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How To Create A Top Candidate Experience

24.06.21 | Candidate Experience

A stand out candidate experience makes you an employer of choice

We all have a business, like Google maybe, that we think of as a dream place to work. If, like me, you worry that the employer brands and job opportunities of these businesses might be more attractive than your own then a focus on creating an engaging candidate experience can help you really stand out. Even against the Google’s of this world. And, for those of us who need to target happy, high-performing people who aren’t looking to move, the impression you deliver through your candidate experience will be a determining factor in whether they decide it’s better to stay put or jump ship.

An ATS system enables the automation of communications, however, approaching this as just a process, or set of instructions is a missed opportunity. Through the course of the candidate experience, we need to be thinking about how we add interest, engagement and ultimately build relationships with the people we are trying to ‘wow’.

Here are the 5 levels I work through with businesses to build more engaging and complete candidate journeys.

We create a stage by stage flow diagram of the current process

Identifying which of these stages provide an opportunity to directly communicate with or influence target candidates. We add a timeline to these stages, looking at how many days or weeks apart each stage is currently. We will also bring a group of recent candidates together to get their feedback on this journey, highlighting what their emotions were at each stage.

We audit any existing content in this journey

From the ATS, phone, email or face to face communication. We look at any underlying structure or messages behind this communication overlaid against the employer brand and values. Grouped together we look at the impression it creates and what value, beyond information, is added.

Identify any issues

Using the 2 stages above we can identify any obvious issues, either with missing pieces of communication or in the timeline. Being mindful of the fact that the process of changing roles is one which is full of anxiety for candidates, the impact of delayed or poor communication can be huge in terms of how excited candidates feel about the opportunity. Places, where I have seen this be a consistent and damaging factor, include feedback and offer stage, or a prolonged interview process. We fix these first.

Set a personality for communications

We now agree what our desired reaction or response is at each stage of the journey and can set a personality and tone of voice for any automated and standard communications. It’s key at this stage to think about how we handle the emails and process for those rejected both pre and post interview to create advocates, not enemies. From this, we may give ATS communications to a copywriter to add a consistent personality and interest

Identifying opportunities for improvement

Finally, we will look at where there are opportunities to enhance the experience and add engagement? This isn’t about going off and creating a whole load of new content. In fact, authenticity is key here as you don’t want the experience of interviewing for your organisation to be better than the reality of working in it! The most memorable experiences are emotional, social and multi-sensory. Ideas here might include adding existing video or thought leadership content to the invitation to interview, culture content in the invitation to interview or personal messages from the team lead and members within the feedback.

Ultimately this approach is about a lot more than just filling one vacancy. The best interview experience I ever had was for a job I didn’t get, but I keep in touch with them and would definitely go back and interview for that business again. A great candidate experience has this effect, those who are good but don’t get the job this time around become our pipeline for future roles, and advocates who will spread the word and help manage our reputation with others.

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