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Enhancing employer brand through candidate experience

The organizations that are highly desirable to work for focus heavily on candidate recruitment. They start by investing in their employer brand. Then they deliver a candidate experience that’s consistent with that brand. 

Easier said than done. We know few organizations get this “right” from our more than thirty years in executive search.

Here are top candidate recruitment best practices to help you attract great candidates. Review the list and grade your organization on these aspects of candidate experience. Chances are, there are areas that need improvement.

Candidate Recruitment Strategies for Success

Make it easy to apply

Keep the application as simple as possible. Ensure you’re using all the information collected—if you’re not using it, don’t ask for it.

Application best practices for a good candidate experience:

  • Let candidates know upfront what information they’ll need to complete your application
  • Ensure your application is mobile-friendly
  • Use resume parsing so people have to input less information
  • Send a confirmation email confirming receipt of the application

Streamline your process

We’ve seen countless organizations lose candidates because of a slow hiring process. While they’re deciding, the desired candidate gets hired elsewhere.

Candidates resent having their time wasted. They’re unlikely to accept an offer from an organization they feel wasn’t respectful.

The ideal process is well-orchestrated and efficient with minimal time between interview phases.

In this market, good candidates aren’t available long. Have a clear timeline outlined before you start your search and stick to it. Block calendars for interview times in advance.

Compel candidates to join your organization

Clearly communicate why the work you’re doing is important throughout the hiring process.

Also, generate a list of three or four “sizzle” points or good things about the position. Use that list to market the position and organization to prospective candidates. Highlight these key points throughout the process.

For example, will the new hire build a team from the ground up? Develop a strategy for an innovative project? Improve customer satisfaction?

Know what will appeal to candidates and “sell” them on the opportunity.

Give a realistic portrayal of the position

Identify the need you’re hiring to fill and craft a clear, easy-to-read job description. Be honest and upfront about your expectations for the role and the challenges the new hire will face.

Make candidates feel welcome and accepted

Look for ways to make candidates feel valued during the interview process. Can an employee take them to lunch? Can you give them a facility tour?

Even small things can make a huge difference in candidate recruitment.

Try to understand what motivates them and what’s important to them. Treat people like individuals rather than employing a one size fits all approach.

When a candidate sends thank you and follow-up notes, reply.

Ideally, job offers should come from the candidate’s prospective new boss. If HR has to do it, have the manager contact them immediately following the offer. (In our experience this leads to faster acceptance.)

For your new hire, the first few weeks at work are comparable to the honeymoon phase of a marriage. Consider ways to make their initial days special. Leave a small “welcome gift” on their desk. Set up “meet and greets” to help them get acclimated. If possible, provide a mentor.

Treat candidates respectfully and accommodate their needs

Candidates should feel that their time is respected throughout the process.

When setting up interviews, accommodate their schedules to the extent possible. Find interview times with minimal impact on their current responsibilities.

Ensure interviewers keep their commitments and show up (barring any true emergencies). Remind interviewers to put away their devices, mind their manners, and treat candidates like valued guests.

Provide candidates the information needed to evaluate the opportunity

Deciding to accept a job offer is a big decision. Best-in-class organizations do everything they can to help candidates make an informed decision. 

If a candidate is potentially relocating, give them adequate time to explore the area. Help them by giving them a lead on a real estate agent and information on schools, if applicable.

Some candidates will ask for an extra meeting with key team members (or their new boss) before accepting. Grant these requests if possible to ensure candidates feel good about the decision.

Communicate frequently throughout the candidate recruitment process

If you’ve ever searched for a new job, it’s no surprise most job seekers want better communication. Candidates want to know where they stand. Yet, too many organizations leave them hanging.

Want to stand out from other hiring organizations? Create a candidate recruitment communications plan detailing how and when you’ll provide updates. Share this with candidates along with your search timeline and process.

Of course, if you need to deviate from the plan, let candidates know. Even a “there is no update” message shows the candidate you’re being transparent.

Notify candidates of the hiring decision as soon as possible. Consider providing feedback or coaching for candidates who don’t receive an offer.

Mastering the candidate recruitment experience

Some of these candidate recruitment strategies should go without saying. But we’ve seen organizations neglect them enough to know they’re worth mentioning.

To sum up, investing in the candidate experience not only improves the recruitment process but also contributes to a positive company reputation. By valuing candidates’ time and effort, organizations can foster a culture of respect and integrity, ultimately leading to stronger employee retention and satisfaction.