Design a positive candidate experience to support your hiring process

Written by Trevor McGlochlin, Research Consultant
Previously published by PSI Talent Management or Cubiks, prior to becoming Talogy.

A healthy talent pipeline, better company reputation, candidates becoming customers, less turnover, are among the many benefits that come from providing a positive candidate experience. Even though you can’t give everyone a job, you can still give everyone a good experience in your hiring process. In a survey of 1200 professionals, CareerArc discovered that 60% of candidates have had a poor experience. Here are five ways to ensure a positive experience in your hiring process:

1. Keep the process as quick as possible, but don’t compromise the quality of your process.

Talent Acquisition’s goal is to hire individuals who are a good fit for the position and to make sure the position is a good fit for the individual. It sounds simple, but it does take time to do it right. Don’t be willing to give up quality in your process so that that candidates have a better experience. A robust hiring process has its advantages. For example, those candidates who take the process seriously and expect an opportunity to fully display their knowledge, skills, and abilities will probably be successful in that role. With that said, there is no need to drag on a hiring process longer than normal. Though unexpected delays and hiring freezes can arise, there should still be a certain level of transparency with candidates. Establish an open line of communication between hiring managers, HR representatives, and other key stakeholders. This can speed up the hiring process by days or even weeks.

2. Understand the candidate pool.

Another key to creating a positive candidate experience is to consider the industry, job level, location, and any other factors that will help you gain insight on the candidate pool of your target job. Your hiring process could include tools that don’t make sense for that particular candidate pool, which could hinder the candidate experience. For example, if the position to be filled is a hands-on manufacturing position, a selection process full of interviews and resumes may not give them an opportunity to display their skills. However, if you provided them a simulated hands-on test that actually assess their ability to do the job, they will likely have a better experience and feel more validated. 

3. Keep your hiring process face-valid.

Face validity is the degree to which a psychological test or assessment appears effective in terms of its stated aims. For example, a simulation would be highly face-valid if the simulation included tasks that were almost identical to those tasks required on the job. This is a very important element of the selection process. Currently, there are discussions of incorporating game-based assessments into the hiring process. This could be damaging from an applicant perspective if the game is not face-valid. (I would be confused and frustrated if I didn’t get a position because my gaming skills were not up to par!) Assure that every hurdle in the hiring process correlates to some degree with the job to which people are applying.

4. Keep your technology up to date.

This is straightforward. Applicants make judgments based on the organization’s website and initial application process. If they encounter an outdated interface, a messy process, and/or technical issues the’re a higher chance they will drop out before submitting information. This is especially true for top talent. Start off on the right foot. Usually that first candidate experience is online.

5. Provide feedback throughout the process.

As it is in so many other aspects of success, communication is vital to a positive candidate experience. Research states that 60% of candidates say better communication throughout and after the applicant process would make the most positive impact. Many organizations will provide automatic responses when a candidate has submitted an application or finished an online assessment, but the value from human conversation and an opportunity to ask questions can dramatically change the candidate experience.

Many companies simply do not have the resources and time to reach out in this way to candidates, so another option is to outsource some recruiting and selection tasks. There are pros and cons to this approach. While you get an actual person to talk to during the process, sometimes that person is completely unaware of the candidate’s status later in the hiring process. Essentially, this can lead to confusion for the candidate. In my personal experience during one selection process, I had three different people contacting me to ask how the process was progressing. Two of those three individuals did not know any information about my current status as they were recruiters working for an outsourced company. So, while it’s good to communicate, it’s important to keep that communication organized, precise, and informative.

There are many additional ways to enhance the candidate experience. Continue to ask candidates for feedback and understand specifically what your candidates are saying about your selection process to outline a more tailored plan for improvement for your organization’s selection process.

Four key elements for an effective hiring process

Effective hiring requires strategic planning.

How can you ensure that your end-to-end screening and selecting process will ensure you’ll end up hiring the best talent for your roles, while also providing an engaging and thorough candidate experience?

Our infographic illustrates the four key steps an organization can take to support a smooth and successful hiring process regardless of whether you’re screening at volume, or selecting from a small talent pool.

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4 key elements for an effective hiring process cta infographic cover