This final part concludes our four-part series on building a talent brand. By now, you will have built your employment brand and communicated that message across your chosen social media platforms. This next final step is so often overlooked and forgotten about, that being, the candidate experience.
Why does the candidate experience matter?
Think about your own experience as a candidate, think of a great one, now think of a poor one; there is your answer. Just as you would tell your friends and family about a poor restaurant experience, so too, would you tell them about a poor candidate experience. Eventually word spreads in the market that certain brands are labelled “time wasters”, disrespectful of candidates’ time, disorganised, hierarchal (translation = rude) or too traditional in their interview approach (translation = one-way conversation).
“.. Just as you would tell your friends and family about a poor restaurant experience, so too, would you tell them about a poor candidate experience.”
What equates to a poor candidate experience?
Reasons cited by candidates are – not hearing back when they are unsuccessful, no communication to them when a role has been put on hold, a lack of communication throughout the process, having their interview date and time moved more than once, attending an interview and waiting more than an hour. Other factors may be, expecting to meet a Line Manager who doesn’t show up, meeting future peers who are discourteous or having their interview cut unexpectedly short or being asked inappropriate questions throughout the interview. These are some of many issues that create a poor impression and an inadequate candidate experience. This matters more than companies realize, word spreads and although the brand is doing its part in telling its compelling story, the follow-through is poor and your organisation is being talked about for the wrong reasons.
Simple, effective ways to improve the candidate experience are –
- Keep your candidates informed at all points of the recruitment process, providing them with all available and necessary information.
- Ensure there is ownership of the candidate experience from one person in the organisation.
- Treat candidates as you would like to be treated, fairly and respectfully.
- Manage expectations of the length of the hiring process. If you advise potential candidates that your recruitment process is longer than average, they know what they are engaging in from the beginning.
- Be courteous at all interviews and allow time for both parties to speak.
- Regret all unsuccessful candidates, at a minimum, an email should be sent.
On that last note, I have yet to meet a candidate who is ungrateful for communication regarding them being unsuccessful; while they may be disappointed, generally they are appreciative that they now have closure.
“ .. Candidates are your brand ambassadors, so ensure you brand delivers a consistent, pleasant experience at all candidate touch-points.”
Whether you want to hire a candidate or not, they should leave the interview enthralled by the opportunity, wanting to hear more and even if unsuccessful, still open to potentially applying to your company again someday. While an unsuccessful candidate may be unsuitable for one of your roles today, they may be a suitable candidate for a different role in the future. Candidates are your brand ambassadors, so ensure you brand delivers a consistent, pleasant experience at all candidate touch-points. While building your talent brand, ensure that the story translates into an excellent candidate experience.