Building a Great Candidate Experience

December 4, 2019 Amber Harris

There is a renewed emphasis on getting the best candidate experience. We believe there to be 9 essential building blocks to a great candidate experience. Find out more in this article.

candidate experience

When we recently brought together a number of our clients to share the trends and the common themes that they see in their businesses right now, candidate experience rated highly.

Most of us would agree that candidate experience has always been important and yet there does seem to be a renewed focus on candidate engagement, communication and experience as well as the Employee Value Proposition (EVP) itself.

There are two clear reasons for this.

1. A paradigm shift in hiring is taking place. Hiring has changed. The days of filtering through only the highest quality candidates from a vast applicant pool are fading fast in many key talent areas. The demand for specialist skills can outstrip applicant supply making the scales of power tip in favor of the candidate. This leads to the hiring organization needing to refine and focus more on its attraction strategy and candidate engagement strategy.

2. The increased emphasis on ‘fit’ between applicant and employer values. Employers have grasped the importance of conveying their corporate values and hiring those who align with these. This is seen in research and in our own client work.

As a result, we have defined the 9 building blocks that need to be in place to deliver a great candidate experience.

  1. Emphasize your employer brand - Invest in getting to know why employees choose your organization over a competitor. Find out what differentiates you as an employer and communicate this through your candidate journey.
  2. Showcase your commitment to diversity and inclusion - Millennials and Gen Z workers pay more attention to organizational diversity and inclusion practices, so build in statements and evidence of your approach in your candidate journey.  Make sure that you are using assessment which have been shown to be unbiased. Read how BAE Systems designed a proven assessment process which was valid, fair and robust, regardless of gender or ethnic background.
  3. Strive for transparency and fairness – Each of us wants to understand how decisions are made and the criteria used – and hiring decisions are no different. Standardized psychometric assessment really helps in this. You can explain why specific tests are used and how they relate to performance in the job. If using video assessment such as our vidAssess-AI platform, highlight how the interviews are scored and they work in practice.
  4. Educate potential applicants in the role – Get off on the right foot by making sure applicants understand the role for which they are applying. A day-in-the-life works well, but realistic job previews add greater insight. We design and develop these for many clients as they realistically showcase the job. Take a look at Try Before You Fly by easyJet. 
  5. Provide timely feedback every step of the way – Feedback can be automated at key points and if pre-hire assessments are being completed be sure to offer feedback on the results as candidates have invested time and effort into completing these. When you can, make a personal call, or provide the contact details of someone the applicant can reach if they want to learn more. Thinking about the process from the candidate perspective will make sure you think about the timing, vehicle and message of all your communications and can set you apart.
  6. Explain the process – Research has shown that explaining to candidates what is happening the hiring process leads to a positive increase in the perception of the hiring organization and the perception of fairness. You can read more in our blog article. 
  7. Make use of engaging assessments which may include gamified elements – Asking candidates to complete online assessment is commonplace and can be time-consuming. Make these as short but as robust as possible by using adaptive assessment and also look to include the more innovative assessments built specifically with a mobile device and which incorporate some gamified elements. Tools such as our smartPredict assessment range fit the bill and you can see how this is used by Proctor & Gamble 
  8. Develop strong and regular communication and see this as a meaningful exchange of information – It may not be a perspective that you have adopted before but think about what you can offer the candidate in return for completing a stage of the hiring process. Perhaps this is feedback on suitability on the role if pre-application, or explanation of the assessment results once completed. Map out the candidate touch points and work through this as if you were a candidate. Is there enough contact? What would make a stronger impression of the company? Is it clear what your employer brand? What is your process saying about your company? What feedback can you gather from applicants and at which points?
  9. Utilize technology and AI to make speedy decisions – You will want to make decisions quickly and so will your candidates. Assessment can help to focus on the best candidates and give you the extra information to need to make that decision. Strong talent is likely to be applying to a number of companies. Get them through your process quickly, engaging with them and offer the right person the job.

The renewed focus on creating a great candidate experience is one of a number of trends we are hearing about from our clients. Read about the other trends here

About the Author

Amber Harris

Amber Harris is an Account Manager with over 20 years recruitment experience within the UK, such as Talent Acquisition for Volume and Management roles, Attraction, Selection and Early Careers. As an Account Manager with Assessment Solutions by Aon, formerly cut-e, Amber has worked alongside occupational psychologists to manage the delivery of volume recruitment campaigns for companies that include easyJet, M&S and Ocado. Due to her recruitment experience, she is able to put herself into her clients‘ shoes when solving clients problems and looking at commercials. Amber’s account work to date has spanned a range of private sector organizations including aviation, retail and telecommunications.

Follow on Linkedin More Content by Amber Harris
Previous Article
Job Automation: What's the Problem?
Job Automation: What's the Problem?

Why job automation brings opportunities for workforce development.

How to Measure Flexibility
How to Measure Flexibility

Using talent assessment tools to find out how flexible a person's approach is to work

Subscribe to our talentNews