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7 Steps to Managing the Candidate Experience

It’s no secret that the candidate experience is important. It has effects that last well beyond whether or not you hire a candidate. Which is why it’s just as important to continue to manage your candidate experience as it is to build a positive experience in the first place. Investing in creating a positive candidate experience is like purchasing a new vehicle. It’s great in the beginning, and it will provide you with a lot of value. But without proper maintenance, it won’t continue to run at the same level, and will eventually break down.

Follow this seven-step plan to make sure you continue to get the most out of your candidate experience.

1. Create a Structured Hiring Process

Having a structured hiring process helps eliminate bias, and provides your organization with other benefits. Without a structured hiring process, you can’t manage your candidate experience because there is no basis for what to change. Structure allows you to go through all the following steps in this plan.

A structured hiring process also provides benefits to your applicants. First, it provides simplicity. A structured process is much easier to follow than a chaotic one. It also sets proper expectations. Having expectations allows candidates to be more prepared, and less stressed, and ensures that you are getting the best version of each applicant throughout the process.

A structured hiring process doesn’t just allow for the candidate to be more prepared, but you as well. If you stay consistent in evaluating what is working and not working for your organization, and adjust accordingly, then you will be able to eliminate all the areas of waste in your hiring process.

2. Go Through the Hiring Process Yourself

Once you have a structure in place, test how that structure works from a candidate’s perspective. This will allow you to better manage your candidate experience by gaining insight into anything that is unnecessarily complex or long.

It can be difficult to simulate the interview process, particularly if you are the primary person conducting interviews. Review your questions and, if you do have multiple interviewers, set guidelines so you maintain consistency across candidates.

The application process is much easier to walk through. Submit an application and go through any pre-hire assessments if they are a part of your hiring process (which they should be).

Some questions you should ask yourself through this process are:

  • Is this necessary? 
  • Does it provide value to the organization? 
  • Are instructions easy to follow? 
  • Will this make qualified candidates disqualify themselves?
  • Are there any areas to simplify?

3. Use Recruitment Analytics

Data has become increasingly important in HR and recruiting is one of the main reasons why. Start by deciding which analytics to track to find additional areas of improvement in your recruitment process.

There are an enormous amount of analytics to track, so it’s important to figure out which analytics to prioritize. To determine which analytics to track, know the questions you are trying to answer. “When it comes to what to track, choose metrics that answer the question ‘Am I doing the right things?’” says Chief Customer Officer, Jen Rifkin. “If candidate success is something I’m looking to drive I need to gather information I can use. All of it is useless if it’s not actionable.”

Once you have your hiring metrics in place, and as you gather more data, track your benchmarks and evaluate them for any sudden shifts in your analytics or for areas of improvement.

4. Survey Hired and Non-Hired Candidates

First, understand all candidates’ overall feelings about the process through a quick survey. Then find specific areas they would have managed differently were they the ones creating the candidate experience.

You want to keep your survey short and to the point to ensure the maximum amount of feedback. Another way to increase feedback is to conduct the survey the moment the application is submitted. If you’re unsure of where to start, download our free candidate exit survey.

Remember that every candidate is different. Some will enjoy a part of the process that others dislike. Don’t let one response back you into changing your whole process. Look for trends in the responses:

  • Is one part of the process consistently coming up?
  • Are there strong differences between hires and non-hires?

This is also where you can draw on your knowledge from step two. By going through the process yourself you are able to better understand the feedback you are receiving. 

For the candidates you did hire, ask about their motivations and what they are excited about in the upcoming position so you can evaluate if you are emphasizing the correct things in the interview process.

5. Re-survey Hired Candidates

Set up standard check-in times to follow up with hired candidates. Explore how their expectations at the time of hire match up with their position currently. If their expectations vary significantly you may need to shift your hiring process. You should re-survey candidates multiple times the longer they stay with your organization to ensure continued alignment between the candidate experience and their role.

  • Is there anything they wish they would have known going into the process?
  • Is there anything they would have done differently?

Ask them questions both generally about the hiring process and about their position specifically.

The question you want to answer with this step is “did the expectations our organization set meet the reality?” If reality falls short of expectations, examine what you can do to get the job experience to where you want it to be. If you exceeded the expectations you provided then investigate whether you could be selling the job more effectively.

6. Make Adjustments Where Necessary

Once you have completed all of the previous steps it is time to do something with the information you have gathered. You may come to the conclusion that your process is still running well and you don’t need any significant updates. Or you may realize that one or several steps in your process should be adjusted.

When making adjustments to your candidate experience it’s crucial to keep an eye on emerging technology. Technology is one of the best ways to create efficiencies in the hiring process. As you are implementing new strategies, look for ways to leverage technology so you can put more of your time into the parts of the process that require human interaction and oversight.

If you realize you need to change a part of your process but are unsure how to proceed, consider testing different methods in your future hiring. As with any other split test or study make sure you are following all the necessary steps to remove bias from your test.

7. Repeat the Process

Just like with vehicle maintenance, the management of the candidate experience is never done. It requires constant tinkering to consistently run at its peak. At times you will have large overhauls that need to be completed and other times general maintenance will do.

Either way, by staying in tune with the process and watching for warning signs you will be able to easily manage the experience of your candidates and ensure you are always providing the best candidate experience you can.

Maintaining a quality candidate experience is crucial to attracting top talent to your organization. Of course, you have to create a quality experience in order to maintain it. We have some tips on how to improve the candidate experience you currently have in place.