A candidate experience nowadays mainly takes place online which makes everything easier if done right. But with the online ease of communicating to a large audience can also complicate things massively if you don’t have everything under control. The “experience” is mainly how you communicate with the candidates from the first point of contact till the last.
What is a flawed candidate experience then? Well, it is the one that doesn’t meet the other party’s expectations. If a candidate has handed in their application, the expectation is to receive an email that says you have received it, along with the forthcoming steps. We’re talking about the need to be informed, seen, and acknowledged. Your obligation is to make sure, no matter how many applications you receive, that everyone is treated equally well. For example, if you choose only to contact those you want to move forward and not those you’ve discarded, you have failed to meet expectations. Because even if a candidate doesn’t get the job, they want to know about it so they can move on.
A job application is usually not “just an application” for the applicant. That application can hold dreams of another type of future, life plans, and goals. Why is it your obligation to tend to those dreams? Because your own work-life relies, to some extent, on them. That’s why it’s vital that you never mistreat any candidate. Rumors spread fast, especially online.
These bullet points can be good to keep in mind when you’re constructing the candidate experience:
For every interaction, send an automated email. If you’re using a modern ATS, there should be an “if this then that” function that allows you to connect actions with emails. For example, applications start rolling in. For every application, the ATS sends an automated email that you have written: “Thank you for your application, we will review it as soon as possible. We will connect with you again within a week, over phone or email.” Send an email after you’ve had an interview. After a meeting has been booked. After additional papers have been sent in. Anything that helps the candidate understand whereabouts in the process they are.
A small but very impactful way of keeping a candidate in the loop is by having an accessible timeline that shows the candidate's whereabouts in the process they are. You can send the timeline as an attachment in the emails you send, or if you have a candidate log-in function on your website, then you can keep it locally on your site.
This way you also avoid numerous emails from candidates who want to know when they can expect to be contacted again or for how long they have to wait for an answer. You’re helping them and yourself.
Everyone’s busy, and everyone has their own schedules to tend to. The absolute easiest way to ensure people will show up to interviews is by having them book a timeslot themselves. By doing so you don’t push a time on people that they risk not being able to make, and who knows, perhaps that would’ve been your perfect candidate. Nor do you have to have hundreds of back-and-forth conversations with people regarding when you can meet.
These functions can exist either on your website or as a function in your ATS that the candidates can access. Teamtailor hosts one of these functions check it out.
All in all, stay on top of the process and in return get happy candidates.