Why do some staffing and recruiting firms struggle while others are able to keep their talent pipeline consistently flowing with quality people? The answer lies in the candidate experience.
Each step along a candidate’s journey with your firm builds upon the previous one, with the result ideally being a positive momentum that is built up and continued over time. Fostering a positive candidate experience is critical, as that translates to a positive working relationship and subsequent positive word of mouth. Employee referrals have a 40% applicant conversion rate and provide a shorter recruiting process for 67% of recruiters. Take care of a candidate early on, and they’ll repay you for a long time.
To accomplish this, assess every aspect of your typical candidate experience from before you even speak with them to long after you’ve placed them in a role. For many organizations, there are improvements to be made everywhere.
Consider Their First Point of Awareness
How do candidates first learn about your firm? If you’re unsure, or if you’ve never asked a candidate this question, it’s time to make their initial awareness a top priority. When 79% of job seekers use social media during their job search, there’s a strong chance potential talent is hearing about you from LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, or Glassdoor. Are you harnessing your social channels to provide an ideal start to the candidate experience? Ask the same questions of your website and job board listings to ensure things begin on the right foot and are not left to chance.
Strategically Plan the Initial Contact
You’re now aware of a potential candidate, and they may or may not be aware of you. Either way, the initial correspondence must be planned more strategically than just pressing “send” on a form email or blindly calling a phone number with a generic phone script in hand. Use any information available to create an experience as unique to that individual as possible. Your ATS can often help here, so use it to its fullest potential. Bear in mind that when emails employ a personalized subject line, there is an open rate increase of over 22%. Likewise, 69% of candidates want to hear about the position’s responsibilities more than salary or any other factor when reaching out. Tailor the experience to them with the information you know, and initial awareness will turn into a relationship.
Concentrate on Their Needs, Not Yours
As a relationship takes shape, it must be cultivated by providing a smooth and streamlined experience. 60% of job seekers quit in the middle of filling out online job applications because of their length or complexity. Additionally, only 36% of candidates say they are provided with clear job descriptions. Take necessary steps to avoid any such barriers to a positive candidate experience. Prep talent with applicable information on potential clients and roles, and be ready to answer several questions before they are even asked. Why is a certain role relevant to a candidate’s career? Why would they want to work at a particular client, is it due to a great culture or work-life balance?
Be Their Interview Guru
Once an interesting role is lined up and the interview has come, it’s necessary to provide support to the candidate in any way necessary. Prep them beforehand so they know what to expect, leaving as little to chance as possible. Immediately afterwards, debrief with the candidate to see how it went and reiterate the next steps. 49% of professionals said getting their business questions answered matters most to them during the interview. If anything was left unclear, check in with the client to get any necessary additional information to pass along to the candidate.
Handle Job Offers with Care
The time between an interview and formal job offer is some of the most critical in the entire process, and yet many staffing and recruiting firms don’t treat it is such. While waiting to hear from the client, it’s a mistake to put a candidate on the back burner. 57% of interviewees say the most frustrating part of the process is a long wait after an interview. The more time that goes by equates to a more negative candidate experience and greater chance of that talent accepting an offer elsewhere. While you may not be able to expedite a client’s offer, you can regularly check in with them in order to keep the candidate updated and feeling valued.
Continue the Relationship
Every step of a positive candidate experience should be built on communication, and that includes continuing the relationship even after they’ve accepted a job offer. 85% of job seekers surveyed say consistent communication throughout the process is the top driver of satisfaction with the recruitment experience. Use your ATS to its fullest potential instead of letting candidate files collect digital dust in the far reaches of your servers. Set up the ATS to remind you when someone in the system hasn’t been touched in a month. Even if they are still on an assignment, a casual check-in to make sure things are still going as expected is a great way to improve contractor care and ensure long-term success.
Creating a Positive Candidate Experience in Staffing and Recruiting
A better candidate experience means happier candidates, and that makes them more likely to be a champion of your staffing and recruiting firm. This translates to more referrals, higher job engagement, a better work product, and happier returning clients. Lastly, when that talent is looking for their next role, don’t you want them to turn to you again?