In a candidate-heavy market, the candidate experience is more important than ever. Just like with your clients, building solid relationships with your candidates is of paramount importance. You want to be their trusted partner in the recruitment process, someone who understands exactly what they’re looking for – sometimes even before they do.
If you don’t take the time to nurture the relationship – and make sure your candidate experience is a good one, regardless of whether you place them or not – they’re unlikely to come back.
1. First impressions count
Your candidate’s experience at every step of the process should be pleasant and personal. Think about where their first interactions with you could be. This includes how user friendly your website it – it should be simple for potential for candidates to find open positions with proper job descriptions and your contact details. Once they actually get in touch, consider the length of time they may be on hold for, how receptive you are to their call, how friendly your receptionist is and if they come in to meet you – be on time! It’s a competitive industry and they’re putting their trust in you – if their experience right off the bat isn’t a good one, they’ll go elsewhere.
2. Understand their expectations
Make sure you understand what they’re looking for from the start. Understand their salary expectations, the locations they can travel to, if there are any organisations they wouldn’t work for, whether they are looking for temp, perm or contract work, and what level of job they are looking for.
3. Understand their motivations
A step further than understanding their expectations, knowing what motivates your candidate will make it easier to place them in their dream role. Do they want to be somewhere with clear opportunities for progression? Are they motivated by money and bonuses? Do they want a better work-life balance? If you understand what they’re looking for, you can talk to them about roles you know they’ll be interested in, and it’ll help you become their trusted advisor.
4. Be clear about the job description and interview process
Make sure you understand exactly what your client is looking for so you can accurately assess your candidate against their criteria. Make sure you tell your candidate exactly what they’re walking into if you’re sending them on an interview. Is it competency based? Will there be any assessments or presentations? Take the time to prepare them and let them know the culture of the organisation as well.
5. Manage their expectations
In recent REC research ‘The candidate strikes back’, 20% of people who chose to withdraw from an application process did so because it was taking too long. We know the length of time between interviews and your client making a decision can be out of your hands, but try and get a picture of the expected timeframe from your client so you can let your candidate know. Contact your candidate regularly after their interview/s to assure them, so they don’t start getting cold feet.
6. Don’t be frightened about giving honest feedback
It sounds obvious, but candidates want to know why they didn’t get a job so they can do better next time. Amending their CV or helping to improve their interview or presentation skills is all part of building a solid candidate relationship. 80% of respondents to REC research ‘The candidate strikes back’ said they were not asked for feedback on the application or job interview. It’s so important.
7. Keep in touch
Regardless of whether you placed your candidate or not, you should contact them regularly. In our fast-paced world things can change quickly, so make sure you’re up to date with their situation. Whether that’s a call every few months to see how they’re getting on, or simply an email, it’s an important part of the candidate experience. Every conversation is an opportunity to deepen your relationship, show your professionalism and build trust.