Job candidates who are searching for their next career opportunity want to have the best experience possible. According to The Economics Daily, which is released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, May’s unemployment rate was down to 3.7%. This lower rate means employers are competing with other businesses to find top talent. Most employers understand that making their hiring process easier will help them find their ideal employees. This starts by making sure the candidate’s experience is a good one.
From the moment a job candidate applies for an open position, how they feel about the company and their hiring process will make either a good impression or be disappointing. On average, the typical length of time it takes to get hired can be a minimum of two weeks or up to several months depending on the position.
Through each step, the applicant will provide facts about their previous experience, education, and skills. The employer will then assess and compare this information among all the candidates until the right match is found. A Forbes article titled,“The Importance of Treating Your Candidates as Well as Your Customers”, explains how many people have been re-examining their purpose in life and want to work for organizations that value their efforts.
Prior to the pandemic, the hiring process tended to be focused more on what the employer needed versus the overall candidate’s experience. The prominence of the company and the office perks, such as snacks or an employee gym, often attracted many to apply. Also, before automated systems were introduced, recruiters would review all the applications, schedule multiple in-person interviews, conduct a background check, and call references.
Since these recruiting tasks were labor intensive, this made the job seeking process longer for the candidate. According to CareerBuilder’s 2017 Candidate Experience Study, 83% of candidates indicated their overall experience could be improved if expectations and a clear timeline of the hiring process was shared.
During the pandemic, more automated systems were implemented in order to continue recruiting and hiring people who shifted to a work from home model. This meant interviewing needed to be done remotely. Additional technology also kept the candidate experience on track including:
Automated Tracking System (ATS) – Software that is typically used to manage the entire recruiting and hiring process in one central location.
Interview software – Used to schedule interviews, send automated reminders, or arrange one-sided interviews where applicants send recorded answers to the recruiter.
Candidate assessment software – Aptitude testing used to measure an applicant’s skill level, technical expertise, and language capabilities.
Reference checking software – Reference contacts are emailed directly to answer questions regarding a candidate’s experience, skills, and conduct.
Candidate experience analytic platforms – For measuring the candidate’s experience through surveys or reviewing their interactions during the hiring process.
The most recent statistics reported as of May 2023 in the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey, shows 10.1 million job openings. Indeed recommends that applicants send out an average of 10-15 job applications per week. As they send out numerous applications, the candidate is constantly evaluating their engagement with each potential employer including:
Communication – If a candidate has to guess about the status of their application, they often will think their information wasn’t received or the lag time is too long. Being able to receive either automated responses or logging into a portal to see the current status, keeps the job candidate engaged, and eliminates potential ghosting by the applicant.
Process length – When some employers take two weeks to initially respond to an applicant, that can be time used by another employer to move the candidate along faster through their process. Even when an applicant is excited about working for a particular company, a second choice who makes faster decisions is often more attractive.
Transparency and authenticity – With each step the candidate takes during their application journey, they typically will note how a company treats them. If the process is misleading and frustrating, the applicant will often think working for the company will be the same experience. The more transparency a company shares such as salary information, will help ensure the applicant is informed and better understands the values the company exhibits.
Retention fosters a more stable work environment
According to Indeed, retention is important for having a stronger and consistent workforce. When there is a lot of turnover, not only is the hiring process more costly, but it’s also disruptive to co-workers who need to adjust in serving customers with less assistance.
Company reputation is more secure
Applicants who feel like they were treated fairly, and enjoyed the hiring process are more likely to share their good experience on social media. This type of authentic feedback will often enhance the company’s branding and encourage others to apply.
Applicants and new hires are happier
According to Hired, 83% of those surveyed said looking for a job was more stressful than going through a divorce or breakup, which was at 92%. Anything that an employer can do to reduce job search stress will typically ensure a happier applicant, or new hire who is more likely to stay.