Without high-quality talent, your organization won’t thrive and grow. But in today’s tight job market, where candidates have their pick of jobs, it’s hard to attract top talent. That’s why it’s so critical to get the candidate hiring process right.
When your job prospects believe they’ve had an exceptional candidate experience, it builds goodwill with your brand and your organization.
The opposite is also true. When candidates don’t feel cared for, they’ll look elsewhere for employment. If their candidate experience is bad enough, they’ll stop doing business with your company and tell friends and family to do the same. That means you need to deliver a meaningful hiring experience from the first moment you engage a candidate.
A meaningful candidate hiring process means showing candidates that you care about them. You must do your best to leave a positive impression, from writing clear and accurate job ads to offering feedback and notifying unsuccessful candidates of your decision.
Most of these principles are common sense. And most talent acquisition professionals want to offer candidates a positive experience. But it’s hard to consistently deliver an exceptional experience, especially if you’re under time and cost pressures.
To help your talent acquisition team deliver the best candidate hiring experience every time, we’ve developed the CARE model. The candidate CARE model consists of four simple steps that will help you build a candidate hiring approach to demonstrate you care.
The first step in our CARE model is Configure. To provide superior candidate care, you need to have the right people, processes and technology on your talent acquisition team.
First, consider your people and ask several questions. When’s the last time you evaluated the structure of your team? What work are your team members doing? Are there tools that can help your team work more efficiently?
Whatever your team structure, make sure you’ve built in accountability. Someone must be responsible for candidate care because accountability drives commitment, which drives results. You might also build the word “candidate” into your job titles and role descriptions. This will remind your people that their work centers on promoting the candidate experience.
Additionally, with advances in technology, it may be possible to streamline your talent acquisition processes. Solutions such as AI sourcing tools and requisition workflow automation may take some of the repetitive, manual work off your recruiters’ plates. With more time available, your team will be able to refocus on building meaningful connections with candidates and responding to their needs.
The second step in the CARE model is Adapt. A candidate-centric hiring process is tailored to not only each role but also each candidate — one size does not fit all.
Your candidates will have different needs and preferences depending on the role they’re applying for and their career stage. Candidates at the executive level will expect a much different candidate experience than those at the entry level. Similarly, those applying for a tech role will have different expectations from someone applying for a contact center position.
Even within a role, candidates may have different expectations. Someone applying for their first job out of college will have different needs from a parent returning to the workforce after staying home to take care of young children.
To tailor the candidate hiring experience to your candidates, think about their journey. Focus on what you want them to think, know and feel at each stage.
Candidate-focused talent acquisition teams often create candidate personas as they think about different candidate segments. A candidate persona is a fictional character with the common traits, motivations and preferences typically found in a candidate segment.
Each persona gives you deeper insights into the goals, desires and expectations of each candidate segment, so you can design a better candidate hiring experience. Personas and segments inform your design of the candidate experience, including which channels you select, what messages you include in job postings, how you assess candidates and what technology you use.
To build a candidate persona, consider these details:
With your personas in hand, you can then consider whether you need to add any variations to each stage of the recruitment process. So, for example, you may want to offer a mobile-enabled recruitment process that prioritizes speed and convenience for recent college graduates. If you’re recruiting a senior executive, you may need to extend your recruitment process to include opportunities to sell the role and build a stronger relationship.
Talent acquisition technology can help you provide a best-in-class candidate experience, so long as it’s tempered by the human touch that’s critical to building candidate relationships. The key is to strike the proper balance between your people and your use of technology.
The right blend of technology solutions will depend on your persona. Think about what you want your candidates to think, know and feel. If you’re dealing with applicants for a high-volume role, an auto-response email is appropriate. However, if you’re hiring for an executive role, you’ll need to take a more personal approach.
Technology can also help you reach new levels of candidate care. Take, for example, chatbots, which can offer 24/7 candidate support. No matter when your candidates have questions, chatbots are there to answer them.
Chatbots can also assist with scheduling appointments and interviews and offer progress updates. You can even train your chatbots to respond to candidates in a way that reflects your organization’s culture and employer brand, whether that’s playful or professional.
You can also use technology to offer feedback. A digital assessment solution will notify candidates how they performed, a task that human teams don’t always do consistently. This feedback is meaningful because it gives every participant insights into their skills and potential. Both successful and unsuccessful candidates can use this feedback to guide future development.
Stop thinking about your candidates as potential hires. Instead, improve the candidate experience by elevating them to “employees-elect.”
To treat your candidates as team members, start giving them the same care and attention as you would employees. Give them a peek behind the curtain at your company culture and values. Emphasize your commitment to diversity and inclusion by making them feel included at every stage.
In this way, your candidate hiring process becomes an extension of your onboarding process. When hired, successful candidates feel as if they’re already a part of your organization. Because they’re more informed and engaged, they’ll start making an impact from their first day.
Unsuccessful candidates will leave with a positive impression of your brand and culture that they can share with their family, friends and colleagues — all of whom are potential employees and current or potential customers as well.
To start treating your candidates as employees, look for opportunities to engage them throughout their journey. Weave your brand and values into the hiring experience. So, if one of your organization’s key values is innovation, include cutting-edge technology at key application process points.
We’ve just scratched the surface on ways that you can ensure a more positive candidate experience with our CARE model. To start improving your journey, download our infographic and whitepaper on candidate engagement, “Who cares wins.”
Next, listen to our podcast on HRO Today, “Recruit with ‘CARE’: Candidate ‘CARE’ philosophy will be an advantage in the post-COVID-19 business world.”
Then contact us when you’re ready to start turning your vision for candidate care into reality.