6 Ways to Create a Better Candidate Experience

Why do some staffing firms struggle while others keep their candidate pipelines consistently filled with qualified talent? The answer lies in the candidate experience.

Fostering a positive candidate experience is critical, as it translates to a positive working relationship and an improved reputation. If you want to improve the candidate experience, you need to assess every aspect of your process from before you even speak with a candidate to long after you've placed them in a role.

1. What's Their First Point of Awareness?

How do candidates first learn about your firm? Given that 79 percent of job seekers use social media during their job searches, there's a strong chance talent first hears about you on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, or Glassdoor. Are you harnessing your social channels to provide an ideal start to the candidate experience? Ask the same question of your website and job board listings to ensure things always begin on the right foot.

2. Plan the Initial Contact

Once awareness is achieved, initial correspondence should be more strategic than pressing "send" on a form email. Use any available information about the candidate to create an experience as unique to the individual as possible. Your ATS can often help here, so use it to its fullest potential.

Bear in mind that open rates increase 22.3 percent when emails employ personalized subject lines. Likewise, 69 percent of candidates want to hear about the position's responsibilities more than any other factor on first contact.

3. Focus on Their Needs, Not Yours

Sixty percent of job seekers abandon job applications if they are too long or complex. Additionally, only 36 percent of candidates say job ads contain clear job descriptions.

Take steps to avoid any such barriers to talent by focusing on their needs instead of yours. Prep candidates with information on potential clients and roles, and be ready to answer common questions like "Why is this role relevant to my career?" or "Why would I want to work at this organization?

4. Become an Interview Guru

Provide interview support to the candidate in any way necessary. Prep them beforehand so they know what to expect. Debrief with the candidate afterward to see how it went and reiterate the next steps. If anything was left unclear for the candidate, check in with the client to get additional information and pass it along.

5. Approach Job Offers With Care

The time between an interview and a formal job offer is the most critical in the entire process. It's a mistake to put a candidate on the back burner while waiting to hear from the client. Fifty-seven percent of candidates say the most frustrating part of the hiring process is the lengthy wait time before hearing back after an interview. The more time that goes by, the more negative the candidate experience becomes. While you may not be able to expedite a client's offer, you can regularly check in to keep the candidate updated and feeling valued.

6. Maintain the Relationship

Eighty-five percent of candidates say consistent communication is a top driver of satisfaction during the recruiting process. Set up your ATS to remind you when someone in the system hasn't been contacted in a month. Even if the candidate is still on an assignment, a casual check-in to make sure things are going as expected is a great way to improve contractor care and ensure long-term success.

A better candidate experience means happier candidates who will champion your staffing and recruiting firm. This translates to more referrals, higher job engagement, and happier returning clients. After all, when a candidate is looking for their next role, don't you want them to turn to you again?

Kevin O'Brien is cofounder of echogravity.