by Sam Neo
In today’s highly competitive job market for top talents, candidate experience is one area that could potentially be a key differentiator to help organisations secure the desired piece to enable greater success in the longer term. But, what does it really mean by creating a positive candidate experience?
What does candidate experience actually mean?
The importance of being human during the process is key. When approaching the candidate’s questions or concerned, it is necessary to be empathetic and understand their needs as well. We can get excited when assessing candidates during platforms like assessment centers but failure to consider their comfort level can easily backfire.
Think about this, an interview process should be a two-way traffic, not a one-way interrogation. We are trying to build a positive relationship during the process with a talent who wants to feel valued and not buying a product that will be readily disposed of right after using it. It is essential to know their profile and understand their needs before tailoring the experience accordingly.
Why is it important?
To fight for a top talent, you simply have to up your game. After all, a highly sought-after talent has no short of suitors and if you are not going to stand out from the crowd, why would the individual bother about you?
It is important to note that one bad experience that a candidate had could easily create a bad reputation for the organisation. In particular with today’s social media outreach, poor management of a candidate’s experience can create a negative ripple effect that writes off all the branding efforts done previously.
HR needs to play a dual role in managing the candidate while working closely with the line managers to make it happen. The hiring process can be long drawn. To help candidates sustain their energy and interest, HR needs to play an active role to engage them. For instance, meeting them for coffee chats during the interim or even getting line managers to get in touch with them to keep the conversation going during the process. Key ideas here, get hiring managers involved and be a friend of the candidate.
How to create the desired candidate experience?
Consider a funnel approach; perhaps a candidate experience starts even before a candidate applies for the job. In fact, the market brand might be key for a start before even funneling down to the employer brand. First, candidates need to have a liking for the company’s brand from an offering perspective. Thereafter, continue to build a strong employer brand to get them excited to apply to you. This way, you attract the right talents and that’s where you can start engaging them in the right manner.
During the hiring process, candidates need to feel respected and sense your sincerity. That’s key and can only take place if you speak from your heart. In particular, for those candidates who are unable to succeed for a current role, it’s also important to continue engaging them positively with the same approach because you never know if they may eventually become the right talent for your future positions.
In addition, we should not neglect regional implications too. Often, we might be too ingrained with what we are doing in the local context and neglect that cultural differences needed to be taken care off as well. Technology is key, and one way for us to leverage on it could perhaps be in the situation where mass hiring is required. With technology, HR can then scale the initial candidate experience which is necessary to engage and create the required consistency.
The importance of empathy should not be neglected as well. With the help of technology, we can scale what HR is doing. Likewise, for this case, it will also help to put empathy at scale. In addition, technology will aid in removing biasness from the hiring process to ensure a fairer process. That way, you will also have a better shot at hiring the right talents for the organisation.
The hiring process can be painful and candidates might suffer from fatigue during this period of time. How can we help them sustain their interest and energy? What can we do to ensure they are constantly engaged during the entire process?
The candidate experience is, therefore, an integral part of securing the desired talent. HR can do more than just transactional work. This is one area where HR not plays the role of hiring the right talents, but also build the company’s employer brand which is key in this talent war.