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November 11, 2019

By: Perri Grinberg, VP, HR, US

Companies can no longer afford to simply sit back and wait to be impressed. With a million-plus more open jobs than there are unemployed Americans, it’s a candidate’s market out there. That means hiring managers need to be proactive in making sure that their company’s candidate experience is designed to sway an applicant from the earliest touchpoints.

Understanding the difference between passive candidates and active job seekers is the first step. Passive candidates are workers who are currently employed but are willing to entertain their options. They’ll switch jobs for the right role at the right time. Active job seekers, meanwhile, are either unemployed or unhappy in their current roles. But with a 50-year low in unemployment and an estimated 75% of professionals falling into the passive candidate category, it’s crucial that companies understand how important it is to up their game as the market becomes increasingly competitive for top talent. In advertising, for instance, we are all competing for the same talent in a small pool, so we’re always looking for ways to improve the candidate experience.

So what does that entail? There are a few things to know. For one, it’s not just about candidates selling themselves to a company anymore. Companies need to be more active and engaging when trying to persuade candidates to work there. Applicants who understand the value of their skills will approach the process looking to see how a company plans to maximize their best attributes. That means having open, collaborative interviews that cater to the individual will be a necessary component of landing the best workers.

How to Improve Candidate Experience in Recruitment

With that in mind, remember that it’s not just about the company interviewing the candidate. Allowing the candidate to interview hiring managers and others involved with the process is one of the best ways to engage potential employees and make the candidate experience in recruitment more memorable. The interviewing process should be viewed as a showcase for all that the company has to offer, and letting candidates steer the conversation is a great way to evaluate their needs and connect the dots to how they fit with the best qualities of the organization.

At the end of the day, it’s all about showing candidates a situation that would be hard to turn down. Entice them. Court them. Captivate them. And most important: Sell them. The more you can personalize the process, the better chance you have at wooing the people you want.

The adage of treating people the way you want to be treated applies here. Approach candidates with the same level of thoughtfulness and care you would appreciate if you were interviewing with another company. That might mean limiting the number of people involved in the interview loop to the ones who will contribute the most to the candidate’s potential work experience. Reducing the number of trips candidates need to make to your office is another great way to both show that you value their time and that your process is efficient. Maybe most important, be punctual. Don’t cancel or reschedule interviews. And allow candidates an adequate amount of time to ask their own questions.

At RAPP, these are the steps we try to follow. By conducting first-round interviews over the phone, for instance, we’re able to gauge whether candidates are likely to be a good fit before we continue the process. Then, once we invite them to the office, it’s best to be transparent about the work and what the role really entails. Not only is it a great way to make sure everyone is on the same page, but hashing out the details also allows both parties to negotiate details and tailor the job to the candidate’s strengths. Once a hiring decision is made, close the loop on the role.

In a competitive market, it’s important for companies to understand that candidates often have the leverage. But by reexamining their recruitment processes and fitting them to the needs of today’s workers, hiring managers can rethink their approach and create the great candidate experience that lands them the top talent they seek.

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