How to ensure a positive candidate experience with the right tech

The pandemic and Brexit created a perfect storm that reduced workforce numbers in the UK – perhaps permanently. With 500,000 fewer people in the workforce and a global labour shortage, nearly every industry is experiencing skills gaps. In a recent survey, Wave asked recruiters and recruitment agency owners whether hard-to-fill vacancies are currently a challenge. The results confirmed what we see happening in the market – a huge 86% of respondents said that hard-to-fill vacancies are one of their biggest challenges and 14% said that they anticipate problems in filling vacancies over the year ahead.

With competition for qualified candidates fierce, never has it been more crucial to ensure your processes are resulting in positive candidate experiences. In order to keep hold of and engage qualified candidates right up to placement and avoid negative experiences tarnishing your brand (news of bad experiences can spread like wildfire on social media), you need to provide every candidate with a great experience, whatever the outcome of their application. And the right tech can help busy recruiters to do that.

  1. Utilise an application management system

    While most industries aren’t experiencing the soaring numbers of applications that we were seeing in 2020/2021, keeping track of applications, CVs and candidates – let’s not forget we’re talking about real people and not just a digital application – remains a challenge for every busy recruiter. How do you ensure that the candidate experience remains positive for all whilst screening candidates, managing applications, communicating next steps, all as quickly as possible to prevent qualified candidates from slipping the through the net?

    This is where an application management system can be of enormous help to recruiters, allowing you to track the recruitment process for each job, using notes and status updates. A traffic light system is ideal, allowing you to quickly rank candidates. Those marked as red can be automatically sent an email thanking them for their application and informing them that they have been unsuccessful this time (pre-worded within the template by the recruiter). Given the number of posts on LinkedIn written by disgruntled candidates that have been ghosted by recruiters, this simple act is enormously appreciated. Word of mouth recommendations can boost your business but negative reviews can be incredibly damaging to your brand. 

  2. Get the candidate journey right on your website

    Is your recruitment website equipping candidates with the knowledge and the drive to register their CV, apply for a job or find out more? If not, it’s not doing its job and you will be missing out on talented candidates. Even worse if your website is actively discouraging candidates from converting because the UX is poor. It is crucial that the entire candidate journey is straightforward, especially the job search and application process. Ensure your jobs page is easy to navigate to and that comprehensive filters can be applied so that candidates can find the best jobs for them.

    The primary cause of candidate drop out is a long, overly complicated application process. Don’t force a candidate to fill out too many fields, don’t insist on a cover letter, don’t ask for multiple documents to be attached, and don’t make them duplicate anything they’ve already had to fill out. Allow candidates to set up job alerts so that if they don’t find a suitable job in your current listing, they can be notified if one comes into your agency. The great thing about a job alert is that the candidate is in charge so you’ll never frustrate them with unsolicited, untargeted communications.   

    Also important is to make sure your website is optimised for mobile devices – not only will a large number of candidates use a mobile to both browse jobs and apply, Google penalises websites that aren’t mobile optimised. If your website isn’t mobile friendly, the user experience will be frustrating and the likelihood that candidates will drop off before converting in any way is high. Website speed is equally important – you don’t want to miss out on top talent because your website pages take too long to load. In a recent RecWebs report, we found that the average page load speed times for mobile recruitment websites fell into the ‘poor’ band. Again, this will increase the likelihood of a high bounce rate and candidates will simply go elsewhere.

  3. Use your tech stack to focus on human connections

    The human element of recruitment is something that simply can’t be replaced, which is why the combination of streamlining, data-driven tech with the compassionate, relationship-building power of a human recruiter makes for a winning formula. Used well, tech such as WaveTrackR should help to track candidates during the process, communicate quickly with them, and reduce time on admin, thereby freeing up valuable time for conversations. On your website, add the details of the recruiter handling each job, which can immediately create a connection. Include a picture, name and job title, plus clickable links to their LinedIn profile, and internal contact details or their profile on your meet the team page if you have one. Candidates are putting their careers in the hands of recruiters. Providing them with the ability to see who they would be talking with can instil a vital sense of trust.

Ultimately, recruiters need to have a compassionate approach to recruitment. Recognising that behind every application is a person trying to find a job and that each of those people is different, with varying backgrounds, histories, motivations, wins and woes, is crucial. Building relationships with people is the essence of a recruiter’s job. It helps you to understand what both clients and candidates want and are likely to need in the future, thereby enabling you to match the right opportunity with the right candidate. By freeing up recruiter time to focus on these crucial people-centric elements, technology can actively help to humanise the recruitment process.

There are currently so many conversations around AI and humans, with the concern being that a reliance on technology will de-humanise processes. However, used right, technology can make the process easier for candidates and enhance the human connections that are so important in recruitment. Recruitment technology can create a positive candidate experience by making it easier for them to apply for jobs and so that the recruiter can manage their applications with greater speed and ease but also because it frees up recruiter time to pick up the phone and talk to them. Recruitment technology should be used to automate admin tasks and speed up processes, releasing recruiters from those tasks to focus on the areas of recruitment that demand human contact and human judgement – these elements together help to ensure a positive candidate experience.

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