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07 April 2017

Candidate experience: Talent is King

Whenever there is a shortage of skilled workers, recruiters should make the recruitment process as easy as possible for talented individuals. That is the best way to get in their good books. Tips for creating a good candidate experience.

Talent is King

Carerix is also active in the German market and works closely with commercial journalists to highlight trends within the market. This article is a translation of:
Candidate Experience: Das Talent ist König (German)

Every year ManpowerGroup surveys employers in relation to the shortage of skilled workers. In 2016, 49 per cent of the 42,000 research participants from 42 countries said that they had difficulty in finding skilled workers. That is the highest percentage since 2007. The following sectors are having the most difficulty filling jobs:

  1. Skilled crafts and trades
  2. Sales
  3. Engineering
  4. Management
  5. IT
  6. Medicine


The candidate experience: a definition

As the term implies, if companies want to attract candidates, they need to make good arguments and coordinate their recruitment processes perfectly. That will result in what experts refer to as a good candidate experience. This includes all of the experiences which an applicant has with a potential employer. A lot of companies underestimate the fact that the candidate experience starts well before the actual application. Talented individuals come into contact with organisations just by browsing career sites or social media, attending industry or recruitment events or looking at job advertisements. We already know what candidates want from an employer at all these points of contact: in their opinion, the processes and information on offer should be fast, simple and transparent. However, the opposite is often true, as revealed by indeed’s job application study in 2016: 42 per cent of candidates have previously cancelled an ongoing job application because they had a bad experience.

Candidate experience: where does it begin and where does it end?

As a matter of fact, glitches in the recruitment process can occur at a very early stage. For example, a lot of career sites and job advertisements are not available in a responsive web design. As a result, applicants often need to keep swiping forwards and backwards on their smartphones in order to get more information about an employer, which is inconvenient. Alternatively, they have to switch to their laptops. According to the Recruiting Trends 2017 study, which is carried out each year by the University of Bamberg in collaboration with the Monster career portal, these types of problems have been reported by half of the candidates surveyed. For many of them, this is simply too laborious. Another topic is complicated job application forms. Many of them are too long, they are not tailor-made or they reset for technical reasons without allowing applicants to save as they go. And those who do persevere are often put off by lengthy feedback times or delayed answers.

What factors have a negative impact on the candidate experience?

Another thing applicants cannot stand is the all too common standard e-mail, especially when the employer is addressing them directly. If the employer makes no reference to an applicant’s CV, the applicant will soon feel that the employer is only concerned with filling the position and is writing to talented candidates indiscriminately. Active sourcing makes it much easier to address candidates in a more personal way. Sourcing tools enable recruiters to trawl the internet for information on suitable candidates in order to address them appropriately. In any event, in the age of high-performance HR software, if the available tools are used, optimising the candidate experience should not be rocket science. For example, companies can attract potential candidates from their talent pool by sending them descriptive newsletters in their corporate design with information on the latest vacancies and news.

What factors have a positive impact on the candidate experience?

Alternatively, employers can use a job alert to automatically notify registered candidates of new vacancies. The candidates will be selected with precision using criteria like their current position and their desired job. Without a doubt, one of the main points of contact for talented candidates is the career site. In this regard, software manufacturers like Carerix offer their own modules which can be easily integrated into company systems: websites can be adapted to a company’s corporate design, built to be responsive and optimised for Google. All of the vacancies on a company’s job portal can be integrated, consulted and filtered according to search terms. Additional information about the working environment, working conditions, the company’s culture or the opportunities for further development can be integrated into the blog on the career site. Finally, employers can share their ideal content on social media.

An app-based applicant community? Why not!

There are still plenty of technical possibilities to tap into in the area of candidate experience. Mobility is very important to young applicants. Their smartphone is their constant companion and they largely communicate by messenger. Thanks to modern HR software, companies can take charge and offer their own applicant community app. Talented candidates could use such an app to browse job advertisements, news, blog entries, events and more. They could also use the app to chat to employees from a specific department in order to find out more about a vacancy. Push notifications could be used to notify app users of important news or new job advertisements. The app could even allow users to submit job applications by filling in a simple job application form. However, the important thing is to communicate with applicants in a timely fashion whenever they submit a job application. To this end, it might be a good idea to use a well-organised application management system with automatic follow-ups, reminders to send automatic status e-mails and assignments. That way, not only will applicants always be kept up to date but they will also be able to communicate with specialist departments easily.

Video interview or video pitch

However, there are even more possibilities when it comes to the candidate experience. What would it be like to hold a video interview with clients who live far away? In this regard, there are two options:

  1. Video pitch
  2. Live and automated interviews

Video pitches enable candidates to briefly introduce themselves to recruiters. That gives the recruiter a better impression of the candidate, in addition to analysing candidate’s CV and photograph. This enables HR managers to pre-select candidates more efficiently and to give feedback more quickly. Recruiters can then ask candidates questions by video or text in order to confirm their first impression. The candidate can record his or her answers in video mode and forward them to the HR manager. The quantity and length of recordings can be configured freely. Of course, it is also possible to hold live conversations, which can be recorded and shown to other decision-makers in the company at a later date. That way, job interviews can be held remotely, wherever and whenever it is convenient for the applicant. What better service could you offer candidates?