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3 Ways to Improve Your Candidate Experience in 2017

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Casey Marshall is the Marketing Campaign Manager at Greenhouse. She teams up with Greenhouse partners and customers to tell a story and share insights into ways companies can improve their recruiting. She loves that this job allows her to build relationships with thought leaders and showcase how innovative companies are changing their recruiting approach. Connect with Casey on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Candidate experience is a term that we’re all too familiar with. But the fact that it’s a buzzword in our industry doesn’t mean that everyone has it figured out. Even though a lot of people use the term “candidate experience,” it means different things to different people. Some companies think that a good candidate experience is what you can offer a candidate through material incentives, like fully stocked fridges, doctors on site, or laundry services. And while perks like those may be great, they will only wow candidates temporarily.

In our latest Hiring Hacks webinar, Greenhouse partnered with two top candidate experience experts, Kevin Grossman, VP of Talent Board, and Lauren Roberts, Talent Acquisition Manager of The Muse, for a lightning round discussion of six elements that will up your candidate experience game.

Here are the top three tips Kevin and Lauren discussed during the webinar. These points will help you assess some of the candidate experience challenges you may be experiencing currently—and help you figure out how to address them!

1. Review your application process

Applying to a job takes time, sometimes too much time. On average candidates spend 30–60 minutes filling out all the necessary application fields. We hear horror stories of applicants who spend all that time completing the application process, press submit, and then an error message appears. Or even worse—and unfortunately all too common—is that once a candidate submits their application, they receive no information about what the next steps of the process will be.

It’s a frustrating process—and it doesn’t have to be. Candidates who are applying to your company are taking time out of their day to invest in an opportunity, so at the very least they want the acknowledgment that what they’ve submitted will be seen by a human and not be lost in a far away application land.

So, how can you improve this? Kevin recommends that companies start going through their own application process. Act like you are the candidate and analyze what’s working and what needs improvement. Make sure you have an automated response when candidates hit the submit button.

But keep in mind: Just because the response is automated, that doesn’t mean it can’t be personal. You can use this opportunity to provide insight about your company. Instead of the generic “thank you for applying” message we’ve all seen so many times, let the candidate know what the next steps of the application process look like and direct them to blog posts or videos. This will give the candidate confirmation that you received their application, set their expectations about what to expect next, and give them a little more context about what makes your company such a great place to work.

2. Implement Structured Hiring

Implementing a Structured Hiring process allows for clearly defined roles. Lauren adds that structure reduces unconscious bias, which will result in better hires. From a candidate’s perspective, they will feel more confident about a uniform process because they see the interview process being a more fair evaluation. A candidate doesn’t want to be asked the same questions throughout the interview process—and you don’t want to hear the same recycled answers, either. How will you be able to create an accurate assessment if questions and answers are being repeated?

In order to set the candidate up for success, inform them what they will be going through and experiencing throughout the interview process. Creating structure will take more effort and time upfront, but it’s a smart investment. Here are the two essential steps for building out a structured interview process. (For a more detailed description of Structured Hiring, be sure to check out our Structured Hiring 101 eBook.)

  1. Have a recruiter and hiring manager kick-off meeting. In that meeting, make sure that you walk away knowing what an ideal candidate looks like, what the role is, which challenges the candidate will experience in this role, and identify what it takes for the candidate to be successful.

  2. Create a custom interview process. Set interview team up for success. Start defining why they were chosen to be a part of the interview process, what they will be assessing, and any technical components such as who will be interviewing virtually compared to onsite.

The key to creating a structured interview process is preparation. Make sure that you plan and communicate to everyone that is involved and answer the why’s before others ask.

3. Prepare for the good… and the bad

Creating a positive candidate experience is altogether good for your company’s bottom line. Candidates are sharing their experiences—both positive and negative—with peers and in online forums.

In an ideal world, you want everyone to walk away with a good experience. But knowing that not everyone will be happy (especially the people you don’t hire) should encourage you to go above and beyond in areas like the application and interview process. This will leave the candidate with a good impression of the company and in return create an advocate for you.

Keep a pulse on the candidates that are applying to your jobs. Use a candidate survey to give them the opportunity to provide feedback regarding the interview experience and measure your net promoter score (NPS). It’s essential that companies find out and gauge how candidates are feeling during the application process.

Interviewing takes a lot of resources, money, and time but as long as you plan and start analyzing areas that need improvement and accept feedback, your candidate experience process will be sure to improve.

If you want to hear the three additional elements that Lauren and Kevin discussed, be sure to check out the full webinar by clicking on the button below!

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