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Why Your Candidate Experience may be Driving People Away

3 min read.



Talent Attraction

Candidate Experience Coordinator at Lisbon-based CRM specialist, Pipedrive, Ricardo da Silva explains why candidate experience is a vital part of reputation and how to build one that keeps even those that get rejected feeling positive about your organisation...

Picture this: you’re going through a hiring process at Company X. You go through multiple stages, things seem to be going well, and then all of a sudden, the trail goes cold. No feedback, no updates, nothing. A few weeks later, you receive a generic email telling you that the role has been filled or put on hold.

This is what seems to be passing for candidate experience in a lot of companies out there. When I open up LinkedIn, my feed is unfortunately plagued with people sharing their experience of yet another disappointing hiring process.

I am all too familiar with the disheartening feeling of a ‘no’ following a hiring process. As a professional working in TA, I have experience of being on both sides of the conversation. But why is it that companies feel like it’s okay to treat candidates the way I mentioned earlier?

Here’s another story: you’ve just finished your bachelor’s degree and you’re now looking for your first job. You find an opening that fits what you’re looking for, and you apply. A few days later you get called up for an interview. You have the interview, it seems to have gone well, and you wait for the feedback. A few days later, you get the feedback, and unfortunately, it’s not what you were expecting. You reach back out to them for additional feedback, and they gladly oblige, telling you what was good, what was not so good, and what could be improved.

This is what happened to me in the summer of 2019 when I was fresh out of university in the first hiring process I had ever participated in. I was treated with dignity, respect, and the communication was done in a timely manner. The experience would go on to have a big impact on me. Unfortunately, it would also go on to completely ruin my expectations for the rest of my job hunt that summer, with many companies not bothering to write back to me saying they would not move forward, and one company writing back...three months later.

Following the pandemic, another opportunity arose to work with the first company I had applied to, and it was an absolute no-brainer for me. Fortunately, this time around I was successful, and I’ve been happy in my role as a Candidate Experience Coordinator (happy coincidence) ever since.

Improving Candidate Experience

So, what’s the moral of the story? Had I been treated the same way all the other companies treated me, I probably would not have bothered to apply for the second time, and with good reason.

Companies that underestimate the importance of candidate experience can easily lower the chances of candidates reapplying for roles in the future.

It’s important to remember that recruitment processes are a two-way street; not only is the company evaluating if the candidate is adequate for the role, but the candidate is also evaluating the company to see if it’s a fit for them.

Given that the Talent Acquisition team is the main point of contact for candidates during this stage, there should be an extra effort to keep candidates engaged with the brand. Unfortunately, a lot of companies out there only apply this to candidates with whom they want to move forward, when in reality it should apply to all candidates.

Candidates deserve to hear back from recruiters when they are unsuccessful. Is it a difficult conversation to have? Very much so, but that doesn’t warrant ghosting candidates and leaving them hanging indefinitely.

So, what should TA teams do in order to provide a positive experience for their candidates? In reality, the formula is not that complex.

Be quick

In today’s volatile job market, speed is crucial, and being quick is important in order to keep the hiring process moving forward, especially for those processes with multiple stages. If you already know whether or not you will be moving forward with the candidate, tell them.

Keep the candidate in the loop

Sometimes decisions take a while to make, which is perfectly normal. However, while the team is yet to decide, there is a candidate that is waiting for a response on the other side. Sending them an email with a time frame within which a decision will be made is the best way to mitigate any anxiety that the candidate might feel while they wait.

Use scheduling links

Everyone’s time is precious -  the team’s as well as the candidate’s. So, when it comes to interviews, it’s important to ensure that they are scheduled at a time that is convenient for both, and in a timely manner. Scheduling links help streamline this process by allowing candidates to choose from available times, as well as eliminating the back-and-forth from manually offering slots.

Take time to communicate with the candidate

Many of the emails that are sent to candidates can be saved as templates in order to save time, which is understandable. However, when it comes to delivering ‘bad news’, it never hurts to offer the candidate a quick 15-minute call to give the candidate feedback about their performance in the hiring process, provided that there is availability for that call. Here, the scheduling links come in very handy.

By applying these four simple points, you can elevate your candidate experience. It’s not rocket science; everyone just wants to be treated with dignity and respect, and just because the outcome is negative, it doesn’t mean that the experience needs to be negative as well.

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