The market for talent is brutal. Blame it on the Great Resignation or shifting employee priorities, but finding great candidates has become harder.
A recent survey from Microsoft found that a staggering 41% of employees are dreaming of their two-week notice and have plans to leave their current organization. This should be great news for your hiring prospects. Unfortunately, competition in the labor market is still incredibly tight.
Optimizing your hiring process is a great way to ensure you’re attracting and retaining the right talent. It’s important to evaluate what your hiring process data reveals from an objective point of view.
- Where did you lose candidates in the process?
- Why did you lose candidates?
- Can some of those candidates be repurposed in the future?
- Does your candidate experience make you a top choice for great candidates or is it hurting your hiring odds?
In a tight market where employers are increasing pay, flexibility, and benefits, you don’t want your hiring process to be the reason you’re missing out. Here’s a deep dive into preventing candidate drop-out and calling great candidates back to your talent pool:
Candidate Drop Off
There are several steps in your hiring process where you can experience drop-off. Understanding the reasons candidates drop out and the rate at which you’re losing people is critical to preventing future hiring gaps. Digging deeper into your hiring metrics can reveal specific areas for improvement.
The repercussions for ignoring candidate drop-off rates can be drastic. According to a 2019 Candidate Experience Report by Talentegy, 69% of job seekers who had a bad experience would never apply again. In fact, the candidate experience can have major effects on your brand, considering 54% of job seekers also said a negative experience would impact their decision to buy from or interact with the company.
In 2015, Virgin Media Group shared with Inc. how they discovered that negative candidate experiences were costing the company over $6 million dollars in lost revenue. Basically, your hiring process can impact more than just your ability to snag the talent you need, it can also hurt your company’s bottom line.
The never-ending hiring process
The NeverEnding Story is just not entertaining when it describes your hiring process. It’s important to keep in mind that your idea of a slow hiring process and the expectations of candidates might differ – and those differences could be enough to jeopardize your chances of hiring the talent you need.
A 2020 survey from Yello dug into this candidate and recruiter disconnect. The survey found that 52% of recruiters said their time-to-hire took three weeks or longer to fill across all job openings. However, 82% of job seekers expect the hiring process to take a maximum of two weeks.
A great way to determine where your hiring process is causing candidate drop-off is to look at the timing of when you’re losing people. Data can be hugely helpful as you trace the trajectory of candidates through your process to identify trends.
Keep in mind, the issue could begin before candidates start the application. Your careers page may be turning potential applicants away. A recent State of Candidate Experience report from Phenom found that 89% of career sites did not have an intuitive job search and apply process requiring less than three clicks to apply.
From your application data, take note of whether candidates finish the application or drop off in the middle. This can tell you if your application is too long or cumbersome. Next, determine if candidates who are invited to interview are submitting one-way video interviews. If not, there may be an issue in how you communicate the value of this part of your screening process.
If you notice candidates drop out around the same number of days or weeks, it’s likely your screening process includes too many steps or there is a communication gap. Simple fixes like scheduling a custom email letting candidates know you’re still in the review process and will update them soon keep them feeling connected and valued.
If your current data doesn’t reveal why candidates might be dropping out, you should consider sending pulse surveys throughout the process moving forward.
Pulse surveys are fast and frequent surveys consisting of only a few short questions. These surveys reveal candidate sentiment throughout the process so you can begin drilling down on when candidates become discouraged or disengaged. This will allow your team to use specific data points to address weaknesses in your hiring process in order to strengthen your recruiting efforts.
Gaps in communication can be a major turnoff for potential candidates. Oftentimes, these gaps are due to hiring managers not being clear about when and how communication will occur.
If HR team members are transparent about timelines, candidates are more likely to hold out and stay in the pipeline. It’s critical these expectations are met as laid out. If a decision is delayed, relaying this information in a timely manner ensures candidates maintain trust and confidence in your hiring team.
According to the Phenom report, only 1% of companies communicate the status of an application to a candidate beyond the initial email confirming submission. If you’re among the majority, you very well could be losing out on talented candidates who feel like they’ve submitted their application into a void. In today’s competitive marketplace, by the time you reach out to schedule an interview, they may already be deep into the hiring process with your competition.
Consistent communication is important, but so is understanding the way in which hiring managers communicate with candidates. Make sure your team is clear on how they’ll follow up with talent. Will they reach out via email, text, or a phone call?
Additionally, share with candidates how they can access answers to commonly asked questions through FAQ resources or chatbots. Phenom found that only 5% of Fortune 500 companies used a chatbot on their career site. Clear communication and easy-to-use resources make it much more likely talent will continue in your hiring process.
Lack of personal connections
Nothing can replace treating candidates like human beings. Creating a personal connection is the most important part of the hiring process.
Are hiring managers using canned responses and automated emails? Personalizing communication greatly improves the candidate experience by making job seekers feel like they’re connecting with a person, not being hired by a robot.
Job seekers value company culture more than ever before. A good way to add that human touch is by using video interviewing tools to give candidates a realistic feel for the company culture. Involve not just leaders but employees your candidate will work with to make the strongest impression on talent.
Poor interview process
In order to avoid candidate drop-off, you need to look at your interview process holistically from scheduling to what questions you ask.
Confusing or inconvenient scheduling processes deter candidates. You need to make sure you have it together internally before communicating with talent. Get your team on the same page and align calendars ahead of opening your schedule to candidates.
Video interview tools can make it easier to fit your interview process into everyone’s busy schedules and smart scheduling tools make it simple to get everyone on the same page.
The questions you ask in the interview are incredibly important not just for your assessment but also for the impression you leave with candidates. To ensure a positive interview experience you should be regularly reviewing your questions for bias and relevance.
Check out reviews from candidates on job post websites and social media to see what people saying about your interview questions. Use current employee feedback to create structured questions for non-negotiable qualifications and to customize questions for specific roles. It’s also incredibly important to assess if your questions are inclusive in language, especially if you want to hire diverse candidates.
It’s also critical you assess the evaluation process for fairness. Make sure you’re not rejecting candidates based on outdated criteria. It’s a great idea to get feedback from your employees about how questions are worded and if they are relevant and inclusive. Create a system to ensure every decision-maker is reviewing the same interview responses and rating candidates on structured evaluation criteria.
Today’s tech-savvy candidates are looking for forward-thinking employers so it’s important to ensure your technology aligns with candidate expectations. Video interviews are one way to show candidates your company is moving forward with innovative tech solutions.
Smart technology also makes it easier to get more personal in the way you communicate with candidates, such as using engaging video messages throughout the hiring process.
In an unpredictable economy, job seekers are looking for more. Inflated costs of living impact the needs and expectations candidates have regarding salary and benefits. The competitiveness of today’s job market means that talented candidates can find plenty of great jobs with companies that literally bank on their offers to attract the right people.
Your idea of a competitive salary may not align with your candidates’ needs. To combat losing top talent to better offers, you should be regularly researching competitors, industry standards, and economic factors.
It’s also important to remember that money is important, but it’s not everything. What does your benefits package look like? How flexible is your company about work hours or environment? A recent survey by Morning Consult found that nearly 40% of people in 2021 would consider quitting if their company wasn’t flexible about remote work.
Perhaps you can provide a stipend for home office setup, technology, continuing education, or even offer gym discounts. Every little bit helps in making candidates feel as if they’ll be valued as employees.
Assessing why you’re losing talent sets you up for a better success rate in your future hiring process, but what can you do about the talent you missed out on right now? Fortunately, there could still be hope to funnel prior promising applicants back into your talent pool and make great hires faster.
Re-engage talent you missed
Depending on the reason candidates dropped out of your process, you might be able to convince them to apply again. Unfortunately, the majority of companies miss out on top talent by letting drop-outs fall through the cracks. In fact, only 42% of employers reach out and re-engaged declined candidates with information on other relevant job opportunities according to a CareerArc study.
This is a great place to utilize data from exit surveys in your hiring process. You can use this information to filter potential candidates into a call-back pile.
Candidates who seemed disappointed to be exiting the process and open to remaining in your talent pool will likely respond to recruiter outreach for a new opportunity. On the other hand, candidates who were openly disgruntled by their rejection or experience will probably not be interested. However, the information you gain from their responses can inform you of your current process and ways in which you can improve for future candidates.
Get more social on social media
Social media is a powerful tool to assess candidates’ ongoing interest in your company. When looking through your call-back list, try to identify candidates who interact with your company on social media.
Look at candidates’ social profiles on sites like LinkedIn and see if they’ve upskilled since you last provided feedback in the hiring process. If they’ve gained new skills and career achievements or certificates that would now make them a better fit for your company, they may be hoping to apply again.
Make sure to update your organization’s social media presence for recruiting. According to the Phenom State of Candidate Experience Report, only 48% of Fortune 500 companies in 2021 reported having a robust social media presence on their career site. Social media platforms are a smart venue to communicate why your company is a great place to work.
Losing candidates in the hiring process is inevitable. However, by taking a probing look at the candidate experience you cultivate, the way you communicate with talent, and how actively you interact and engage with potential hires, you can improve and grow your talent pool by keeping top candidates close.