Candidate experience

Candidate Experience: How Top Recruiters Focus on Enhancing Quality Connections

Candidate Experience: How Top Recruiters Focus on Enhancing Quality Connections
Reading Time: 5 minutes

In recruitment, it’s not nearly enough to scan job opportunities and rally job seekers who would potentially make a good fit. The recruiting process fluctuates in difficulty, from the industry job market and talent pool to how time-consuming the perfect match can be to bring together. And these are only prerequisites to a client decision maker’s interview and hiring process, let alone onboarding.

All of this impacts how your candidates feel about working with you and the service you provide during their job search and placement. Top recruiters who make an effort to continuously improve their candidate experience strategy have a competitive advantage when sourcing top talent. 

What is the candidate experience?

All the steps a candidate takes between initial contact with a recruiter about a job opportunity and successfully filling the role -make up their candidate experience. Each interaction, from pipeline to placement, can impact how a job seeker views your role as a helpful recruiter and search consultant.

Recruiting at a high level means considering how stressful a job search can be and providing an experience that not only alleviates this process but ripples into long-lasting results, both for the people you’re working with and yourself.

External factors can also influence a positive or negative experience, such as how well you represent your services and even your company on social media or professional platforms. Word of mouth from previous candidates and clients also goes a long way in either confirming the quality of your work or potentially chipping at your reputation. 

Here are some areas of focus regarding your candidate’s experience:

  • Employee branding: Do you have a professional online presence to match the quality of your services as a career matchmaker? You can strengthen the appeal of what you have to offer job seekers and clients by keeping your brand on point.
  • Job descriptions: Are you the type of recruiter that leaves a little too much mystery? Go above the bare minimum of a job title and responsibilities by adding the company culture and atmosphere in your job postings so that qualified candidates can get a sense of the hiring managers you’re partnered with.
  • Job search and match process: Are you being upfront about what’s available and who you’re targeting for a desirable match? Rather than slinging resumes to see what sticks, candidates appreciate a proactive search plan with intention.
  • Communication: Are you consistent with sharing unfavorable news as well as good news? Being honest and transparent is the best course of action when building a foundation of trust for current and future candidates.
  • Interview preparation: How well do your candidates know about displaying their professional assets to your clients? You may have played the part of bringing two well-suited parties together, and you can help solidify that connection by prepping job-seekers so that they put their best foot forward during the interview process.
  • Feedback and check-ins: Is there room in your recruiting strategy for touching base? Keeping your candidates in the loop throughout their job search journey is expected, but you can take it a step further and make lasting impressions through your reliability.

Why is candidate experience so important?

Truth be told, there’s a lot to gain from a positive candidate experience. Consider these outcomes:

A candidate who appreciates your approach to alleviating the friction of their job search and finds value in the type of opportunities you bring to their attention will more than likely want to continue working with you. They may even develop a sense of comfort and familiarity with your quality of service should an interaction with one of your hiring managers not result in an offer.

Suppose a candidate you’ve helped secures a role and is overall satisfied with your part in getting them closer to their dream job, even through all the ups and downs of their job search. In that case, they’ll be more willing to recommend fellow job-seekers because they can attest to your effort in providing similar outcomes to their referrals. 

And, of course, raving testimonials and personal accounts of candidate success stories help amplify your credibility and production as an exceptionally skilled recruiter amongst your competitors.

But maybe it’s still not enough to highlight the need for a solid action plan regarding a candidate’s experience. So here are some adverse effects just to keep it spicy:

Criteria‘s 2022 Candidate Experience Report found that of their sample size of nearly 2,000 job candidates around the globe, “53% abandoned a recruitment process because of poor communication and 32% because the recruiting process took too long.” A clear indication that being on the same page as your candidates and open about their status with your clients is crucial for generating positive long-term connections.

This 2021 study concluded that “58% of job seekers have declined an offer due to poor candidate experience.” Making it evident that handling candidate relationships without care could cause you to lose them altogether and hurt your repertoire with clients.

Similar findings by LinkedIn reported that “80% of candidates who experience an unsatisfactory recruitment process revealed that they openly tell people about their experience, and a third of these candidates will do so proactively.” Further stating the obvious that word of mouth can do some serious damage if taken lightly.

The next step in improving your recruiting strategy and focusing on quality connections with your candidates is determining what areas need extra investment. 

Obstacles to overcome when developing a positive candidate experience

Over time, recruiters and headhunting have gotten a bad rap. Though there’s no reason in particular for why, a possible explanation could be an ineffective transition from traditional to digital recruitment. With the availability of tools and resources to reach more job seekers across industries and locations, some recruiters have become too removed from what makes professionals in talent sourcing so valuable: People who genuinely care about helping others grow and advance in their careers.

Inefficient training and the occasional “commission breath” can also encourage haphazardly trying to force together two pieces that clearly don’t serve a common interest, souring the connections of both clients and candidates. But what does this mean for recruiters truly wanting to hone their skills and reach the top of their game in the industry?

gpac knows recruitment, and it’s been a 30+ year mission in the making to care for and grow the industry by sharing the knowledge and expertise of their most successful recruiters. With support in training and a team atmosphere, beginners and experts in recruitment can master the craft from the convenience of their home and fully experience the laptop lifestyle a recruiter career path offers.

gpac image with the text "Get talent, match talent or be talent" and the gpac logo in it.

A recruiting strategy for quality connections

When it comes down to it, high-quality candidates expect high-quality treatment. And the better the candidate experience strategy, the better the outcome. Implement these parting suggestions into your recruiting process for improved results:

  1. Structure your front line of professionalism through company profiles, professional platforms like LinkedIn, and other social media channels.
  2. Showcase the human side of this people business by being personable and, above all, yourself.
  3. Support your brand and reputation by maintaining consistent communication and mutual respect with candidates at every stage of their search and placement.
  4. Retain your competitive edge by going above and beyond when qualifying candidates, streamlining the interview and hiring process, and easing their transition to a new career.
  5. Never stop looking for ways to take your recruitment game further.

Contributed by Mary Dominguez

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