Welcome back! It’s nice to see you again (Unless this is the first blog you’ve read. If that’s you, it’s probably a good idea to start at part 1 of this candidate experience series. Still nice to see you though!). I’ve missed you, like, in a totally platonic way. Anyway. Moving on.
Last week we started looking at the current climate for the working world – here in the UK, the unemployment rate is the lowest it’s been since 1975. That’s when Jaws came out.
We were looking at where the candidate experience begins – or rather, how it begins. Turns out its way earlier than you’d expect. Everything leading up to the candidate applying to a vacancy is part of the overall ‘experience’ as it’s the catalyst for the whole candidate process. Without the pre-show, there’s no… you know, show.
So, without further adieus from the first half, let’s get cracking. Your candidate is interested in your vacancy and wants to apply – nothing can go wrong, right?
In fact, there’s a crazy amount of things that can go wrong from here. And more often than that, the area with the most pitfalls tends to be the application process. This can be for a lot of reasons.
When was the last time you applied for a vacancy or role? If it was 5 years ago, it was probably online through an employee portal or job board. If it was 10 years ago, it might have been through dropping your CV off at the company (no Mum, it doesn’t work anymore), word of mouth or emailing your CV into their HR department. Any time before that, you might have responded to (gasp) a newspaper clipping. Maybe an agency helped you out at any of these points.
What I’m getting at is that things change. Sometimes change brings good (the internet) and sometimes it brings bad (the internet). As we move to digitalise the world around us, it bleeds into every process we have. That includes recruitment processes. And the thing with digitalising is that while it makes things more accessible for everyone, it makes things less personal and more data-driven. In the world of recruitment, a very “people-driven” environment, depersonalisation can be a very frustrating thing.
All Forms and No Talk Makes A Dull Experience
I hate forms. You hate forms. I think you have to be a certain kind of sicko to love filling forms out.
So if we all hate forms, who in their right mind would think that the ideal application process involves a near-infinite abyss of the things?
Like I’ve said before, if you’ve applied for a job in the past 5 years (especially if it’s for a larger company) then you’re going to know what I’m talking about. Application processes take upwards of 30 minutes sometimes. In the instant-access, instant-information and instant-gratification world we spoke about last week, 30 minutes is a commitment: for a job application, it feels like a lifetime.
Candidates can find themselves baring their souls for a chance to interview and actually show some character. After
Feeding all their personal information into a portal,
Recollecting their entire employment history (or just the previous 10 years if they’re lucky) including a description of duties and exact dates,
And answering generic questions about teamwork and facing adversity in work,
The final insult occurs. They can upload their CV. The same CV that answers all of the questions and contains all of the details they’ve just provided. It’s a big slap in the face when you not only upload your CV, then have to provide a full CV again before you can proceed.
Netflix has a process that takes 1 minute to complete. Five questions. One solitary minute. That’s 12 seconds per question. Facebook has an 8-minute process. Apple has a 5-minute process. But then again, what would Netflix, Facebook or Apple know about good business practice?
Do everyone a favour, including yourself. Keep it simple at the start.
What About the End, Though?
After a successful application (and a successful interview if they’re that good), it’s important to let the candidate know. How else can they organise an interview date with you, or accept the role?
But what about 2nd place? What about 12th place? How will they know where they stand?
This is where contingency comes into play. It’s a massive part of the candidate experience, successful or otherwise. Even if candidates aren’t successful in their application, a follow-up call can make all the difference in reassuring them. That reassurance may be vital in maintaining good rapport with your candidate base. Keeping that reputation in good stead matters because – you guessed it – word of mouth is a powerful thing (throwback to last week!).
Rapport aside, studies show candidates who don’t receive a contingency call tend to avoid reapplying for another role with your company – and why would they?
So, in shorthand?
I get it. This has been a long old blog. So long that it’s my first two-parter.
Let’s recap, shall we?
Keep a good standing in the public eye. People don’t eat at restaurants with bad reviews, and they don’t apply for roles at companies that they’ve heard complaints about.
Keep job ads concise and to the point. Leave the jargon and clutter out, keep the figures and necessities in.
Forms are bad. No one likes them. Don’t make anyone do anything you wouldn’t want to do. Try to keep the forms to a minimum where you can.
No matter whether the candidate is successful or not, keep in touch with them to let them know where they stand. They’ll appreciate it and apply in the future. 2nd place will be 1st place in a few years. You’ll want them to apply again.
That was a lot more simple than writing 2 articles, wasn’t it? Hey-ho. If you want to chat about candidate experience or how we can help you, don’t hesitate to drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or fill out our contact form. I’m more than happy to help. Til next time!