Hiring Basics Can Help Avoid a Bad Candidate Experience

It is not breaking news that a bad hire can come with a high price tag – recruiting costs, training costs, man-hours and morale issues – not to mention the lost productivity.

But there’s another recruiting misstep that could cost you as well, and it’s probably something you don’t often think about: poor candidate experience. While you as a hiring manager have decision-making power, candidates with options aren’t going to stick around if they are not having a good experience.

If you come across as unorganized in your search and onboarding – as if the role isn’t a priority – then you’re turning potentially great hires into dissatisfied customers that could have a negative impact for your brand.

Exclusive research and insights from CareerBuilder’s 2017 Candidate Experience Study show what peers and competitors have identified as shortcomings in their process, illustrate the role for technology to help improve the process and provide tips to make things easier for employers and prospective employees.

In partnership with Inavero, CareerBuilder surveyed 4,512 workers (ages 18 and over), 1,500 hiring decision-makers in the United States and 504 workers in Canada in an effort to understand the factors that influence candidates’ job search experience. Here are some aspects employers are struggling with according to study results:

  1. Not having a quick apply process for every device: The application process itself can contribute to a negative experience for modern candidates as applications taking too long (28 percent), having to customize documents for every job (34 percent) and uploading a rsum into a system but still having to manually fill out fields (29 percent) are reiterated as frustrating aspects of the process by a considerable number of candidates.
  2. Not preparing hiring managers: On average, only 2 out of 5 hiring managers are prepped by recruiters or talent acquisition specialists. Of those who do, only 2 out of 5 prep hiring managers specifically on the topic of candidate experience. This means only 16 percent of hiring managers overall are prepped by specialists to help manage the candidate’s experience.
  3. Not having an effective career site: An employer’s career site is important for getting key information, according to 89 percent of job seekers. But a quarter of employers (24 percent) say their company career site doesn’t accurately portray what it’s like to work for their organization, and only 45 percent of candidates say they can typically tell what it would be like to work for a company based on their career site.
  4. Not tailoring communications methods to specific segments: The ever-emerging multigenerational workforce demands a shift in the way we communicate. Millennials significantly prefer email communications (57 percent) over phone calls (31 percent), whereas baby boomers significantly prefer phone calls (58 percent) over emails (37 percent). Generation Xers have equal preferences toward email and phone calls (47 percent for both).
  5. Not recognizing when the employee experience really begins: The lines between the candidate and employee experience are blending – at least in the eyes of candidates, as 3 in 4 say their candidate and onboarding experience with a company is the first part of their broader employee experience with that company.
  6. Not building relationships with candidates for future opportunities: The most valuable resource an employer has is their talent pool. While it is important to attract the top candidates, it is equally as important to frequently and effectively communicate with your talent pool, but more than a third of employers (35 percent) say they don’t put time into doing this.
  7. Not having an efficient background check process: Employers that want to keep top talent from talking to other companies while they want to receive employment screening results should improve their screening process. Sixty percent of candidates continue communicating and interviewing with other companies while waiting on background results.
  8. Not having the right ATS or an ATS at all: Organizations currently utilizing an ATS, or applicant tracking system, reported placing more emphasis on the candidate, employee and hiring manager experiences. For example, those who currently use an ATS are 25 percent more likely to have a standardized process to help deliver a consistent candidate experience.
  9. Not informing the candidate where they stand: More than half of job seekers say employers don’t do a good job of setting expectations in terms of communication at the beginning of a potential hiring interaction. Eighty-one percent of job seekers said continuously communicating status updates to candidates would greatly improve the overall experience.
  10. Not staying connected with candidates once they have accepted the position: Once the hiring process is in the post-acceptance and onboarding stage, the expectation is for the process to be seamless and frustration-free for new hires – yet a noticeable number of candidates say this stage has not been ideal. Two in 5 candidates (40 percent) say they’ve experienced a lack of communication in the past between when they accepted the job and their first day of work. This is not surprising, since less than half of employers (47 percent) have a formal process in place for communicating and interacting with candidates between the day they accepted the job and the day they start work.
  11. Not paying attention to how their employer presence/brand is portrayed on social media: Employers are trying to reach an audience, and they can’t afford to let their brand’s social media pages fall by the wayside. Yet, 60 percent of employers don’t monitor their employer presence/brand on social media. Of those who do, 68 percent take steps to encourage positive reviews while 16 percent just react to negative information.
  12. Not treating candidates with the same respect as employees: While the majority of employers (51 percent) say the line is blurring between the company experience and employee experience, less than half of job seekers (49 percent) say employers treat candidates with the same level of respect and accountability as current employees. This is an issue since the vast majority of job seekers (nearly 4 in 5) say the overall candidate experience is an indicator of how a company values its people.

One in four employers says the amount of time it took to fill their last opening was too long. Hiring isn’t easy, but don’t lose sight of the plight of candidates. Job seekers on average say it takes them about 2 1/2 months – 10 to 11 weeks – to find a job, from when the search begins to when they accept the offer. During this time, they spend just over five hours a week on average on job search related activities.

Your job is hard, but so is the candidate’s. That’s why it’s crucial to understand how to improve your candidate experience – and technology can help you get there.

Rosemary Haefner is chief human resources officer at CareerBuilder. Comment below or email editors@workforce.com.

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Recruiting in a Snap

Big-name companies such as McDonald’s and Goldman Sachs have tested using Snapchat to recruit millennials.

In April, McDonald’s Corp. showed surprising social media edge when it took its recruiting campaign to Snapchat, the mobile app that lets users exchange videos and images that self-destruct after a few seconds. The initial campaign began in Australia, where they encouraged candidates to use a Snapchat filter to try on virtual uniforms, then upload their own 10-second pitch in lieu of filling out a job application.

In June, McDonald’s launched the campaign in the United States on a simpler scale. Instead of uploading videos, potential candidates could watch current employees talking for 10 seconds about how much they love their jobs, and they can swipe to see local job openings at the company’s career page.

Even without the uniform filter and video application, it was a fun use of a social media platform that hasn’t gotten much attention from the recruiting world, said Ray Wang of Constellation Research Inc. It also makes a lot of sense for a company like McDonald’s. They want to hire the 16- to 24-year-old demographic that uses Snapchat, he said. It is a great way to reach them.

Whether this is the start of a new recruiting trend or just a gimmick remains to be seen. McDonald’s had a lot of things going for it to make this campaign a hit, said Jody Ordioni, president and chief branding officer for Brandemix, abrand marketing agency.It’s already a huge brand that is popular among the very people they are trying to hire – millennials and Generation Z. And because it was a novel recruiting strategy, it was buzzworthy. McDonald’s generated a lot of momentum by being first, she said.

McDonald’s isn’t the only big company that has tried to figure out whether Snapchat is a viable recruiting tool and how to use it. In fact, they weren’t even the first.

In 2016, Cisco took to Snapchat with its #WeAreCisco social media campaign, encouraging brand ambassadors from across the company to post content about life at Cisco directly to the channel – without any reviews or attempts to edit. Cisco’s Talent Brand Team knew that the only way it would work was if the content was authentic, according to Social Media Manager Carmen Shirkey Collins. We didn’t want to be ‘marketers,’ we wanted to be ‘co-workers,’ she wrote in a blog about the project. The employees loved the idea, and not only created content for Snapchat but promoted it on their own social networks via other platforms. Collins reported a 600 percent follower increase weekover week in the first three months of launching.

Possibly the most surprising early adopter was financial giant Goldman Sachs, which ran its own recruiting campaign on Snapchat’s Campus Story platform in 2015 with a series of 10-second recruitment videos seeking campus environmental leaders, youth sports coaches and crowd-funding champions. The snaps were only accessible to people in and around 60 targeted campuses and was part of the financial firm’s broader efforts to appeal to a younger, hipper candidate pool. The nine-day campaign accrued more than 2.1 million views and the company reported a significant increase in traffic to the Careers webpage.

None of these companies released data around whether the campaigns actually translated into new hires, and because snaps only exist for a short time, users can’t go looking for these ads or use them to drive long-term results.

That’s part of the problem, said Wang. If you can’t generate viral activity around the campaign, it won’t work.

The Novelty Factor

Snapchat presents many obstacles that make it tricky as a recruiting tool. Potential candidates have to already follow the brand to see the snaps, and they need to respond in real time for it to have an effect. And while using filters and videos can be a fun way to engage candidates, companies need to decide if they can judge someone by a 10-second video, or whether they can deliver a powerful enough recruiting message in that time to drive career-age traffic.

That’s not to say Snapchat can’t be useful for recruiting if it’s used as part of the broader social media engagement effort and not a strategy unto itself. You can’t rely on any single social media outlet to drive brand awareness, Ordioni said. It’s just one piece of the process.

For companies interested in expanding their social reach via Snapchat, Ordioni suggests campaigns be linked to a broader recruiting effort or event and designed to engage the largely younger demographic with genuine stories that will grab their attention.

It also can’t be a one-off effort. As with any social media platform, followers expect a steady stream of original content – not just the occasional self-promotional post – so companies shouldn’t focus on Snapchat unless they have the bandwidth to generate that kind of continuous content, she said. If you ask people to follow you on Snapchat, it has to be a long-term commitment.

Sarah Fister Gale is a writer in Chicago. Comment below or email editors@workforce.com.

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