Your candidate experience is arguably one of the most important aspects of your recruitment process. That’s because the quality of your candidate experience influences whether a candidate will decide to apply to your organization, accept an offer from you, and even impact whether they will speak positively of your company and recommend your company to their friends or professional network in the future.
As the world has changed drastically over the past year, that likely means your recruitment process has too, which can mean that some areas of your recruitment process and candidate experience has slipped through the cracks. That’s why it’s important to regularly take a step back and audit your recruitment process and candidate experience to ensure there are no gaps that may be taking away from your ability to deliver a positive candidate experience.
Fortunately, as easy as it is for these gaps to form, with the right tactics and tools, it’s even easier to fix them. Before you can get to fixing them, though, you need to know what gaps you’re dealing with.
Granted, recruitment challenges can differ from company to company, but to give you a starting point, we put together seven common mistakes that organizations make that affect their candidate experience, and what you can do to fix each one.
1. Being radio silent after an offer has been signed
Just because an offer has been signed doesn’t mean that your candidate will make it to their first day on the job. Many candidates continue to interview and may even receive a counteroffer from their current employer. This is why you should aim to stay connected with your prospective hire right up until the start date!
Make sure to stay engaged with your candidate until their start date and even during his/her probation period to ensure that all is going well and address any concerns that may arise during that time. This can take the form of sending a pre-hire package with company swag, a “welcome to the team” video, or tips on how to prepare for their first day.Isabelle Knebel, Senior Associate
2. Allowing too big of a gap between the interview and feedback
After interviewing, candidates lose interest with each passing day they don’t hear back, and the potential of another company coming in with a better process or opportunity increases over time too. If the gap is too long, many self-respecting candidates will even withdraw their candidacy.
Be open, transparent, and quick to provide feedback and candidates will reciprocate by keeping you posted with other opportunities they have on the go. The feedback can be as simple as “we enjoyed the meeting today and will provide you with feedback and next steps as soon as we complete our other first-round interviews later this week.” And if a decision has yet to be made on their candidacy, send them a touching base email every so often to let them know that!Michael Lemmer, Founder & President
Interviews are a two-way street. Candidates are interviewing a company as much as a Hiring Manager is interviewing them. Some interviews might have additional steps such as additional casual interviews/tests or assignments. Every candidate should be well informed about the interviewing process from start to finish and how long it will take for a decision to be made. If there is negative or constructive feedback, that should be shared in a diplomatic way so it’s a transparent process and candidates have an opportunity to learn and grow from the experience.Alyssa McCarthy, Senior Associate
It’s on the recruiter to set the stage in the initial interview that open communication is key. This applies to both sides, as you should also encourage candidates to be open and honest with you about what they think of the interview process, the role in question as they learn more information, and your organization as a whole in relation to their wants and desires.Christian Shewchuk, Associate
Ensure that candidates have an open line of communication with your organization or their recruiter whether that is via Linked or email. Furthermore, the candidates should be encouraged at the end of each conversation to reach out to the recruiter if there are any questions/concerns. Lastly, the recruiters of each organization need to make an effort to follow up with candidates to provide them with the outcome of the interview.Navi Gill, Associate
If you have had the opportunity to interview an experienced candidate that could be a great addition to your team, the least you can do is keep them in the loop (at a minimum weekly) on what exactly is happening in the process and where they stand. This will create trust and reassurance that their time is just as valuable and will help to start establishing the relationship with them. Building that relationship with candidates can in turn help with retention down the line if they are successfully hired, or simply create a positive impression on your brand in the marketplace.Samantha Conacher, Senior Associate
A candidate may have taken time off work, spent hours prepping, and devoted uninterrupted time to talk to your team. The interview process is often thought of as a candidate interviewing for a role, but in fact, the interview process is about two parties interviewing. A way to close this gap is ensure positive relationships with candidates through helpful, targeted feedback in a timely manner.Lauren Wildfang, Associate
3. Not closing the loop when a candidate has been rejected
Regardless of what stage your candidates are in, it’s imperative to provide feedback to ensure they understand why they were not selected. This information, though difficult to share at times, does hold the potential to enhance the candidates experience going forward.
A lack of proper feedback can have all kinds of negative consequences, including candidates not trusting the process of working with recruiters and feeling unnoticed and not qualified without understanding why. Plus, declining someone with no reason provided can leave a very bad taste in candidates’ mouths, creating a negative reputation for the company in the process.
Instead, providing adequate feedback opens the door to helping candidates improve on what was potentially holding them back, creates a coaching opportunity that they can apply to their next interview, and helps make sure they walk away with nothing but good things to say about your organization — even if they didn’t get the job.
To make sure you always close the loop, create a spreadsheet that tracks the stages of each candidate and review it weekly to ensure that anything that can and should be tied off, has been done on a weekly basis. And if you have access to a more sophisticated applicant tracking system (ATS), you can track your candidates progress here, take notes, and enable notifications to let you know when you should follow-up. Furthermore, you should always leave the door open by encouraging candidates at the end of each conversation to reach out with any questions or concerns.Angela Dravis, Associate
Taking five minutes to truly thank the candidate for their time and explain that they’re lacking a very important skill set, or that it came down to two candidates and you simply had to pick one, can completely change the experience for the candidate. They likely still won’t be walking away jumping for joy, but they can respect that all loose ends have been tied and move on to their next endeavor satisfied.Samantha Forani, Senior Associate
In the case that a candidate is not successful, you should always attempt to give focused and specific feedback that will give the candidate something to improve on for the future to increase their chances of being hired for the type of role in question.Navi Gill, Associate
Be sure to have all details from the client as to why the candidate is not a fit and to ensure that you’re always communicating with the candidate right up until you close the door on the opportunity you are working with them on. These responsibilities fall on both the recruiter and the AM, as the AM should push the client for the proper feedback to share with rejected candidates.Chad Collins, Vice-President
4. Having a lengthy interview process
While it’s good to be thorough, having six separate meetings with a candidate over the course of a month can be quite redundant and taxing on both the recruiter and candidate. Not being able to clearly articulate what additional value each step brings to the process will ultimately turn off some candidates.
Plus, with candidates possibly having a number of other opportunities that they are interviewing for and perhaps multiple offers at a given time, being able to deliver an approved written offer in a timely manner can make all the difference in attaining that top talent that you have invested in.
To help mitigate this gap, reevaluate your current interview process to either reduce the number of interviews that a candidate has to have or group multiple interview steps into one day to reduce the length of time it takes to arrive at a hiring decision.Brandon Murray, Associate
The best way to address this is to be critical of the interview process you are setting up. Ask yourself, are all of these stakeholders essential to helping determine who the best candidate is for this role? If yes, why? Can any of these stages be combined so that the length of the process can be condensed in order to accommodate candidates that are required to take time away from work in order to attend an interview? If you are able to analyze the way you recruit critically, you will end up with a streamlined recruitment process that is quick, efficient, and effective, which will play a major factor in ensuring a great candidate experience is delivered.Jeff Garvin, Managing Partner
With candidates likely having a number of other opportunities that they are interviewing for and perhaps multiple offers at a given time, being able to deliver an approved written offer in a timely manner can make all the difference in attaining that top talent that you have invested in.Samantha Conacher, Senior Associate
5. Not establishing solid client communication
If you’re partnered with a recruitment agency for your search, then an amazing candidate experience is reliant on a smooth process between the agency and the hiring company. This starts with establishing solid recruiter/client communication on the front end of every new opportunity. Deep and transparent front end conversations make the world of difference but are easy to bypass in a world that operates as fast-paced as recruitment.
Taking the time to nail down reliable and predictable communication checkpoints throughout the process can circumvent so many unknown variables that fly our way when handling the ever-changing dynamic of client and candidate relationships. Clients who value the talent partnership as an extension of their internal efforts experience significantly more success simply by maintaining accountability to weekly calls, communication expectations, and willingness to share along the way.Corey McLeod, Senior Associate
6. A lack of communication during the application process
Standing out from the crowd can really come down to what people instinctively seek: communication. A lack of communication throughout the application process is one common gap which too many have dealt with that negatively impacts candidate experience.
After all, not all candidates who apply for positions will be chosen. Engaging with candidates throughout the entire process, whether they’re chosen or not, conveys a high standard of service you and your brand will be remembered for.
Other than making sure that every candidate is well informed about the interview process from start to finish and how long it will take for a decision to be made, there are several ways to ensure you deliver a satisfactory level of communication to candidates, including:
Communicate at each step of the process. Ideal touch points can be when the resume is received, feedback on the resume is provided from the hiring manager, or just checking in after a few days from your initial contact
Use email templates and have them ready to go to share with candidates at the appropriate time of their application journey
Lean on technology to help you stay organized, whether via an ATS or calendar reminders
Choose 30 minutes at the end of the week to review the candidates who are in process and use that time to touch base with them if they haven’t been communicated with alreadyJoanna Boiago, Associate
Recruiters can always set expectations and timelines with candidates early in the process and if things change, then let the candidates know right away, as mistakes like these can impact candidate experience.Payton MacInnes, Associate
One of the most effective ways to ensure that a candidate remains informed and engaged throughout the recruitment process is to establish regular “touchpoints.” A touchpoint can be anything from a phone call or email to a direct message on LinkedIn or a text. Utilizing these methods of communication (preferably on a daily or weekly basis) will ensure that candidates remain interested in the opportunity they are pursuing.Zac Reid, Associate
7. Misunderstanding a candidate’s priorities and interests
Sometimes, recruiters may focus too much on the role and not enough on the candidate. This can result in a candidate getting a role that fits their professional aspirations, but perhaps not their personal wants and desires — a necessity if you want talent to stick around at your organization in the long run.
To ensure a perfect fit all around, cover in your conversations with candidates their priorities and interests not just professionally, but personally as well. Is compensation everything to them, or is work-life balance more important? How about educational or training opportunities within your organization? You can even incorporate these types of questions into your applications so that you enter into interviews already knowing what candidates are looking for.Payton MacInnes, Associate
Hopefully, in taking the time to improve these gaps in your recruitment marketing, you’ll not just hear more positive candidate feedback, but also improve your ability to attract and retain the best talent the market has to offer.
To learn more about how to win over top talent and meet your hiring goals, be sure to get in touch with our expert team of hiring professionals today!
ML6 is a recruitment and talent advisory firm located in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). We provide customized solutions to support our clients throughout the employee lifecycle. We help our clients attract and retain talent by advising on people programs, processes, and best practice