Human Resources Blog - Spark Hire

How to Improve Applicant Experience to Improve Company Brand

Is your company a great place to work, but you’re just not attracting the right talent? Part of this could be because your company brand is being negatively affected by the experiences of your job applicants. From the application to the video interview, the hiring process can have a profound effect on how top candidates view companies. More importantly, it can strongly affect whether this top talent accepts a job offer or whether they mosey on over to your competitor.

A recent survey by Career Builder dispelling the five myths of recruitment shows just how important it is to make sure candidates feel positively about your company during the hiring process. The survey found that a bad experience could critically influence whether a candidate ultimately accepted a job offer at a company.

Bad experiences doesn’t just affect the hiring process though; it can also damage the company brand and recruitment profile you’ve worked so hard to cultivate. According to the survey, a whopping 78 percent of candidates admitted they would talk about a bad applicant experience with friends and family.

In addition, about a quarter would share their negative views of the process on social media or through a blog post. This means the deficiencies of your recruitment process might be just a tweet away from going viral. This is certainly bad news if you want to brand your company as a great place to work.

Here are some ways to improve the experience of hiring applicants to improve your company brand, and hire great candidates in the process:

Avoid Endless Applications
No one wants to spend hours filling out a job application, no matter how great the job. If you have a long online application, look at the applicant completion data. Are they following the application all the way through to the end or jumping ship halfway?

If you have a lot of applicants fleeing for the life rafts before the finish line, it’s highly probable your application is just too long. Go through the application yourself if you need to and see if you get tired of the drudgery before the end. You want great candidates to get through the screening process, not take their talents elsewhere.

If You Say You’ll Follow Up Then Follow Up!
At the end of a video interview don’t tell candidates you’ll get back to them and then leave them hanging by the phone. Even if they aren’t the right fit for this position, this doesn’t mean they might not be great for a position in the future. If you left a great candidate hanging however, they will be less likely to look positively at future opportunities with your company.

After all, you wouldn’t go out on a date with someone who stood you up once before would you? The same principle applies here. All it takes is a short phone call or a small, polite email notifying a candidate of the status of their application. Then if something comes up for which they would be perfectly suited, they’ll remember your company as a workplace which keeps its promises, even if they were disappointed not to get the initial job.

Make the Process Faster
To hire great talent you have to scoop these individuals up before your competitors do. With the traditional hiring process taking as long as 45 days to fill a position on average, it’s a safe bet that the best and the brightest will already be settling into a new office across town if you don’t shorten your process. This is why it’s important to speed up the process of turning a great applicant into a great hire.

Perhaps you need to get all the decision makers together to meet a great candidate so you can decide to turn around a job offer faster. Or you might want to get a candidate to take a test to see if they will be suited for the rigors of the job. Video interviews are also a great way to cut some of the fat out of the traditional hiring process. Both live and one-way video interviews allow employers to see candidates faster, evaluate them more personally, and share and record interviews easily. Whatever method your company uses, make sure it’s cutting down on wasted time that could lose you your dream candidate.

Improving the applicant experience is a fast and easy way to maintain a positive company brand. Good recruitment brands are also great ways of finding better candidates and hiring talented employees to grow your organization. Candidates talk, so it’s important not to drop the ball on fostering a positive applicant experience for everyone!

What are some ways you can improve applicant experience to improve your company’s hiring brand? Share in the comments!

IMAGE: Courtesy of Flickr by app-master


Heather Huhman

Heather R. Huhman is the Career & Recruiting Advisor for Spark Hire. She writes career and recruiting advice for numerous outlets, and is the author of Lies, Damned Lies & Internships: The Truth About Getting from Classroom to Cubicle (2011), and #ENTRYLEVELtweet: Taking Your Career from Classroom to Cubicle (2010).