The importance of candidate experience

the importance of good candidate experience

Recruiting has always been, and will no doubt always continue to be, a relationships business. That is why recruiters that are able to develop the best pool of talent will always have a good supply of business.

The overall landscape in the battle for the best talent has unquestionably shifted, thanks to the arrival of social media. Today’s candidates are gradually getting themselves onto an equal footing with organisations regarding perception, communication and the ability to choose whether or not to maintain engagement.

Why candidate experience matters

Due to the rise of the social media, we cannot stress enough the importance of creating the best possible candidate experience. Sadly, many recruiters still have the attitude that they do not work for the candidate, and while this is partly true, the reputation of a recruiter and their company is crucial to their profitability going forward.

You need your successful candidates to not only come back if they decide to move on to another position, but also you need them to spread the word among their friends and colleagues about how good you are. And, something that recruiters all too often forget, you also need the same from your unsuccessful candidates.

For this reason, creating a good candidate experience not only matters from just a good practice level, but it can also vastly improve a recruiter’s employment record as well as their overall brand, not to mention their chances of getting candidates to re-engage.

We live in a world where recruiters and hiring companies are moving away from the old transactional recruiting model – based on one job – towards creating continuing and ongoing relationships with candidates through talent networks and talent communities. This means that keeping on the right side of your candidates is hugely important and the above points are even more pertinent.

The social media effect

Today, irrespective of the hiring outcome, whether the candidate gets the job, withdraws from the process or is unsuccessful, the relationship between candidate, organisation and recruiter no longer ends there.

The UK Candidate Experience, which was released last summer, found the majority of candidates are “likely” or “very likely” to tell their friends about their recruiter experiences, whether these were positive or negative.

The report also highlighted that a growing number of individuals were even willing to go a step further and share their experiences with quite literally “everyone” via blogs, Facebook and company and jobs rating site. That should really be a sobering thought for anyone that doesn’t treat their candidates with the utmost respect.

Dealing with candidate rejection

Moreover, recruiters wanting to develop their talent pipelines need to ensure they aren’t alienating quality candidates during the rejection process.

This means extra attention needs to be paid to how any rejection message is delivered. The message that recruiters (and indeed organisations) should be giving out is “not right now”, instead of just “not right”.

The problem for a lot of the recruitment industry is the people handling the rejection process tend to have little or no training in how to do it. What this ultimately means is we are essentially rejecting people without having a proper process in place. Not the best way to make an impression, is it?

Pick up any marketing magazine and you’ll find reference somewhere to brand experience being crucial, but recruiters need to make sure they realise that this refers to their industry as well.


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