Improving a Negative Candidate Experience


The hiring process varies between industries, companies, and job positions; as you would expect, the candidate experience is never the same from one to the next. There will never be a single “fix” for it, but companies can improve their processes with a little simplicity, honesty, and fun!

In talent acquisition today, we spend a lot of our time focusing on the negative experiences epidemic to recruitment and retention, and how those experiences adversely affect our business. But what are the meaningful suggestions on how, exactly, recruiters are supposed to fix what’s long been broken?

Reaching potential candidates has its own challenges, but adding an element of positivity makes it even more difficult. We have seen more and more companies focusing on unique ways to find job seekers (or anyone, really). But what happens when the ingenious plan you came up with falls flat with the actual execution?

For the candidates who already have full-time jobs, coming on too strong will work against you. Flattery is an art form. Work to impress them with why they should consider a new job and a new company. For candidates who are actively job searching, it’s a little easier to grab their attention. However, the thing both these groups have in common is the need for ease. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of job search sites to sort through. Think about it from a job seeker's point of view. Where is the easiest place to be seen? That’s where they are looking.

Application and Interview
We’ve taken what used to be a simple task and created an entire “process.” Not only do applicants have to fill out a 30-minute online form answering questions that can typically be found in a resume or cover letter, but the potential candidate then has to make time for a 30-minute phone screen (sometimes two), and then go through not one, but two more in-person interviews. And this is not counting any “projects” or “tests” many companies now require.

We can agree that one things for sure about the future of the hiring process: it doesn’t seem to be getting any shorter. So how can we get back to a streamlined interview process? The most comprehensive option would be sourcing a good applicant tracking system that will structure and streamline your entire hiring process. You can also limit the touch points. Meet with the team that must be part of the candidate’s hiring process and create a plan based on urgency and needs of everyone. If there must be two phone screens, do them at the same time—if they pass the first one, move them forward immediately. Same can be done for the on-site interviews. If this candidate is currently employed, they took time off for this opportunity, so be respectful of their time as well.

Offer and Negotiation
When the time comes for an offer, the interview process has lasted about four weeks now and expectations on both sides have been set. The company and candidate should be very transparent. Each will have done research on salary averages for the industry and position. The company shouldn’t try to offer lower than the value they are getting, and the candidate shouldn’t expect something more than the value they are offering.

At the start of the entire process, a number had been set. If you weren’t open about it, now is the time to be very honest with the candidate. Neither of you need to waste each other’s time any further if you aren’t on the same page.

The hard part is overthe candidate is hired, and by now, no one wants to go through that process again. (At least for a while!) Onboarding is the fun part for companies. They get to really show them what everyday life is going to be like. For a new employee, however, it can be a stressful time.

Think about the last job you started, whether it was 15 years ago or last month. You were unsure of boundaries, the people, or even where the restroom was. The onboarding team must remember this when introducing new employees to their new life—it’s going to feel a little overwhelming for them. Make it fun and show off your culture. Give them a friendly face every day for the first week, someone they can direct their questions to. And don’t forget to show them where the bathroom is!

While the hiring process might not be getting any shorter, we need to be aware of how it looks and feels from the candidates perspective. We won’t be able to please everyone, at the end of the day we still need to make the right hire, but we can work with potential candidates to create an enjoyable environment while they interact with us.

Topics: Talent Acquisition

Updated December 21, 2018