Don Charlton

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While it may come as no surprise, a 2012 CareerBuilder study revealed poor candidate experience can hurt a company’s ability to recruit top talent. The study showed high rates of candidates rejecting offers from certain companies, despite the elevated unemployment rates at the time the research was completed.

Not only does a bad candidate experience leave a poor impression with the individual, but it also poisons a company’s talent brand. Study participants reported telling friends, family, and even social media followers about their disappointing candidate experience.

If you find that your candidates are rejecting offers and your application pile is dwindling, your recruiting process may be the problem. Avoid the risk that candidate complaints will damage your talent brand by using tried-and-true methodology proven to attract high-quality applicants.

Communicate Clearly, Early, and Often

According to the 2015 Software Advice Report, 93 percent of participants reported confusing application instructions as the number one reason for a poor candidate experience. In addition, 34 percent of participants reported they would like more communication throughout the hiring process. Many of them voiced a desire for supplementary information, including salary requirements, benefits, and hiring timelines.

There are a few basic questions to ask when assessing your application for communicative effectiveness. Are your instructions crystal clear, or could they be misinterpreted? Is there clear direction on where candidates should send their application materials? Do you let candidates know when a position has been filled?

These seemingly minor factors are not only courteous, but they can also significantly impact a candidate’s opinion of your company. Modern recruiting software is designed to keep the lines of communication open, as well as help you review resumes, schedule interviews, and manage offers.

Prohibit Ghosting

It almost goes without saying that “ghosting” must be completely abandoned by recruiting staff in order to maintain a strong talent brand. Ghosting is the questionable technique of letting candidates guess your intentions by cutting off all communication instead of offering a written response, whether positive or negative.

Demonstrate that your company is both courteous and responsive by providing appropriate follow-up to every individual that responds to your post. After all, today’s unqualified applicants could be tomorrow’s highly desirable graduates, or they could have friends and family that fit your most hard-to-fill position. Don’t let a reputation of unprofessional behavior rob you of future candidates.

KISS (Keep It Short and Simple)

In a quest to gather as much information as possible in the initial contact, many companies fail to put themselves in the applicant’s shoes or recognize major inconveniences in the hiring process. Overly long, complex applications are a significant deterrent to candidates, coming in second (90 percent) on the list of job seeker frustrations. Fortunately, this is also the easiest issue to avoid.

Use the preliminary application as a quick screening tool. Gather the least amount of information necessary to validate that candidates have the knowledge, skills, and experience necessary to perform the functions of the position, then move them along in the application process. Follow up steps will serve to further narrow your candidate pool.

Maximize Mobile Tools

In today’s digital recruiting world, companies realize that tedious, lengthy application processes won’t work, particularly since so many job seekers are completing the application process using mobile devices. Candidates are quick to reject you in favor of the next company, if it offers a less time-consuming process.

New applicant tracking systems (ATS) like LinkedIn’s autopopulate, contain software features that make applications quicker and less stressful for job seekers. Better still, the software also streamlines the process for employers, who can now profile candidates, make better use of job board tools, and screen resumes on mobile devices.

As the unemployment rate shrinks and highly qualified applicants have an array of job opportunities, companies are in competition for the best talent. A high-quality application experience is an excellent start at building your talent brand to attract the best and the brightest.

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