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Creating a Great Candidate Experience
We are all familiar with the Great Resignation, the mass exodus from the workforce. It was initially spurred by the pandemic but has continued to be exacerbated by burnout combined with the reprioritization of how people want to work and what they are willing to tolerate. This movement has created an unprecedented hiring challenge in many industries, with health care being in the top 3 industries most impacted.
Hiring new staff has always been labor-intensive, but today’s market is especially difficult, requiring employers to think differently about all aspects of the recruitment process. An important, but often overlooked part of that process, is the candidate experience. Like it or not, it’s a candidate’s market right now, so creating an experience that makes someone want to work in your organization must be a top priority.
Rethink Your Approach
Now that we’ve acknowledged the current hiring market, let’s dive into the best recruitment practices that can help you create an amazing candidate experience.
Write clear job descriptions. Candidates want to know what job they are applying for, what duties they will be responsible for and, just as importantly, what the company is about (e.g., mission, vision, and goals).
- Share what makes your organization unique and amazing. Candidates are looking for a great company first and a great job second.
- Provide specific details about the role, including expectations and responsibilities.
- Keep job descriptions concise. No one wants to — or will — read through a 3-page job description or posting.
Create an efficient process. Gone are the days when candidates willingly jump through hoops just to get an interview. Creating an efficient, barrier-free process that allows candidates to apply easily and move through proceedings quickly is the way to go.
- Utilize hiring systems that allow for short application forms and the ability to upload and/or parse resumes into your system, so candidates do not have to manually enter their past work experience. While you may not have your own internal system, platforms such as Indeed.com give you this capability.
- Do not require cover letters. While there are arguments for and against cover letters, a requirement to submit one only serves to put another obstacle in front of candidates, decreasing the likelihood they will apply.
- Ensure candidates receive an automated confirmation that their application was received, along with an expectation of when they will hear back (ideally no longer than 24 hours).
Communicate, communicate, communicate. Did I mention that communication is important? Candidates who receive prompt and frequent communication from a potential employer are more likely to accept a new role with that organization. Excellent communication can be a decisive differentiator, so use it to your advantage.
- Set a goal to respond to candidates within 24 hours of receiving their application.
- Initiate messages and reply to candidates from a unique email address to personalize the experience. The “careers@xcompany” email address can give an impersonal impression that may turn off great candidates.
- Send frequent updates on the process and timelines to candidates for reference.
Set clear expectations. Candidates want to know what to expect and when. This includes understanding how long it may take to complete the process and what each step will entail (e.g., virtual vs. in-person interviews). Don’t leave them wondering.
- Provide information such as the number of interviews, with whom, length of time, etc.
- Discuss interview formats and ensure candidates have virtual interview capabilities, if needed. Don’t assume everyone can sign-on to your preferred virtual platform.
- For in-person interviews, provide detailed information, including the address, where to enter, who to ask for upon arrival, etc.
Make interviews painless. Interviewing is a critical step in the recruitment process and can help you win top talent if well-organized.
- Train all interviewers to enhance their interview skills and ensure they know how to answer some common questions that candidates may ask.
- Ideally, share information about each interviewer with candidates prior to the meeting.
- Structure your interview process so it has a specific purpose, and each candidate has a similar experience. This helps you avoid repetitive and overlapping questions, and it may aid in making quicker decisions.
- Utilize behavioral-based interview questions that challenge candidates to give examples of past experience that align with the role. For example, if you are interviewing someone for the front desk position, a question to consider is, “Share an example of how you managed an unhappy patient, including what you did and the outcome.”
Expedite decisions. Delays in making decisions = candidates moving on to other opportunities. The process must move quickly to secure the talent you want and need in your organization.
- Regroup with your team and debrief on interviews within 24 hours of completion.
- Let candidates know immediately if they are excluded from consideration.
- Extend a job offer as soon as you reach a collective agreement that you have found the right candidate. Ideally, this is done within a few days of that candidate’s interview.
Keep applicants engaged. Creating a robust pipeline of interested candidates is the key to quickly filling roles in your organization.
- Thank all candidates for applying and going through the process, regardless of the outcome.
- Create a database of candidates who may not have been selected for the role you’re trying to fill but who you feel could be an asset to your organization in the future.
- Send out updates on new opportunities so candidates in your database are kept abreast of roles that may be a good fit.
Be open to feedback. Receiving feedback from candidates about their experience with your recruitment process is the best way to improve.
- Send a survey either at discreet steps of the process (application, interview, etc.) or at its conclusion.
- Solicit input from recently hired candidates who may be comfortable sharing their personal experience.
- In the event you don’t receive candidate feedback, put yourself or a team member through your process, identifying what works and what could be done better.
Make an Impactful Impression
So many factors influence the candidate experience: the application process, your communication and interview procedures, and your decision-making efficiency. Each step is an opportunity for you to make an impactful impression. By investing in a thoughtful, organized approach, you tell the story of why candidates should want to work in your organization. The candidate experience is part of your story and your brand — make it the best it can be, so you attract and retain top talent!
NEED RECRUITMENT HELP? Visit our recruitment services page to learn what assistance BSM can provide. Also, feel free to contact BSM with your inquires.