Most companies think the job application process is one-sided. The candidates want your job and you choose the best applicant.
However, the flourishing job market and the rise of highly-specialized positions means that candidates are often evaluating companies as well. Your candidates are applying to several jobs at once, and they want to make sure to choose an employer that will advance their careers and make them happy.
One of the biggest indicators of these factors are the signals that your company sends to candidates during the job application process. The application lets candidates know how organized your company is. It also sends red flags about potential problems that could occur if they decide to work for you.
Put your best foot forward to recruit the highest-quality talent possible. Here are four steps you should take to audit and improve the candidate experience:
Analyze the Relevance of Your Job Applications
For your candidates, the job search process starts with the application. Clear, detailed applications give candidates an idea for what their day-to-day duties would be and what is expected of them. Unfortunately, very few companies create clear and detailed applications.
Too often, companies either put the wrong information into an application or they put too much. They want to attract a diverse talent pool and candidates with a lot of skills. Does your accountant really need graphic design skills? Does your marketing team really need to be CPR certified?
This can put off candidates or cause unqualified people to apply. Confusing applications also creates unintended applicant bias. Studies have found that men apply for jobs when they meet 60% of the qualifications but women only apply when they feel 100% qualified. If you include every skill possible in hopes of finding the perfect candidate, you could end up isolating a large part of the workforce.
To improve this element of the candidate experience, check out a few job application tools and resources. Making small changes to your application format can increase the number of applicants and improve their overall quality.
Review Your Current Applicant Systems
Have you been using the same online application tool since 1994? Your candidates can tell.
Few things are more frustrating than working through an antiquated and clunky system to submit a job application. These tools don’t have autofill, have seemingly endless pages, and make candidates fill in their resume information manually even after they upload the file.
If you haven’t recently, run through your application process as a candidate and see how hard it is to apply for a job. You can also bring in others to test your system and provide feedback.
Some hiring teams also “mock apply” for jobs posted by their competitors to see what their application tools look like and how easy it is to submit information. You may discover that your current application system is behind in the times and your top candidates are leaving to apply to your competitors.
If you do find that you need to upgrade your hiring software, consider reviewing some of the top applicant tracking systems (ATS). An ATS is an applicant management software that streamlines everything from recruitment and job posting to the hire.
Check Your Time to Hire
Once you have the right group of people applying for your jobs and the right system to receive applications, the next step is to look at your internal processes. One of the biggest issues companies have is maintaining a reasonable time to hire. This hiring metric is the average number of days on from application to acceptance.
There is plenty of industry data that breaks down the average time to hire by position or department. Entry-level positions like checkout clerks or waitstaff tend to have shorter time to hire windows, while executive positions and government jobs have longer windows.
Remember, your candidates are applying to several job postings along with yours. They want a new job as soon as possible – especially if they are currently between jobs. If you take several months to hire a candidate and go weeks without contacting them, they will get the impression you are not interested in them and then move on to other opportunities. Plus, the longer you take to fill a position, the more money your company loses in lower production and energy spent in the hiring process.
Improve the Interview Process
If you have made it through the audit without identifying any red flags, then your hiring issues may lie in your interview process. Every company has its own interview process and various department heads often tweak the process for their needs. However, if your interview process is flawed, you could be filtering out the best candidates without realizing it.
Work with your team to standardize and improve your interviews. If you have mandatory HR interview questions, look to see which ones actually provide value. If each department head has their own interviewing style, see which ones are most effective. To assess interviewing style effectiveness, look at factors like employee turnover, performance rates, team growth, and manager reviews. You may realize that some departments need to change their interview styles to better vet candidates.
Remember, you won’t land every candidate that you want to hire. Some people are bound to accept other offers or turn down the position for personal reasons. However, you shouldn’t let your hiring process create roadblocks for you. By auditing the candidate experience, you can make sure you get the largest and best talent pool possible so your team can pick from the cream of the crop.
About the Author
Christine Soeun Choi is a digital marketing associate at Fit Small Business. Currently based in NYC, she has a background in business studies and math with a passion for business development. Outside of work, Christine enjoys traveling and exploring art.