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Candidate Experience Matters: 3 Practical Tips for Successful Hiring

Heather Mueller
July 24, 2019
Min Read

In today’s competitive talent market, the candidate’s experience is crucial. Yet, across the board, statistics show that many companies are struggling to improve the way they source and attract talent. Providing a poor candidate experience can have far-reaching consequences for an organization. 

Consider the idea of “candidates as consumers.” In a survey by CandE, 46 percent of candidates stated they’d sever a business relationship with a brand and go elsewhere after suffering a poor application experience. If a company develops a reputation for poor candidate experience, they could face serious losses.

A “poor experience” means different things for different candidates. However, given the reality that time-to-hire can reach up to 40 days in some industries (while top talent is only available for an average of 10 days), it’s clear something has to change. Below is a list of practical tips HR and recruiting professionals can use to elevate their hiring strategy and optimize candidate experience. 

Deploy a Cross-Discipline Interview Team

Hiring an employee has a widespread impact on a company. Not only is a candidate expected to perform day-to-day responsibilities within their role, but they’re also typically required to be adept at collaborating across departments. Interviews have historically focused on professional or technical skills, with less thought given to a candidate’s culture fit or personal development goals. So, how can recruiting professionals identify which candidates will be the right fit for the company? 

One impactful solution is to build cross-discipline interview teams. These can consist of: 

  • A member of the recruiting team
  • A stakeholder from the candidate’s prospective team
  • A member of the company’s leadership team

Optional additions could be members of other teams who play a significant role in company culture or a randomized selection of employees from various disciplines.  Diversifying your interview team gives candidates a chance to learn more about company culture and leadership while letting employers see candidates interact with staff across disciplines.  

Embrace Multi-Channel Sourcing

Multi-channel sourcing involves reaching candidates through a variety of different tools and processes. Some examples include: 

  • Job boards (e.g., Glassdoor, Indeed, Monster)
  • Social networking (e.g., Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn)
  • Employee referrals

Recruiters leverage more than one sourcing channel in order to widen their net and snag as many qualified applicants as possible. Although multi-channel sourcing has become a standardized part of the hiring process for many professionals, it’s not without its challenges. 

It can be incredibly difficult to keep messaging consistent and collect data from these disparate sources in an efficient manner when relying on manual processes like spreadsheets. The proliferation of digital solutions for HR professionals enables recruiters to organize and report against sourcing analytics dashboards that reflect how recruiting strategies perform in real-time. 

Additionally, being able to capture elusive candidates across a variety of channels helps to create an ongoing talent pipeline for recruiters to choose from. Advantages like these can ultimately drive hiring strategy, impact business outcomes, and keep socially driven candidates more engaged throughout the process. 

Related: How to Hire the Best Remote Workers

Try Out Video Interviews

If most of your interviews are either over the phone or in person, it may be time to stat considering video interviews. These can provide more context than phone interviews, and be more accessible than in-person interviews.

Conduct a test interview with a colleague if you’re new to video chat. Your software might require plugins or updates, and you don’t want to be late because you didn’t prepare. Ask for feedback on your camera positioning and background, while you’re at it.

Video chat technology is not always reliable. Ask your interviewees to prepare their computer for the interview, too. Confirm a phone number for your interviewee in case of technical difficulties. If you have issues, you might need to reschedule.

When coordinating with a candidate in another time zone, be sure to communicate times clearly. If you are in Illinois and your candidate is in Oregon, you could say, “Let’s schedule your interview for Wednesday at 10am CST/8am PST.” That way, there’s no confusion or back-and-forth about whose time zone you mean.

‍For any interview, preparation is necessary on both sides. Have questions ready but also be prepared to probe deeper into your candidates’ responses. Feel free to take notes as you talk, just as you would in an in-person interview.

Hiring is incredibly important and should not be rushed. Whether in-person or over video chat, take care to get to know your candidates and be sure they are a good fit for your team.

Automate Tedious Processes

Many industries have tedious manual processes that can benefit from an investment in automation. Recruiting is a great example, as HR and recruiting staff are responsible for managing a large amount of candidate and company information. 

For starters, recruiting teams can streamline their workflows using automated workflow forms. These multi-step online forms streamline the information-gathering and reviewing portions of the hiring process, freeing up teams to work on higher-level strategies.

Formstack’s workflow forms specifically help expedite the hiring process by allowing a workflow to travel between a recruiter and a candidate throughout the application process and combining all the information into a single record once applicants have been notified of their status. 

Creating a better candidate experience can be a complicated, nuanced endeavor. For many recruiters, it’s about keeping top talent engaged in the process by creating a more personalized interview experience, drilling down into recruiting analytics, and expediting manual tasks.

If you’re interested in upgrading recruiting or new hire onboarding processes, check out our lineup of HR templates. You can get started with any of our templates by starting a free trial today!


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Heather Mueller
Heather is a website copywriter and digital content strategist who loves helping brands generate leads through the power of the written word—especially when using Formstack. Connect with Heather on Twitter @heathermueller.
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