in touch.