When thinking about how to improve a candidate experience, we here at Aspen let the data talk to us. Without further ado, here are 21 foolproof tips on how to improve your HR team’s candidate experience. These tips are based from data that we’ve collected from 2013 to 2016, and continues to hold true.
As always, these tips are dependent on several factors that are different for each business, however, they should increase overall candidate experience ratings, as well as specific experience ratings.
1. Use frequent surveying of candidates to track your candidate experience.
Tracking certain candidate experience measurements consistently shows an increase in performance. By simply putting the tracking in place and having your HR team be vocal about tracking, ratings increase, usually maximizing at about 15% in improvement.
2. Compensate recruiters directly for good candidate experience feedback.
It turns out that companies that include performance based rewards in their compensation plan based off of good candidate experience regularly have higher candidate feedback ratings. Makes sense 🙂
3. Allow candidates to finish applications completely, and then submit.
Sometimes questions are asked during an application, and depending on the candidate’s answers, an immediate kickout is given. Maybe you think that is a strong idea, well it can be, provided other parts of the process are strong. However, if your brand is weak, the description is weak, the site is hard to navigate, but the candidate still applies and THEN you cut them off through the process, it almost becomes the straw that broke the camel’s back.
4. Simplify navigation of your career site to make it easier for candidates to find relevant
Analysis of collected data has seen that there are poor candidate experience on when information can not be found easily or resides in a very different place from other information.
5. Increase assessment technologies.
This tip works in tandem with a reduced application. If you have a 35 minute apply process and a 35 min assessment process, you have much to improve on. However, data and clients have shown by making applications a simply swipe or very short, then followed by an assessment less than 20 minutes actually shows an improvement in candidate experience, especially from dismissed candidates.
6. Assess more applicants using technology, screening, or initial conversations than you currently are.
One of the downfalls of actually having a recruiter look at a candidate is that even if the recruiter does their job, they rarely can explain to a candidate why they are being dismissed, and the assumption is that also the recruiter may have looked at the resume for only 30 seconds. Or 10 for that matter. Although additional screening using technology may be expensive or feel superfluous, its provide plausible deniability.
7. Coordinate logistics directly for any meetings with candidates if you do not already do so.
This may mean using a scheduling tool like TimeDriver or Calendy, or even outsourcing interview scheduling, but the “concierge effect” still holds true for candidates. The key feedback point is “make it easy”. The interview itself may be difficult, and that’s okay, but when the process to get the interview to happen is cumbersome, it works against you.
8. Switch administrative tasks being carried out by recruiters to hiring managers on interview days.
You can use automation here as needed to reduce actual effort but the act of taking deliberate care carries through feedback we read AND also when a SOP for a hiring manager in general.
9. Utilize text push notifications throughout the candidate process using your ATS, text messages, and more.
Ahh the text message, what a powerful tool. Apparently it works in recruiting too, as those employers that use email and SMS alerts outpace their counterparts overall candidate experience ratings.
10. Print a copy of the candidates’ application before the interview.
Oddly enough, hiring managers that have a PRINTED copy of the application or resume, use a set of prepared questions, takes structured notes, and uses behavioral based interview questions have higher interview experience ratings than when not. Now, that combination is a rare one, BUT clearly outpaces others. In some cases improvements to candidate experience were more than 25 percent.
11. Play around with the number of interviewers per candidate.
This one is complicated. If you do one on one interviews, and your ratings of feedback is weak, reduce the instances of one-to-one interviews, and increase the pairing of hiring managers (2:1) together, and have a pair interview a single candidate simultaneously. I know, weird, right? But this is NOT the same as a panel interview. We personally think its about pressure. Nobody wants to get called out by a peer after an interview with something along the lines of, “Wow – you really sucked in there…is that how you interview all of your candidates?”
12. Increase your interview to offer ratio, or the number of people you interview.
Okay that just sounds weird. How would interviewing more candidates, decreasing their chances of getting the job, actually raise your candidate experience? Oddly enough, companies with higher overall candidate experience ratings tend to interview more. We have a hunch that this is simply a case of “practice makes perfect”. They interview more, are more comfortable in an interview, and that equates to a better experience and an increased competency in assessment.
13. The more information about the job, the better!
Having job descriptions, information about benefits, salary ranges and compensation structure, successful candidate profiles for the job, and career path examples should easily displayed and featured on career sites – for the job or job family, and potentially the posting itself. Well, that is at least the collective feedback from candidates who found certain items helpful from highly rated companies.
14. Brag about your corporate values.
Clearly display and feature corporate values, why people want to work here, employee testimonials, and why people stay with the business in more general areas of the corporate website. Feedback and text analysis shows it as helpful and favorable.
15. Have a deliberate selection process to determine who you are going to offer, and expose that selection method to candidates.
Candidates have provided plenty of feedback on highly rated companies that they knew how decisions were being made and when. You do not need to keep it a secret.
16. Active vs Passive Candidates.
I need a disclaimer on this one. This is going to lean on statistics and motivations of candidates at an aggregate level, but if your experience feedback is tanking, take a look at the number of applicants and interviews you are doing with passive candidates…as increasing passive candidates also means increasing a certain classification of motivators associated with being hired. Active candidates do share a motivation set with passive candidates…but some motivators only exist in actives, why another only exist in passives. Actives typically are more critical of speed and process turbulence. If you have those issues, sourcing and interviewing more candidates who aren’t actively hunting can change your outcomes.
17. Use techniques to control the potential number of applicants per requisition to gain control over sourcing, especially in professional level positions.
You should look at your applications per requisition level. If its high, like 50 or more per requisition, and your experience ratings are low, reduce the number of people you are saying NO to.
18. Create fewer steps in the application process and make it much faster to execute.
This isn’t a new concept, but no matter what, the data points to higher candidate experience ratings for applications that aren’t overly long.
19. Have hiring managers deliver the offer directly.
This tip is very specific to the offer experience of new hires, and we have found that candidate experience ratings are slightly higher if the offers come from hiring manager versus a recruiter. If your offer experience is already rated well, then don’t sweat it, but if its not, try changing the messenger, assuming hiring managers want and can do it.
20. Key communications should from hiring manager, instead of the recruiter
Data suggests that key advancing messages are preferred to be delivered from the hiring manager directly. You need to count how many occur and increase if its not heavy from the manager and heavy from the recruiter.
21. Increase the number of hiring manager interviews with applicant
An interesting feedback point we have seen from candidates is the thought, “How can I be assessed with only one 30 minute session with the hiring manager?” Well maybe your business is awesome at interviewing, but the perception to that candidate is typically based on personal history. Simply asking what that candidate is used to regarding number of screenings creates excellent context for you to use.
Benefits of a Better Candidate Experience
- Increase in referral likelihood
- Increase in repeat applications
- Decrease in perceived discrimination
- Less customer loss
- Increase in positive experience stories to market
- Increase in positive experience stories to inner circle