The “war for talent” is a tired cliché. But it is true that great candidates will always be in demand, and will have more ability than most to pick and choose from the opportunities available.
Despite this, a brief search through any job board, or a conversation with someone who has been looking for a job recently, will tell you that there are plenty of companies who simply do not treat their candidates with the respect that they deserve. They also don’t recruit in a way that is going to put them in a position to attract the talent that they really need.
- Terribly worded job adverts full of formal, bureaucratic language
- Inflexible hiring practices such as set interview dates and a tough luck attitude if the candidate can’t make it
- Overly long recruitment processes with interview after interview after interview
- Applicant Tracking Systems that ask for information that is already available on the CV and takes forever to complete
- Over reliance on CVs rather than considering all of the information that is available in the social world about the whole person
- Failing to provide enough information about the role, the brand or the company, instead relying upon a job description to describe the opportunity
- A failure to recognise that most talented candidates will already be in jobs and need to manage that carefully
- Excessive automation of the recruitment process
- Unacknowledged applications and mismanaged expectations
Sometimes, it looks like the employer concerned believes that candidates should be grateful enough to form an orderly queue for their vacancy.
It is also easy to see that many organisations have not updated their hiring practices for years. But how candidates search, how candidates assess opportunities, and what candidates expect, has changed.
Maybe, just maybe, if you have an amazing employer brand and have people simply desperate to get your company name on their CV, you can treat your candidates in any manner that you wish. But for most employers, it is a little more accurate to say build it and they will not come.
Providing a great candidate experience isn’t all that complicated. But if you do get it wrong, in our increasingly social world you will find that people are very happy to talk about their poor experiences, either on their own social networks or here on Glassdoor. People are hugely influenced by the crowdsourced views of others, including those they don’t even know. These comments and ratings about poor candidate experience will impact your employer brand.
What do most candidates really want?
First of all, candidates want plenty of relevant information. This includes details about the job, the company, the hiring manager, the process itself and the timescales involved. Secondly, they want feedback. Constructive, useful and honest feedback. Not a difficult thing to do, but it is a regular complaint from job seekers that they don’t get anything meaningful, or sometimes, don’t get anything at all.
When it comes to communicating with your candidates, make it timely and make it personal. Human to human. Finally, keep your promises.
Because your candidates are your potential future employees, maybe now, or maybe in the future. Your candidate experience is a window to your organisational culture. Make it your best possible view!