How to deliver the best candidate experience

LAURA CHAMBERS • 14 Nov 2022

Jobtrain's Director of Strategic Development – Giles Heckstall-Smith – was joined by Hollaroo special guests Hugh Fordham, CEO, and Martyn Redstone, Content & Community Lead. They discussed the importance of a great candidate experience, and shared some tips and tricks on hiring the best talent.

Hollaroo is leading a paradigm shift in the way we recruit, onboard, train, and nurture. Using tools like Hollaroo Engage, they focus on community engagement and recruitment talent pipelining software.

What is candidate engagement?

We think of candidates as everyone who could potentially be interested in you, rather than just the people who applied for a role. The experience and relationship is much more than just the process you’re putting candidates through.

It’s not just the application process. It’s how they see you pre-hire and after-hire. If you think about our relationships with well-known brands like Amazon, the experience and the engagement isn’t just when you decide to buy something, it’s all of the touchpoints surrounding it.

What common weak points do you see in the candidate experience?

As people move through that journey of being interested in you, applying with you, getting an offer etcetera, the balance of power between the candidate and the organisation shifts. Pre-application, all of the power is with the candidate, but as soon as they take the jump, the power is in the organisation’s hands.

Because of this shift, you need to be aware of the stages before they apply and after they have an offer. Be sure to consider common barriers like opaqueness, focusing on rejection, and a lack of authenticity.

Jobtrain’s applicant tracking system has a strong focus on the post-offer stage. Our onboarding system – and especially our Welcome Hub – have been a major help for our clients in keeping applicants warm and excited about the job.

Lots of the work Hollaroo do is based on behavioural science. When you reach people and persuade them, everybody tends to focus on the accelerator – pushing people to do things, sending them nice videos etc. What they often ignore is the break – the things that stop somebody from taking the leap.

Talk to us about our onboarding functionality

In the candidate relationship space, organisations tend to be very opaque. It’s often a black hole, you don’t really know what an organisation is like. Often the experience is built around rejections – whether intentionally or not.

How should we engage with candidates who aren't ready to apply?

It’s entirely possible that the relationship with a candidate will last years before a candidate joins your organisation. Keep that in mind when your nurture jobseekers. Be gentle and be respectful with your outreach, a hard sell is likely to turn a candidate away. Our starting point is to put more control in the hands of the candidate. Rather than guess what their situation is, ask them! Give them the ability to tell you and adapt to that if necessary.

Make your communications and information relevant to them. Don’t just push out job alerts, promote your culture and community, share news updates about the company. Share when there are promotions, when you’re moving into a new office, when a new initiative is shared.

This pre-application relationship-building is potentially a time to send candidates your assessment tools. This could be very powerful because having early access to these tools lets the candidate and the recruiter see where in the organisation they would fit!

What information do you need to capture from a candidate?

At the beginning, all you need to know is their name and contact details.

You might get candidates who are passive, just in the early stages of looking. Every additional piece of information you ask for will lose someone. In marketing there’s a term called Nudge Theory – where you shape the environment to influence the likelihood that one option is chosen over another. You want to gently nudge candidates into seeing you as the preferred option.

Recite Me Accessibility toolbar-lowEngaging a candidate needs to be personal and accessible. You need to ask them questions to learn as much as possible about them, but you do that once the candidate is ready, rather than before they apply.

Jobtrain has partnered with Recite so your candidate experience can have an accessibility toolbar. This is a game-changer for inclusive hiring that helps you tap into candidates who would otherwise be turned off!

How regularly should you reach out to potential candidates?

The classic CRM approach is you need to communicate with them every week, 2 weeks, or monthly. The point of interacting with someone in a more social way is the candidate gets the information when they want the information. They come to you and gather information when it’s right for them. Until they get to that point, we generally recommend sending candidates something gentle once a month.

What makes a powerful job advert?

In one of our previous webinars with Appcast, we discussed some rules of thumb when it comes to creating the best job adverts possible. The sweet spot for job advert length is 300-800 words. Job titles should be instantly recognisable and be an average of 3 words.

Text-based job adverts can be pretty dull, so using image and video always increases engagement! If you can record a quick 60-second video from the person hiring for that role, that will increase the likelihood for a candidate to apply by 8 times.

Application forms should be completed in the next couple of minutes. If your initial application form is less than 5 minutes, there will be a 30% jump in the number of candidates applying!

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