Let’s be real
here. Most companies really don’t give a shrug about candidate experience. Yes,
it’s a topic that’s been making the rounds of HR and recruiting conferences for
five-plus years, but only the most sophisticated consumer brands (e.g.
Starbucks, Kraft) and companies with persistent talent shortages (e.g.
companies in tech, accounting, engineering) manage to do it well. And even many
of those fail.
From candidates’ perspective, the most critical problem is the
application black hole. This phenomenon—asking job candidates to apply for jobs
and then failing to respond to any but a tiny few of the total—is in most cases
an intentional strategy. Yes, intentional. After all, applicant tracking
systems have an auto-response feature that must be turned off.
Aside from the application black hole and tiresome online forms,
a myriad of other problems plague candidates. Poor communication about the application
process and timeline is a huge source of frustration. For example, to save time
a recruiter may schedule an in-person panel interview for a candidate, but the
candidate may be surprised (and put off) to learn they’ll be speaking to five
people at once. The situation is particularly regrettable because anyone
scheduled for a site visit is most likely a strong candidate, and therefore
someone you should be trying to impress.
The biggest challenge recruiters face is volume. If a single
recruiter is responsible for 35 open positions at any given time, and for each
role on average the company receives 75 applications… that adds up to an
untenable position for recruiters.
And yet, companies can take specific steps to improve candidate
experience with a mix of process updates, automation, and common sense.
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