Any organization that prioritizes talent in its growth strategies knows that to attract the best and brightest, a welcoming candidate experience is necessary. In today’s highly connected and sharing culture, employers can’t afford to let job applicants languish and feel neglected while they are being considered for a job. That’s why companies need a disciplined approach in creating a highly memorable hiring journey.

The process for doing so should include end-to-end measurement of the journey encompassing all the touchpoints a job seeker may encounter. This begins with your presence on social media, employee review sites and elsewhere on the web, through to internal contacts and all the way to post-disposition. By knowing how your company performs at each point, you can determine whether the journey you have created is authentic, engaging and pleasant. It also sets up the basis for undertaking any corrective actions to improve your recruitment process.  

getting started

How can you prioritize the steps that will have the most positive effect on the candidate experience? Remember, there are three distinct stages in the journey – attract, recruit and hire – and at each point you should be aware of the touchpoints that leave the biggest impression. Start by considering how the majority of your hires enter the recruitment funnel in the attraction stage.

While for many employers this could be through job boards, company career portals or even referrals, your particular source may vary. Is your social media presence the most impactful channel for attracting talent or do job board postings still have the greatest reach for you? By analyzing where candidates enter the funnel, you can begin to build on your strategy.

As you undertake this assessment, be sure to consider how your employer brand is perceived on those channels. Is your LinkedIn page regularly refreshed with content and job opportunities? Can talent easily reach recruiters with questions through these channels? Does your career portal amplify clear messaging about your company’s values, culture and employee value proposition? Being thorough in your communication efforts will help your business come across as committed to candidates’ interest.

There are many factors to consider, so identify the most meaningful metrics will tell you how well you are performing in attracting job seekers. For instance, monitor your social media engagement – especially job announcements – and track conversions of visitors who end up on your careers page. From that point on, you can further track applications. By following how your Facebook presence or Twitter feed performs over time, you can identify channels that need additional investment or simple maintenance.

Your social presence can also reveal whether applicants are pleased or disappointed with the top of your funnel. Reviewing comments left on your channels, tracking scores on review sites such as kununu or examining who is retweeting your feed speaks volumes about the effectiveness of your candidate experience. You’ll learn whether prospective hires are engaged with your company or simply don’t go beyond a cursory visit to your site and leave without taking action.

There are, of course, many other touchpoints you should be aware of in the recruitment journey; how your corporate brand is perceived will impact the applicants’ view of you as an employer. Measuring these other influential factors may not be the best use of your resources, so carefully consider what efforts to spend on attraction strategy.

recruiting’s oversized impact

The second stage of the journey may have the biggest impact on your candidate experience, and you may want to earmark a significant part of your resources to ensure an optimized outcome. From the application process to screening and interviewing, these steps impart a lasting impression. A well-designed process will leave talent feeling respected and cared for, even if they don’t end up winning the role.

For your organization to even build a slate of qualified candidates, your application process must be efficient, transparent and informative. Applicants want to know their decision to choose your organization wasn’t a mistake. That means making sure they can get through the process quickly, using a variety of tools to submit (i.e., LinkedIn, mobile) and receiving confirmation and follow-up communication once completed. According to the TalentBoard, which conducts annual benchmarking and research on candidate experience, the biggest reason for job seekers to withdraw their applications is they feel their time was disrespected.

To ensure your candidate review is an effective process, monitor key indicators including time spent to complete, percentage of abandoned applications, the withdraw rate, complaints filed and any other measures that may be unique to your business. This will help determine whether your application process helps or hinders your candidate experience.

Beyond the application process, as candidates are screened and interviewed, other indicators have a significant impact on the perception of your business. Specifically, how long it takes for submissions to be dispositioned, how many rounds of interviews are needed before an offer or rejection and even the number of referrals requested can affect the journey. There are many factors to monitor, so choose the best indicators to track.  

Finally, while it may seem that talent regards the hiring step as the most satisfactory part of the process, that’s not always the case. Bureaucracy and processing times may be unacceptably long, potentially causing successful applicants to choose another offer instead. Background verification, credit reports and even offer letters should be completed within a reasonable period, and your company needs to measure metrics that are clear indicators of candidate satisfaction, such as acceptance ratios. Also, be sure to monitor the time it takes from offer generation to acceptance. Again, you should make transparent to candidates the amount of time required to fill the position.

Creating a memorable candidate journey for your recruited applicants is not a simple task, but when you are committed to it by measuring performance indicators, your business will thrive from having excellent access to talent.

want to know more about creating a memorable candidate experience? Download our handbook.