We know how challenging it can be to fill technical roles. As recruiters in the IT space, we are constantly searching for those elusive unicorns - candidates with the perfect combination of technical skills, soft skills, and culture fit. Once we find them, providing an amazing candidate experience is critical to closing them and ensuring they join team. If we mess up that experience, all our hard work sourcing and screening goes right down the drain as the candidate accepts another offer or decides the role isn’t right for them after all.
What Is the Candidate Experience?
The candidate experience refers to a candidate’s impressions and interactions with your company during the hiring process. It spans from the moment a candidate first discovers our job listing to after they’ve interviewed and either received an offer or rejection.
Optimizing the candidate experience means providing an enjoyable, respectful hiring process that leaves candidates with a positive view of our organization, even if they don’t get the job. When we get the candidate experience right, it leads to:
- Higher offer acceptance rates. Candidates who have a good experience are more likely to accept our job offers.
- Increased referrals. Happy candidates will refer other great candidates to us.
- Improved employer brand. Candidates will give our company positive reviews and ratings on sites like Glassdoor, boosting our reputation.
- Future rehires. Candidates may come back to us again in the future when they’re on the job market.
Why the Candidate Experience Matters for Recruiting IT Specialists
For candidates, the recruiting process is their first impression of your company and culture. If the experience leaves them frustrated, confused or disengaged, they may withdraw from consideration or decline an offer. On the other hand, a positive, thoughtful experience can strengthen their enthusiasm and desire for the role.
When recruiting IT professionals in particular, a great candidate experience is key. Tech candidates tend to be selective, looking for companies that share their values of efficiency, transparency and innovation. They expect a hiring process that is as well-designed as the products they build.
As recruiters, we should aim to make each touchpoint in the recruiting funnel - from first contact to offer negotiation - as candidate-centric as possible. This means:
- Providing a clear explanation of the role, requirements, interview process and timeline upfront. The more details we can share about the company and team culture, the better.
- Giving candidates opportunities to ask questions and address any concerns. We need to be available and responsive to build trust and rapport.
- Ensuring a smooth interview experience. Work with hiring managers to limit repetitive questions, keep candidates on schedule and provide constructive feedback.
- Maintaining open communication even after the final interview. Update candidates frequently on the status of their application and next steps. Let them know they remain a priority.
By optimizing for the candidate experience, company makes a meaningful first impression, build goodwill and gain a competitive advantage. Candidates will see how much we value them and the role, making them more likely to join our team. Focusing on the experience is well worth the investment for recruiting top tech talent.
What is a Good Candidate experience?
Treating candidates with courtesy and respect
Make sure to respond promptly to applications and questions, keep candidates informed at every stage of the process, and give constructive feedback when we reject someone for a role. Candidates appreciate when we value their time and efforts in applying.
Streamlining the interview process
The last thing we as recruiters want is for candidates to feel frustrated by a disorganized or overly lengthy interview process. We work to schedule interviews efficiently and avoid asking repetitive questions. When possible, we conduct initial screenings by phone to determine if an in-person interview is warranted. This shows we respect the candidate's time.
Providing transparency into the role and company culture
During the interview give candidates a clear picture of the key responsibilities of the position, day-to-day expectations, company values, and opportunities for growth. We want candidates to feel excited about the prospect of joining our team.
Following up and giving feedback
Even if company doesn't extend an offer, you should always follow up with candidates to let them know the outcome of the interview and provide constructive feedback. Comapnys' goal is to make every candidate feel their time was well spent, regardless of the end result.
What is a Bad Candidate Experience?
As recruiters, we’ve all had candidates tell us about poor experiences they’ve had in the hiring process. And as much as we’d like to blame “the other guy,” the truth is we’re all guilty of creating a bad candidate experience at some point. But what exactly constitutes a bad experience for a candidate?
One of the biggest issues candidates report is radio silence from the companies they’ve applied to. Not receiving any updates or next steps for weeks or even months leaves candidates frustrated and creates a poor impression of the organization. We owe it to our candidates to provide regular communication, even if it’s just a quick email to let them know their application was received and is under review.
A disjointed, drawn-out interview process signals to candidates that we don’t have our act together. When scheduling interviews, be sure to block off enough time and have all key stakeholders meet with the candidate in one visit if possible. Send an agenda ahead of time so they know what to expect. A poor experience early on could turn off an otherwise great candidate.
Lack of Transparency
Candidates should never feel like they're in the dark about where they stand or what the next steps are. Be open and honest in your communication about the hiring timeline, key requirements, interview process, and ultimate decision. Let candidates know if there are any areas they could strengthen for the role. Your transparency and constructive feedback will be much appreciated, even by those not selected to move forward.
Lack of Personalization
Using a one-size-fits-all approach in recruiting fails to make a connection with candidates. Take the time to personalize your outreach, understand their motivations and priorities, and speak to their specific experience. People can tell if you’ve put in the effort to get to know them versus just blasting out a generic message. Personalization is key to creating a great experience.
A good candidate experience is essential not only for attracting top talent but also for building a reputation as an employer of choice. Take a look at your own recruiting practices to make sure you’re not contributing to a poor experience for candidates. With a few small changes, you can make a big impact.
What are the benefits of candidate experience?
As recruiters, improving the candidate experience should be one of our top priorities. Why? Because there are significant benefits to providing an exceptional experience for candidates.
Higher Quality Candidates
When candidates have a great experience with our company and recruiting process, they are more likely to accept an offer. They will also spread the word that we are a great company to work for, which helps to attract more high-quality candidates.
Improved Employer Brand
How candidates perceive their experience with us has a huge impact on our employer brand. Candidates who are treated well and feel valued during the recruiting process will give us positive reviews and help strengthen our reputation. This makes it easier to recruit talent in the future.
When we invest in the candidate experience, it leads to a better use of time for both recruiters and hiring managers. Candidates who fully understand the role and company culture are less likely to drop out of the interview process or renege on an offer. This results in less time wasted on unqualified candidates.
A poor candidate experience often leads candidates to share their frustrations on sites like Glassdoor, which can damage our brand and require resources to address. It also leads to higher drop-off rates during the recruiting process, forcing us to spend more on sourcing new candidates. By improving the experience, we save money that would otherwise be spent on damage control and sourcing.
Optimizing the candidate experience is a win-win for both recruiters and candidates. At ABC Recruiting Inc., we aim to treat each candidate with courtesy and respect. By investing in their experience, we are able to build better relationships, save time and money, strengthen our brand, and hire higher quality talent. Our goal is for candidates to walk away with a positive impression of our company, even if they are not selected for the role.
So there you have it, fellow recruiters. Some easy ways we can step up our candidate experience game and make a real difference for tech talent. By focusing on communication, speed, and personalization, we'll build better relationships and get great candidates excited about our companies and roles. It may require a bit more work on our end, but the payoff will be huge. Stronger candidate experiences mean higher quality hires, better retention, and a talent pool that wants to work with us again and again. The tech industry moves fast, so we've got to as well. Let's get out there and spread the word - we're the recruiters who don't just fill positions, we craft amazing candidate journeys. The future of recruiting is bright, and it's up to us to make it shine.