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Why You Need to Create an
Excellent Applicant Experience

Hiring Hurdles

Some employers get lazy and sloppy in the recruiting process. They think that the candidates need the company more than the company needs them. Nothing could be further from the truth.

How you treat a candidate in the recruitment phase is a window into what kind of treatment they can expect once hired.

What do Your Current Employees Think?
Start the survey in your own backyard and ask your current employees, especially those who joined your team in the last six months, what they thought about your application process. Give them a forum to speak freely and take their comments on board.

Start With a Job Description That Reflects Your Workplace
Your job description doesn’t have to be a stuffy, rigid document.

Your brand voice should shine through. Do you claim to be an exciting, creative workplace but your job description is overly dense and describes irrelevant details in tedious language? Or perhaps you’re a respected financial institution with a 100-year legacy that has a job description brimming with typos and trendy buzzwords?

Is the Application Process Soul Crushing?
Most applicants want to update their resume for your position and email it off.

Many hiring managers want applicants to cut and paste their resumes into a seemingly infinite number of fields, requiring information such as the mailing address of an employer the candidate last worked for in 2010.

Obviously the latter is easier for the hiring manager to search. But it is not pleasant for your candidates, especially those already in full-time employment who don’t necessarily have multiple hours to spend on submitting every application (don’t forget, they are likely spending time prior to submission researching your company and the role).

If you do require online forms to be filled out, state up front the anticipated amount of time they will take to complete as well as if candidates can save their work or if they need to finish everything in one session.

How do You Acknowledge Receipt of the Application?
An automated email doesn’t need to be bland. Pepper it with personality. If your software allows you to add in the person’s name to personally thank them, then do it.

Your email confirming receipt should also state the date candidates should expect to hear back from you if they progress to the interview stage.

Supporting Documents
If you’ll be requesting writing samples, portfolio pieces, or a test assignment, ensure someone on your team has time to devote to going through these closely. There is nothing worse than an applicant assembling supporting documentation to have it be ignored.

On the Day of the Interview
Have a copy of the applicant’s cover letter and resume to hand. Review them the day before the interview so you can ask smart questions. Provide a glass of water and turn off your phone.

Don’t schedule interviews back-to-back. Give a 15-minute window in between each so applicants don’t run into each other in the hallway.

During the Interview
This is definitely a time to put your best foot forward. Even if you realize early on in the interview that the applicant is not the right fit, stay professional and attentive. No matter how bad of a day you are having, do not speak negatively of the company, staff, or policies.

Ask for Feedback
For all applicants, send them the link to a five-question or fewer email survey to rate their experience. Provide a text box where they can enter any comments. Review these with the HR team and tweak the applicant experience as necessary.

It’s Smart to Care
A CareerBuilder Canada survey found that of candidates who have a bad experience interviewing with your company, 33 percent of them are less likely to purchase from you. Over a third of applicants say that the way they are treated in the application process impacts whether or not they accept a job offer.

You never want your first-choice applicant to turn you down, let alone because you offered them a sub-par applicant experience. 

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