Candidate experience matters more during low unemployment rate

As of July, the unemployment rate edged down to 3.9 percent. This is below what economists consider a “healthy” unemployment rate of between 4 and 6 percent. 

Even a healthy economy needs some unemployment. So, what does it mean to be below healthy?

It means that the best people for your company are already employed at other organizations. And unlike at a healthy unemployment rate where frictionally employed workers are seeking other opportunities, these people aren’t thinking of leaving.

Difficulty to hire

Your competition is stiffer, and they’re targeting skillful candidates with new weapons that reduce the time it used to take to hire. Notice I said “skillful candidates.” Finding qualified candidates in this year’s record employment is one of the biggest challenges Human Resources face. That’s partly because the current job market is candidate driven. Talent now pick where they want to work, and they do it based on their candidate experience.

Candidate experience is more than a buzzword. It’s about how candidates perceive and interact with the hiring process, including the job application, screening methods used to filter candidates, and the interview process.

Candidates are customers

According to different research and studies, candidates who had a positive experience with your recruiting process are more likely to accept your job offer, reapply in the future, and refer others to your company. This means your talent pool will expand and your brand will advance. You’ll have more applicants, higher quality of hires, and it’ll take less time to fill empty seats.

Another benefit to a positive candidate experience is that your candidates (even the ones you reject) are more willing to buy your products or services. Those who have a poor experience are more likely to take their business to a competitor.

But a great candidate experience can be so much more than a reputation management tool. It’s a hiring necessity.

Promote jobs like products

Companies are already thinking of candidates as customers. Why not put the same spin on marketing jobs? Promote jobs the same way as services and products to attract passive candidates. Here are six examples of how we do it:

1. Referral program

Implement a referral program where employees and candidates receive rewards just for putting you in touch with their friends, family and past colleagues. The motivation encourages employees to think about the positives of working for your organization, and it urges past candidates to spread the word of the great experience they had working with your recruiters. Even if your advocates don’t have a specific person in mind, the right incentive can lead to social media posts and other forms of sharing.

2. Network before your need

Keep an eye out for talent even before a job opportunity surfaces. Building good relationships ahead of time makes it easier to persuade a passive candidate to consider a new challenge when the time comes. Plus, if a candidate knows he’s valuable in the job market it can give him the confidence boost he needs to move on from his company.

3. Interact with candidates on social media

Follow, like, comment and connect with passive candidates. Reading their posts will give insight into their personality, interests and reputation.

4. Blog

Create your own blog and turn your company into a source of valuable information that people turn to for answers.

5. Motivate with more than money

According to a recent survey, money is actually the third factor that motivates someone to apply for a job. Listen to what really motivates employees. If your job offers more of what a passive employee values in their position (i.e. a shorter commute than their current company, better benefits and perks), they could be more inclined to make the change.

6. Face-to-face

Invite talent out for coffee or lunch, or something that benefits both parties (the recruiting company and the passive candidate). Building a human relationship is a competitive advantage. Just don’t put too much pressure on them. Make the face-to-face connection, and you might be surprised where it leads.

When the unemployment rate changes

The only thing that is constant is change. The unemployment rate will sooner or later edge up or further down. When it’s back up, you might not have the need or the time to nurture passive candidates, but you can still count on crucial touch points to make or break your candidate experience. These are the touch points we use to deliver a positive candidate experience, regardless of the unemployment rate:

1. Clear job description

Job descriptions are the most important content that candidates look for when researching a job. Give a clear and accurate explanation of the job and responsibilities, not a never-ending list that they probably won’t read. Let candidates know the salary range, benefits and perks, and company values. And make it all easy to read.

2. Set clear expectations

Transparency about the recruiting process is very important in delivering a positive candidate experience. Letting a candidate know what to expect can ease any feelings they have about self-doubt, nervousness and confusion. They will feel less stressed and more valued by your company.

3. Improve your jobs page

Your jobs page or career site is the most visited recruiting asset you have. Improve the user experience overall and ensure candidates can easily find the information they need by providing only useful information.

4. Easy application

Did you know that 60 percent of job seekers quit in the middle of filling out an online job application? They quit because the application takes too darn long or is too complex. Evaluate your application process by applying yourself. Is it easy to complete an application? Does it take too long? Is it accessible from all devices? Do everything you can to shorten the process and make it simpler by asking only what you really need for this first communication.

5. Respect their time and communicate 

Candidates want the recruiting process to be as brief as possible, and they want timely communication from their point of contact. When candidates apply for your job, they’re often taking time away from their current job, they’re researching, preparing their resume, applying, interviewing and traveling. And since top talent is staying on the job market for a much shorter period of time, you can’t expect them to wait two to three months to hear an offer. Keep in mind, once they submit an application most candidates are comfortable waiting three to five business days to hear from a recruiter. Sending an automated email that lets them know you received their application is also a good way to improve the candidate experience.

6. Communication is key

The main cause for frustration among job seekers is the lack of response from recruiters and employers. Continuous updates can greatly improve the overall candidate experience. Even if the update is that they didn’t get the job, they’ll appreciate that information and any feedback you can provide.

7. Interview tips

The interview can make or break a candidate’s chances of getting hired. Give your talent some tips on what skills to highlight and make suggestions on questions to ask the hiring manager.

8. Maintain the relationship

Even if your candidate doesn’t get hired, the relationship doesn’t have to end there, but there’s more to it than just keeping them in mind for future job openings. Candidates have to keep you in mind. Stay in touch and engage with top talent on LinkedIn and any other social media platforms you both use. Also add them to your email campaigns.

These lists are just a taste of everything Infinia Search does to make sure our candidates have the best experience possible, even when they don’t get the job. If you want to make your candidate experience the best it can be, we can help! Contact us to fill some seats and set up an awesome candidate experience.