Recruiting in Unprecedented Times -- Evolving the Candidate Experience

Posted by Christie Hardy Perez on April 20, 2020

Deltek Talent Mangement Blogs

We are somewhere in the middle of an unparalleled event that will likely change the way with think about how we work forever. This ‘new normal’ we are living may not last forever, but it is likely that more of the workforce will expect different working options in the future. The demands of the workforce will continue to evolve, which will impact everything from how employees are managed to how new hires are recruited.

Candidates are experiencing challenges like never before. Some companies have placed a freeze on hiring and positions that are actively being recruited for are attracting massive amounts of applicants. Other companies may be faced with remote hiring in order to accommodate new projects resulting from stimulus dollars being injected into the certain parts of the economy. Now more than ever, companies must ensure they have an attractive brand and excellent candidate experience. And as we all know, once we start returning back to normal, even some of our own furloughed employees may choose to look elsewhere.

The many of us tend to overlook the ‘experience’, that is, what our candidates are going through when trying to find and apply to jobs. After they apply, what is the impression they get while wondering if their resume has been reviewed, considered, and when or if they will hear back from anyone? This lack of transparency and follow up can lead to a poor candidate experience. As Talent professionals, we need to challenge ourselves on changes we need to make to improve their experience if we stand a chance to win over the best and brightest for our business.  

The goal here is to provide you with some quick and easy wins that will help you get the advantage and fill project positions faster than ever before. But first, let’s look at a few stats that will support the best practices we will cover.

  • Gallup report indicated that 60% of candidates say that better communication throughout and after the application process would make the most positive impact. 
  • Glassdoor reported very closely to the same with 58% of candidates citing that the most important factor to a positive experience included clear and regular communication.
  • Glassdoor also reported that making an online job application even 10% easier to complete can cause a 2.3% increase in job applications from mobile users and a 1.5% increase from desktop users.

Consider what a poor or negative candidate experience can do to your business. After a Rallyfwd conference, the attendee poll summarized that 73% of companies say they have been impacted by a negative candidate experience. This could mean reduction in referrals, poor reviews on social media sites, and an overall decline in candidate applications. Another stat that ties into this as well is 50% of candidates say they wouldn't work for a company with a bad reputation – even for a pay increase.

So, the question is “what can you do now to ensure your positions are viewed, applications flood in, and you have overall project success?”

Company Brand – Your Image

Think about the last time you reviewed your company’s website content.  Have you provided any new videos about company culture, what benefits or perks are offered, as well as career growth opportunities with your company? Does your website stand out from your competition? As a rule of thumb, you should review your career site at least every two to three years but once a year doesn’t hurt. That doesn’t necessarily mean you need to change things but keep in mind, the internet is constantly changing, software changes, and the world definitely continues to evolve. As we navigate our new normal, what candidates are looking for in a company will definitely change and we need to make sure we are keeping with the pace of our competition to keep candidates interested.

Application Process

When designing and configuring your candidate application process or workflow, be sure you are only capturing what is absolutely necessary up front. To throw another stat at you, 60% of job seekers have quit an application due to its length or complexity (Lever.co/blog). If your application is too lengthy and takes too long for candidates to complete, where they have to save and come back to it later, that may create angst and discourage the candidate from completing the process or they may forget altogether.  If you’re not seeing the application completion numbers you’d like, review your workflow. When applications are simple, quick and easy not only does it increase your application completion rates, but it gives recruiters an opportunity to follow-up with candidates and start developing a relationship.  

Additionally, are you:

  • Leveraging social apply methods? Are your candidates able to apply using existing social profiles eliminating the need to create and maintain additional accounts?
  • Screening candidates based on required skills, experience or certifications the job req requires? Be sure your screen-in and screen-out messages are clear on what the candidate’s next steps are. Even if they are screened-out, provide a message that is encouraging leaving a positive impression as the candidate may be a good fit for future project positions.
  • Keeping candidates informed by using Talent’s Candidate Status Transparency System Setting? This provides an update to your candidates on where they are with their application process without the recruiter or the candidate having to reach out.
  • Reviewing your general reply emails? What does your automated “Thank you for applying email” say about you and your company? Do not leave the candidate hanging with a simple thank you. Encourage them to check other positions they may be a good fit for, provide links to your company’s social pages like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, etc. where candidates can stay informed on your company. Use this opportunity to tout on all the great things your company has to offer. 
  • Taking the time to walk through your application process, start to finish, including reviewing your messaging so that you can see first-hand what your candidates have to experience? I encourage you to do this and adjust your processes as needed to improve the candidate experience.

Leverage Talent Pools and Talent Relationship Management (TRM) Campaigns

You’ve probably heard me or one of my colleagues say that Top Candidates are gone within 10 days. This stat should resonate with anyone in the project based business world knowing how critical it is to start projects on time. 

Talent Pools help you build pipelines of your runner-up candidates that are specific to your business.  You’re able to categorize and group candidates so that you can easily locate them later. This is one of the best proactive methods you can use in your recruiting strategy.

We’ve talked about Talent Relationship Management (TRM) in the past and have several resources available to you around TRM campaigns which you can find on our company website. TRM is designed to help you develop lasting relationships and build trust with your candidates. Adding drip campaigns as part of your recruiting processes will give you the upper hand when needing to fill future project positions.

Candidates are Customers too

Keep in mind, these best practices are just a few examples of ways to improve the candidate experience.  I encourage you to make it a habit to continuously review your processes and identify what is working and what isn’t. We know candidates and recruiting is an ebb and flow and we have to be flexible enough to shift and adjust as needed.

To be successful, we all need to deliver a meaningful candidate experience that keeps them coming back again and again. Without our candidates, we cannot run our business or our projects. Our candidates are our customers!

References/Stats

50% of candidates say they wouldn't work for a company with a bad reputation – even for a pay increase. (Betterteam Blog 2017)

https://rallyrecruitmentmarketing.com/2019/12/candidate-experience-statistics-from-rallyfwd/

https://www.glassdoor.com/employers/resources/hr-and-recruiting-stats/

https://www.hci.org/blog/statistics-rethink-your-candidate-experience-or-ruin-your-brand

HCI https://www.hci.org/blog/statistics-rethink-your-candidate-experience-or-ruin-your-brand