Attracting and engaging job seekers is not much different from the consumer-facing aspect of business. With a limited pool of talent, employers often compete for the attention of promising candidates in the same way businesses do for buyers. As such, it is a must for HR teams to make a good impression and provide applicants with a pleasant, consumer-grade candidate experience or risk damaging the company’s brand.

A survey conducted by CareerArc says that 60 percent of talent have had a poor candidate experience. Before social media and employer review sites became a thing, news about poor candidate experience didn’t get out quite as fast. Job seekers may tell close friends and family about it, but it would rarely get beyond their relatively smaller social circles. Today, candidates will not only be deterred from applying again or accepting a job offer, but 70 percent of them are more likely to be vocal about the negative interaction online. Apart from leaving a scathing review, they may also actively discourage others from seeking employment within your company.

Fortunately, more and more employers are now recognizing this as an acquisition topic of utmost importance. The HR industry’s focus is finally shifting to improving employer brand, with an emphasis on candidate experience, and for good reason. “Since we are in a candidate driven market already and in a time wherein social media is very powerful, candidates can either make or break your brand,” said TJ Pestano, Senior Recruitment Relationship Manager at Manila Recruitment.

So how can HR professionals better care for both passive and active job seekers? Below are some of the best practices you should consider implementing in your organization.

Start by identifying skills gaps

Disorganized recruitment efforts almost always end in bad candidate experience. Before you even start writing job ads, make sure that you are hiring specifically to fill a need of the company. Workable reports that performing a skills gap analysis is the best way to identify the additional skills needed for a team to grow. From there, you can reverse engineer the most appropriate job title based on those skills. As a result, candidates will get a better idea of their job duties, and therefore a smoother application experience.

Help applicants find you easily

30 percent of all Google searches—roughly 300 million queries per month—are employment related. Candidates conduct heavy internet research not just to find job opportunities, but to learn more about the employers as well. If your company has a weak online presence, there’s a good chance that you may not be attracting prospects as efficiently as you thought. To cast a wider net during the recruitment stage, Jibe lists seven must-have applicant sources: consumer-quality careers page, job boards, social network, integrated talent network, referral program, next-generation mobile experience, search engines.

Keep candidates in the loop

In their 2015 research report, Monster found that 86 percent of job seekers say that not receiving an application confirmation email creates a bad candidate experience. At the same time, 22 percent of those who received emails found them rather weak and inconsistent, while 73 percent reported never having received any communication at all.  The best talent tends to get snapped up fast so experts highly recommend following the Two Day Rule when sending out an interview invite or rejection email. Always respond to follow-up emails and make it a habit to send them “thank you” messages whenever they make it one step further in the hiring funnel.

Give interviewees time to prepare

For many applicants, the entire interview process is nerve-racking enough. Imagine how much more stressful it is for them to have to go through it with little to no preparation. That’s exactly what 41 percent of candidates feel because they didn’t get detailed agendas before the interview. Yet majority of employers say otherwise. Clearly, something isn’t adding up here, but recruiters and hiring managers can easily remedy the situation. Sending candidates all relevant background information about the interviewer and the company helps a lot. But if you want to go the extra mile, define the standard interview process that must be followed for all applicants.

Stay in contact with new hires

A new hire’s early days in your company helps shape the relationship between employer and employee. A study shows organizations that keep in contact with new employees before their start date and onward score higher candidate scores. Small gestures like sending a quick “welcome” message via email, asking whether employees have everything they need to do their job, and introducing them to the right people go a long way. Make certain that new hires are fully informed of the company culture, and help them adjust better in their new roles and environment. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself having to fill that position again.

“The moment they enter your company premises, to the way you greet them, conduct interviews with them and provide them feedback whether they get the job or not, will all matter,” said TJ Pestano. Which is why crafting a good candidate experience is not just the recruiter’s job. It takes a unified approach and excellent team effort between hiring managers, interviewers and the rest of the HR team to convince job seekers that your company is worth joining.

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