3 Ways to Improve the Candidate Experience [Plus Templates!]
Between lengthy job applications and underwhelming career sites, it’s no surprise that job seekers drop off before they even submit a resume.
So what are you doing to improve the candidate experience?
Every interaction you have with candidates is an opportunity to make an impression and inspire them to join your organization—from a career site that delivers hyper-personalized job recommendations to quarterly happy hour networking events.
Before you can really dive in, you have to answer: What exactly does the candidate experience consist of? Who are your candidates, anyway? And how can you improve communication with them?
To help you create a stellar candidate experience, here are 3 tactics you can try today.
To better connect with candidates, download The Essential Talent Acquisition Toolkit, featuring a Candidate Journey Map Template, Candidate Persona Template, and Email Campaign Templates!
1. Create a Candidate Persona
At some point, every recruiter has been handed hard-to-fill or highly specialized position that ends up taking months to fill. Getting a tangible idea of your ideal target helps make the search less daunting. A candidate persona is a representation of what the ideal candidate for a particular role at your company looks like. It highlights the skills, personality traits, and experience you’re looking for, providing essential information that can influence how you attract, engage, and convert the right talent for your company.
You can customize your persona however you see fit, but it should include:
Values & Goals
Information Sources & Preferences
Areas of Focus
Already have a role model in mind for this position at your organization? Meet with any star employees to get a sense of their skills, traits, education, background, etc. to inform your persona. You can also ask about their common pain points when searching for a job, the challenges they face, and where they turn for industry information.
Pro Tip: While chatting with internal team members, follow up with the hiring manager to ensure you’re on the same page regarding what the ideal candidate looks like and what tasks they’ll be responsible for. They may already have a vision in mind.
Candidate personas don’t have to be created for every open position at your organization. Instead, start with high priority positions, such as high-volume and hard-to-fill roles.
2. Build a Candidate Journey Map
Once you have a better picture of your dream candidate, it’s time to take that knowledge and identify specific ways you can improve their experience throughout their journey.
The candidate journey is the process an individual goes through during their job search. It is not a reflection of a single journey by a candidate, but rather a collection of the many unique journeys taken by your candidates.
A candidate journey map defines all of the interactions a candidate (including employees) might go through when applying to a job, providing insight into their collective thoughts, feelings, and actions as they look for new opportunities. This visualization allows you to consider every candidate touchpoint, identify gaps, and determine how to optimize their interaction with your company. The goal? To create unique experiences that better attract phenomenal talent and get them hyped about joining your company.
To create a candidate journey map, start by outlining their experience from the moment they decide to leave a job and update their resume to when they receive a job offer. Key stages to include in your map are:
Exit Planning. What influenced a candidate’s decision to leave their current employer? What specific actions are they taking at this time?
Research & Exploration. What kind of career move are candidates looking to make? How do they know what jobs are a good fit?
Job Discovery. Where are candidates looking for specific jobs?
Company Navigation. What information do they need to learn more about a company before applying?
Apply Process. How can candidates apply for a job at your company? What are the challenges?
Waiting Stage. Do candidates receive updates after submitting an application?
Interview Process. What does the interview stage look like?
At every step in the candidate journey, consider the actions, feelings, and thoughts they may have.
3. Optimize Your Email Campaigns
After you have mapped out the candidate journey, you’ll gain a better sense of how you can enhance their experience every step of the way. Email is one of the most effective ways recruiters communicate with prospective talent—and small updates can be made quickly to create a more delightful experience.
Organizations that tailored content to specific subscriber segments saw click-through rates improve by 14% and conversion rates improve 10%. To engage and inspire candidates to take action, here are a few emails to consider updating, along with key changes to make:
Thank You Email
If you provide job seekers on your career site with an opportunity to subscribe to an email list, make sure the first email they receive leaves a memorable impression. The “Thank You” email immediately engages your audience after they take an action, setting a positive tone for your new relationship. This is the time to thank candidates and share information about your company, culture, and open jobs.
Event Invitation Email
We don’t have to go into the benefits of networking events, but we will say that the invitation email is an important outreach tool. In addition to sharing the date and time of an upcoming event, be sure to communicate at least 3 of the biggest benefits for attendees. Plus, encourage them to invite a friend and expand your talent pipeline!
Candidate Status Email
The #1 request from job seekers? Updates on the application process after they have submitted a resume. To keep candidates informed, prepare an email for every touchpoint during the application and interview stages. Be sure to thank candidates for their interest and provide an estimated timeframe during which they can expect a response.
Ready to build candidate journey maps, personas, and effective emails? Check out The Essential Talent Acquisition Toolkit today!