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August 5, 2022

Why Candidate Experience Matters

When today’s job seekers embark on a job search, they aren’t going to settle for vague, rude, inconsistent, lengthy treatment. They expect a seamless, speedy, respectful candidate experience, whether or not they get hired.

Why Candidate Experience Matters

Three big reasons to make sure your candidates have a positive, fulfilling experience are:

  • It establishes trust. If a candidate feels like the people they meet during the hiring process are honest and dependable, they will trust not only the individuals, but your company brand, too.
  • It makes them want to work there. A vague, painful, slow process can make a candidate feel like they’re wasting their time and being disrespected. Neither quality is on the “good” list when looking for new employment. However, a positive candidate experience keeps candidates engaged and enthusiastic about landing the role.
  • They will talk about a bad one. The power of the internet can carry an irritated job candidate’s negative messaging far and wide. CareerArc reports that a whopping 72% of job candidates said they would share a negative hiring experience either online or with someone directly. Social media, online company review sites, and message boards can amplify negative reviews so much they end up hurting your employer brand.

If HR is still using clunky, slow processes in their hiring processes, dragging out interviews, and not keeping candidates informed, the candidate may move on to another position where the process is more intuitive. Keep in mind a key component of the hiring process is the background check. A CareerBuilder survey reported that close to 40% of employers lose candidates because of a poor background screening experience. Background checks with difficult-to-use-platforms and slow processes can cause frustration and mire down the entire process. It may even cause you to lose them to your competitor! Employers should continuously measure and improve every part of their hiring process to maintain a high-quality candidate experience.

Elevating the Background Check Portion of the Candidate Experience

There are many ways to increase the effectiveness of your organization’s candidate experience, both via technological tools and with human effort.

Through Technology

Implementing technology tools throughout the candidate experience smooths and simplifies it, creating a more intuitive journey. For example, Applicant Tracking Software (ATS) integrations help reduce data entry errors and speed up the process. Cloud-based ordering lets HR quickly input and receive crucial background screening information.

Here are 3 helpful ways technology can elevate your candidate experience.

  • User-friendly platforms. HR should implement ways to let the candidate drive their experience whenever possible. This means creating easy ways to input their contact information, decrease the number of required clicks, and laying out a simple, easy-to-follow journey. For example, a dedicated applicant portal offers a convenient way for candidates to control their experience. As a bonus, applicant portals decrease data entry on the organization’s end and reduce the chances of human error. Another user-friendly technology tool is to be able to electronically sign authorizations and release disclosures. Electronic signatures create a friendly experience for the candidate, potentially shave days off the screening timeline, and keep the employer in compliance.
  • Mobile applications. Candidates want to be able to apply for jobs and receive information during the hiring process via their smart devices and be able to send and receive texts via a mobile hiring app. HR needs to prioritize mobile-capable options whenever possible. Doing this increases the agility of the entire experience.
  • Data privacy. Worrying about their private information negatively impacts a candidate’s experience. Protecting your applicants’ personal identifying information (PII) is crucial throughout your background screening process (and beyond). Work with your IT team to ensure your platforms and communication channels have the latest firewalls and security. Write down your policy and make it easy for candidates to find if they want to reference it.

Through Good Ole Human Contact

There’s no doubt that technology is a “must-have” in creating a cohesive modern-day candidate experience. It allows employers to meet them where they are, apply conveniently, and stay in touch throughout the journey.

However, don’t discount the human portion of the candidate experience. It’s just as important as ever and, when paired with technology, rounds out and solidifies a positive hiring experience.

  • Sense of urgency. Throughout the hiring process and when waiting on the background check, HR must look for places to decrease waiting time. It may be cutting out a round of interviews, meeting more often to make decisions quicker, or finding a new background screening vendor with shorter turn-around times. Share the expected timeline with the candidate so they aren’t waiting to hear something for days or weeks, feeling like they’re in the dark. Needlessly wondering and waiting won’t positively contribute to your candidates’ experiences.
  • Consistent communication. Honest, thorough explanations go a long way in establishing rapport and building trust with your candidates. For example, walk them through the process in as much detail as possible, tell them why you need their personal information, inform them you’ll be running a background check and what that entails, and always make sure they are aware of the next steps.
  • Aloof, disrespectful, and rude company representatives will only harm the candidate experience. HR should train and coach all participants to be friendly, patient, willing to answer questions, and open to feedback. After all, HR can use both positive and negative feedback from candidates to further improve your future candidates’ hiring journeys within your company.

In today’s competitive market, the candidate experience may be the difference in successfully hiring your first choice and losing them to the competition. Talented professionals expect and demand the process be smooth, speedy, clear, secure, and painless.

By focusing on improving your candidate’s experience, and the background check portion in particular, you can clear obstacles that would otherwise decrease your hiring success. A positive experience arms you with a competitive edge by helping top talent see that your organization is where they want to make their next career move.

Jared Alexander

Jared is a Senior National Account Executive at Data Facts.

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