I talk with a lot of recruiting professionals and thought leaders and one topic that is getting a tremendous amount of momentum is the candidate experience.

And there’s good reason for this trend.  The candidate experience is not just a recruiting issue but one that organizations need to take seriously from a business standpoint as well.  Early reports from this year’s Candidate Experience Awards surveys show that over 50% of candidates feel they have a relationship with a company before they applied (sign up to receive the 2013 report here).  That’s a relationship either with family that work there and/or they are a consumer of their product or service.  That represents a huge population of candidates that you don’t want to leave your recruiting process with a bad taste in their mouth and has moved organizations to improve their process and overall experience.

A Candidate Experience Project

One thing I hear a lot from organizations on this topic is putting together a project to improve the candidate experience.  And I think this is a great idea.  The idea of going through your process, strategy and engagement with candidates is a great place to start improving the interactions with and experience of your candidates.

The one thing I always worry about here though is that this is a one-time project.  That you improve the process but then wait 4 years until you do another check on how you are doing.  A successful candidate experience project to me starts with the big upfront work on thinking through your process and strategy first.  However, that’s not the end game.  As part of this project organizations also need to think out how to remain in tune with the candidate experience and how they are doing.  They need to think through how to measure and continuously evaluate and improve in the future.  A candidate experience project never truly ends but has to be an ingrained part of your overall recruitment marketing strategy.

Consistent Evaluation through Feedback and Analytics

As part of a continuous candidate experience focus, is determining how you can continuously capture feedback and analytics to educate you on gaps in your experience. The key here is relying on both candidate feedback and important recruitment analytics to make decisions.  Candidate feedback can provide the stories and key pain points candidates are seeing.  And in the aggregate it will provide great insight, understanding candidate motivations may sway the feedback you collect.  That’s why analytics in concert with candidate feedback is important.  Analytics will give you an unbiased view to see how different parts of your process perform and can help confirm pain points that candidates bring up.

In order to capture this data, you need to bake it into your process and there are a number of ways you can do it.  One way is to make feedback a key part of your application and communication strategy.  As candidates apply (or opt-in and don’t apply) having the tools to automatically campaign to thank them and ask for feedback, can help you capture rich data without recruiter involvement.  I know of a number of organizations that rely on this to gauge how their candidate experience is doing.

On the analytics front, it’s making sure you centrally measure all the steps of your process including all the sources you use to attract candidates.  This means tying together your job distribution, CRM campaigning, Career Site and social data together to see key trends along every step of your recruitment marketing funnel.  While also being able to measure the impact of mobile across these channels and the application process.  This can help you understand when messaging is off, when things are broken in the application process and help identify opportunities to improve qualified applicant flow.

Overall, this type of data capture can help you continuously improve your candidate experience well into the future.

Congratulations to CandE winners McGraw Hill Financial and CH2M HILL

For the end of this post, I wanted to highlight two of our customers who were selected as winners for the 2013 Candidate Experience Awards based on candidate surveys that showed an overall positive candidate experience.  Both organizations are doing very interesting things to better engage and communicate with candidates as well as consistently get feedback from them.

To check out what they are doing to improve the candidate experience, please check out the press release below:

SmashFly Customers McGraw Hill Financial and CH2M HILL Selected as Winners for 2013 Candidate Experience Awards


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