One Easy Way to Drastically Improve Candidate Experience

Posted on 03-16-2023
How to improve your candidate experience

Organizations are beginning to recognize that providing an exceptional candidate experience is critical to attracting the best talent (particularly at the executive level). However, how many healthcare organizations are actually delivering an A+ candidate experience?

To answer this question, Kirby Partners recently conducted a survey of director-level and C-level candidates who had applied for a job directly with a healthcare system or hospital in the last three years to understand their experience. (Candidates were not asked about any experiences applying directly through an executive search firm for this study.) We also surveyed healthcare HR directors and Vice Presidents about the experience they deliver to candidates. Close to 600 responses were collected.

A disconnect exists between HR executives and candidates’ perceptions

It was immediately apparent from the data that HR leaders generally believe they deliver a better overall candidate experience than they actually do. When assigning a letter grade to candidate experience, candidates rated the experience healthcare organizations deliver a C minus. HR executives believed candidates would rate them a B. (This disconnect is not surprising when you consider that only 20% of organizations say they regularly request feedback from job candidates about their candidate experience.) HR leaders’ rating reveals that while they feel pretty positive about the experience they deliver, they still see improvement opportunities.

Organizations need to focus first and foremost on improving communication

When asked which of several items would have the greatest positive impact on candidate experience, candidates prioritized increased communication.

An astounding 35% of respondents reported they never heard anything back about the last healthcare position they applied for, so it’s not surprising candidates want organizations to increase communication.  Candidates’ comments also overwhelmingly support the need for organizations to improve communication.  Several candidates likened the application experience to a “black hole” and expressed frustration about the lack of follow-up and feedback provided by most organizations.

“Despite completing their online application and sending copies of my resume twice, along with two follow-up emails directly with their HR department (as recommended on their website), nothing was ever acknowledged as received. It was a waste of my valuable time and a frustrating experience.”

“Almost all organizations absolutely failed with status updates on application status post interview(s). A simple ‘you didn’t make the cut but thanks for coming in’ would make a huge difference.”

“I’ve received little if any feedback on the positions I’ve applied for…in many cases, not even a form email acknowledging receipt of the application. So many of the job descriptions appear to be ‘standard or right out of the book’ making it difficult to tell what is unique or challenging about the position…”

Because poor communication is such a widespread problem, doing it well is a good way for good organizations to differentiate themselves and “wow” candidates. It should be a relatively easy problem to fix as well—we recommend that organizations create and share a communications plan with a clearly defined process for how and when candidates will hear from you as a first step.

For more information about ways to deliver a positive candidate experience, check out our free e-book “Blueprint for Delivering an Exceptional Candidate Experience.”

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