Retorio's guideline for candidate experience. Insights why AI is crucial for a contemporary and successful candidate experience.
What is Candidate Experience?
Candidate experience describes the way candidates perceive the company throughout the process of application. This experience shapes their impression of the employer and expectations about future interactions.
In a way, this can be compared to customer experience in commerce, where customers likewise, interact with and perceive the company and product.
The overall experience a candidate gains while applying for a job includes:
- initial job search
- application process
- job interviews
- feedback (job offer or rejection)
- onboarding of the candidate
These are also crucial times and opportunities where you should communicate with your candidates. This means acknowledging their application, scheduling an interview and thanking them for the interview --making a job offer or rejecting them for the job.
If you have a custom for each of these steps, you are already shaping your candidates’ experience.
Why candidate experience matters
Candidate experience matters because it will determine the overall company image; this, in turn, affects their decision to accept the job offer or the way they speak about the company to friends and family.
Leaving candidates with a bad impression has two effects:
- scaring away eligible candidates already in the process
- creating bad employer branding (negative word-of-mouth/ online reviews on websites like Glassdoor or social media) for future applicants. Indeed, 64% of applicants say they would share negative application experiences with friends and family and 27% would actively discourage others from applying.
On the other side, 73% of job seekers say that the process of looking for a job is one of the most stressful events in life. Thus, by creating a recruitment process that is both enjoyable and exhilarating for the candidate you will stick out from the pool of average employers.
Attracting tech talent
The war for talent is on. Finding candidates for positions -especially in software engineering and tech jobs- is becoming an even harder struggle for hiring managers. The fact that 50% of all software developers plan on switching jobs in the next year, offers both threat and opportunity.
Creating a candidate experience strategy begins knowing where to look. In fact, more than 73% of job seekers today are only passively looking for a job. Thus, by keeping in contact with top candidates via LinkeIn or Xing and considering initial applications you will manage to stay competitive.
Firstly, there are a few eligible websites where to look for full-stack engineers, data scientists, back-end engineers, or senior software engineers: namely ...Angellist, Coderbyte, Github, Stack Overflow and many more.
Secondly, knowing what engineers are looking for -beyond compensation- is key to attracting talent:
This means working in a supporting team on an interesting task with the opportunity for personal development.
Even if you don’t work in a cutting edge industry or your company doesn’t get a ton of tech press, highlight what you do offer your technical recruits. Keep it authentic by sitting down with a technical recruit and offering them a vision of where this company intends to go--and how they can be an integral part of shaping it. If this doesn’t excite them, share other value-adds for a recruit, like development stipends, the yearly work trip, or the ability to work remotely.
Thirdly, if you are certain to have found a top candidate, be also willing to “change the job” by customizing it. Maybe tasks originally envisaged for the open position can be taken over by in-house employees and others directed to the new candidate. Most important is you stay open for suggestions and alternative ways of applications -as relationship building with tech talent lies at the core of this era’s candidate experience strategy.
Millennials (those born between about 1980 and 2000) are forecast to comprise 75% of the global workforce by 2025. Gen Z, the generation born between 1995 and the early-to-mid 2000s, depending on the source, is the first generation born into a digital world.
Evidently, these digital natives are a handful—and hold a handful of expectations on how the candidate experience should work. They don’t remember the world before the Internet. They expect speed and follow-through on services and products. The interconnectedness of social media, Google, and everything accessible within a few clicks means digital natives are used to playing the comparison game—and they’re good at it. Their behavior is similar to modern-day consumers---and what they're looking for in their recruiting experience.
Applicants want a rapid, effective, and trusted interview process.
Compared to previous generations, Millennials prefer protecting their own time. Much like how they shop on Amazon—personalized and with only a few clicks—they’re demanding a fast and personalized application process. A poor candidate experience invokes the same frustration we feel when we try to make an online purchase: the frustration of making an account, awaiting card approval, or putting in endless personal details. Consumers walk away from such e-commerce sites; qualified candidates would do the same from such a hiring experience.
For Millennials, their principal motivations are adaptability, feedback, and a strong sense of purpose. Gen Z focuses on privacy, autonomy and meaningful experience.
Therefore, recruiters need to change their strategy in how they attract and identify talent. This includes amping up their hiring process, delivering a solid candidate experience custom-made for these target groups.
How AI will improve your Candidate Experience
This is where artificial intelligence enters the play: AI recruitment is the Amazon of candidate experience: rapid, effective, and highly personalized.
AI may conjure an image of a black box technology, or some sort of futuristic wish. However, major corporations have been using the advanced tech for years for their talent management pipelines. IBM, KPMG, and Disney leverage AI recruitment to find the best and the brightest candidates—nowadays, that means digital natives. Talent acquisition needs to be tailored to what these candidates are looking for.
Millennials and Gen Z want AI-based personalized support
Results stemming from customer experience show that -as customer expectations are increasing- the companies that stand out are those doing three things:
- simplify their purchasing experiences.
- communicate with digital tools, like a support chat, a bot, or giving rapid feedback.
- use analytics to continually improve their own processes.
These parameters also showcase the expectation applicants have of their candidate experience. Digital natives tend to be more communicative with organizations and view AI as a helpful tool, as it creates a more personalized and rapid interaction.
Thus, companies and hiring managers have to work to link systems together, from application contact, the interview process, to the follow up. Managing the candidate experience means ensuring every touchpoint is personal and rapid. The candidate experience should be seamless and easy to implement.
Simple and personal process
Applying to a job is a personal decision. Hiring managers can use AI to create a personalized and supportive candidate experience. Understanding a candidate’s personality reveals a more holistic view of their potential values, such as the degree to which they value autonomy, team collaboration, the status quo, or originality. Creating an aligned company culture is about finding employees who appreciate and value the same goals as the organization, helping it remain competitive.
AI recruitment evaluates fit at a more rapid pace according to settings tailored by the hiring managers. AI recruitment can also save time inputting information by securely storing applicant data from a previous application. The candidate experience in recruitment should be one that showcases applicants their time matters.
Mobility and ease
Millennials and Gen Z are comfortable—and often prefer—mobile in their candidate experience. Retorio’s AI video recruitment delivers to Millennials and Gen Z what they’re after: flexibility, ease, and familiarity with their favorite digital tools, mobile and video.
Millennials and Gen Z have become the largest portion of the workforce. Though they may not carry senior-level titles in the workplace just yet, they already possess considerable influence over how the candidate experience and recruitment strategy is being repurposed. They're looking to HR professionals to get it right in terms of mobile ease, rapid feedback and communication, and making it a transparent and personal interaction.
How to optimize your Candidate Experience - ask your candidates
There are many key levers for optimizing your candidate experience. In general, it is effective to consider the following:
- Be fast in the recruitment process (short response times)
- Let your candidates know where they stand - giving constant feedback
- Treat candidates like customers (spend 50% of interview time selling)
- Keep the application process simple (removing technical obstacles)
- Choose your job description carefully (considerate of target group’s use of vocabulary)
- Highlight employer benefits (besides payment)
For a more tailor-made road map of your company’s candidate experience it is recommended, however, to conduct a Candidate Experience Survey.
Candidate Experience Survey
Setting up a candidate experience survey will help you examine your process through the eyes of the candidate, rather than your own good intentions.
Trustworthy candidate experience surveys follow these 3 things1. Remain anonymous
Making feedback anonymous is a best-practices approach to receiving quality feedback. If a survey is not anonymous, candidates will have little motivation to answer honestly. Be sure to emphasize the anonymity of the survey to reap the fullest benefits.
2. Highlight areas of improvement
Be specific about questions. Inquiries can range from the more broad---”Rate your overall application process experience with us”---to the more granular---”Did you find the video interview aspect easy to understand?”. Asking both about the overall experience and specific touchpoints, combined with recruiting metrics, supports a more powerful insight into what’s working in your hiring process and what needs to be reviewed.
3. Increase brand value
Remember how friends and families will ask a candidate about their application experience at your company? A candidate survey increases a candidate’s perception of a company, as it suggests it cares about their personal interaction. Even if a rejection occurs, it still shows that a company values their opinion and wants to meet a candidate’s applications. It tells them about a culture of self-improvement, self-reflection, and being “people led”.
Example questions to include in your candidate experience survey are
“What do you think would make our hiring process better?”
“Did you feel informed at knowing what to expect at each stage of the process?”
“How did you find the interview process?" (difficult to maneuver; fast and fluid; nothing special)
Candidate experience surveys are outlets for candidates to rate their interactions, but also an opportunity for employers to correct mistakes. Find a Sample Candidate Experience Survey here.
Email templates for the recruitment process
Like we heard before, there are crucial times and opportunities where you should communicate with your candidates:
- Acknowledge their application
- Schedule an interview or tell them they were not selected for an interview
- Thank for the interview and make job offer (or schedule a second one) or reject for the job
Candidates spend a lot of time on their application materials and process and therefore deserve an answer appreciative of their effort. Also, once drafted, the process can easily be automated by the recruiter.
An example of how to make an email draft for each of these steps can be seen on the linked pages above.