The recruitment process nowadays is vastly different from what the older generations experienced in the past. Now, it is more candidate-driven. Long were the days where candidates saw a job ad via the newspaper classified so they decided to whip up their portfolios and hand-wrote their application forms. The candidates then proceeded to mail the package away and patiently waited for the company’s response.
When the Internet was born, everything else was history. Both the candidates and the employers are now living in a data-centric world, and an abundant amount of data can bring both benefits and drawbacks.
Candidates today do not blindly apply for every job posting they see. Social media and company review sites are becoming increasingly well-known thus everything about the employer (the brand, staffing, culture, the management team characteristics, etc.) is as apparent as the company’s products or services.
As a result, many organisations nowadays present their brand as a “product” and advertise themselves extravagantly in order to attract quality talents. Company culture plays a key role in such “brand building” plan, but another equally critical factor, the candidate experience, should have been among the top priorities of organisations in the journey of talent acquisition but it is tragically belittled.
What is candidate experience?
In short, candidate experience is how the job seeker/ the job applicant/ the potential candidate perceives you, the employer/ the organisation, throughout the entire recruitment process. This means the candidate will have some kind of perceptions about your company during their search for a job vacancy, at the actual interview, or even after they are accepted for the probation period.
A candidate with a positive experience will be more likely to continue with the recruitment process, become loyal to the brand, and will in turns introduce the brand to their immediate circle.
On the other hand, a poor candidate experience will make the candidate feel frustrated and may even lead to brand boycotting. They will also give out harsh comments about your organisation to typically anyone they know.
With the increasingly popular social media and job search platforms like Glassdoor, these positive/ negative reviews can be posted publicly for everyone to see, and if you have more ‘thumbs down’, it can take a long time for your company to recover.
There are many methods for improving the candidate experience but typically it comes down to the company’s goals, what values you are looking for in an employee, how your ideal staff member looks like. As such, it is critical for you as a recruiting officer, an HR manager, or the business owner, to come up with a ‘candidate persona’.
Get to know your candidates via the ‘candidate persona’
Much like the ‘consumer persona’ we frequently encounter in sales or marketing, the ‘candidate persona’ means to define the ideal candidate for a specific position. The defining process will take into account various aspects such as the skills and requirements they need to have, the characteristics that will fit the role, their way of doing job search, reasons they are not applying yet, etc.
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There can be multiple candidate personas for different roles within the organisation. This valuable information should be shared among the recruiting teams and can be used to further develop the talent acquisition plan and message.
Creating a candidate persona is an intense process of researching your ideal employee, get to know their background, goals, strengths, weaknesses, communication styles, and align them with your organisation’s objectives. This can be done through surveys or interviews with current, past, and even lost candidates.
Now that you have an idea of what a candidate experience is, how a poor experience can impact your brand and the essential for creating a candidate persona, how should your organisation improve such experience in order to acquire higher quality talents?
Read Part 2 - Key factors to consider when improving the candidate experience to learn more.