Candidate experience: The holy grail of recruitment

“If you are not taking care of your candidates, your competitor will.” – Bob Hooey

We’ve all seen a myriad of articles on how HR professionals can strengthen their candidate experience, but many of these forget to discuss the basics. What is candidate experience, and why does it matter?

So before worrying about how to improve the experience, let’s go back to basics and look at why you should.

What is the candidate experience?

Put simply, the candidate experience refers to how your candidates feel about your company when they experience your hiring process. It is impacted by every interaction a candidate has with you, from direct communication and dealings with your team to your brand messaging and technology.

These interactions aren’t limited to those explicitly in your application process. They occur across all your platforms, including:

  • Your corporate career pages
  • Social media pages
  • Job listings

Almost 4 in 5 candidates (78%) say the overall candidate experience is an indicator of how a company values its people, which can make or break your recruitment process.

Why is improving the candidate experience important?

At the heart of it, a poor candidate experience can lead to everything from candidate attrition during the process to rejection of your job offer. And this can cost you time and money, lose top talent and, ultimately, impact your brand and future recruitment efforts.

With the stakes so high, it might seem like the majority of companies strive to get it right. But the statistics tell a different story. According to Linke[MM1] dIn, 60% of job seekers have had a poor candidate experience, and 72% of those have shared the experience publicly on sites like Glassdoor.

Here are just some of the reasons it’s a good idea to revisit yours.

  1. A positive experience builds your brand

With such a high number of candidates believing your hiring process reflects how you treat people, a positive experience says a lot about your brand. Remember, just as you are evaluating candidates, they are evaluating who you are too. So make sure your hiring process aligns with your brand values. You never know when today’s rejected candidate could become sought-after talent or even a valued client, so maintaining a positive impression of your brand is key.

  • Your experience can improve the quality of hires

In today’s competitive market, the best talent likely has many opportunities. Delivering a positive experience can keep them engaged with you and more likely to consider your role. Speed is critical here. A timely and responsive process will reduce candidate attrition and likely keep your best candidates interested.

  • A poor experience can leave a lasting impact

As the statistics above show, candidates feel strongly (and remember!) negative experiences. Of course, not every candidate will be successful in every role, but how you handle rejections contributes to your experience.

A rejection doesn’t have to leave a bad taste in a candidate’s mouth. In fact, it can leave them with a positive impression. Whether you are rejecting an application in the early stages or after interview, responsive communication is key. This can be about broadcast communications in the early stages, but these communications can still be timely and polite, recognising the effort candidates have put into applying. 

In the latter stages, personalised and direct communication is key. Your technology can still do this for you, but in a way that acknowledges the time the candidate has given you.

  • It can decrease time to hire (and save you money!)

A good candidate experience isn’t just about the candidate, it delivers a raft of business benefits too. A positive experience is likely to be one that is efficient, and that’s a win for your team. It helps you find the right hire faster and uses less resources, meaning you can focus on more strategic activities up the chain.

So, how can you improve your process?

So we know what is and why it’s important, but what can be done about it? Here are just a few areas it’s worth investing in.  

  1. Writing clear job advertisements and descriptions
  • Use everyday language rather an industry jargon or business buzzwords.
  • Be concise when listing your requirements. Job ads with lengthy requirement lists lose engagement.
  • Present information in a clear structure. Start with the most important information and use bulleted lists and active phrasing to deliver it in an engaging way.
  • Don’t rely on the job title to provide information. There are such a wide variety of job titles in the market today, so nothing can be assumed. For example, if the title includes ‘manager’ don’t assume your candidates will understand whether this means managing projects, resources, people, or all three.

2. Making sure your application process is easy

In a competitive market, lengthy application processes that involve clunky technology, hard to find information or data duplication are a turn-off for candidates. Some things to look at here include:

  • Making sure your career pages are easy to find within your website. Consider providing an easy-to-remember vanity link, such as companyname.com/careers.
  • Giving clear instructions. Long, complicated instructions can be confusing and result in candidate dropout. In fact, 60% of job seekers report having given up on an application due to length or complexity[MM2] .
  • Take applications via LinkedIn profile or offer resume parsing that makes it easy for candidates to apply with no duplication of their data.

3. Being responsive and communicating regularly   

A lack of communication is one of the most common complaints about a recruitment process, and it’s easy to see why. Nobody wants to be left hanging on, wondering if they are still in contention when the decision has already been made.

Essential communications include:

  • Confirmation of application receipt
  • Reminder emails if something needs addressing
  • Thank you emails when an action is taken
  • Prompt responses to candidate enquiries
  • Timely and polite status notifications – including rejections
  1. Preparing your team for successful interviews

Most of us can attest to awkward interview experiences where panel members are not prepared and/or can’t answer basic questions about the role. It doesn’t create a great impression. So, get your team together before the interview to prepare, and remember that interviewing is a skill, so some inexperienced members might need training.

  1. Considering how you can surprise and delight shortlisted candidates

Think about how you can use your candidate experience to surprise and delight shortlisted candidates and ultimately stand out from the crowd. Some ways we’ve seen this done well include:

  • Organising a car to bring candidates to face-to-face interviews
  • Providing a “candidate concierge” that supports the candidate remotely and when they are on-premises for an interview
  • Sending preparation resources to candidates for remote interviews
  • Assigning a ‘buddy’ – a current employee who can answer questions (and address any doubts!)
  1. Challenging top candidates

Top candidates will appreciate being challenged and asked different interview questions, such as those that involve critical thinking or creativity rather than just reeling off prepared responses. It will show that you have set the bar high and drive home the point that you are serious about hiring great talent.  

In conclusion

Your candidate experience can and will leave a lasting impression, so it’s worth investing in. Today’s technology can help you deliver a winning experience, finding the right candidate while freeing up HR and internal recruitment resources.

Talk to impress.ai today about how our leading AI-driven technology can save you time and money and help you stand out from the crowd.

Key Insights:

  • 78% of candidates say that candidate experience reflects how a company values its people.
  • 60% of job seekers reporting quitting an application due to length or complexity
  • 72% of candidates will post a review of a poor experience
  • Candidate experience can impact your future recruitment efforts and your overall brand reputation.
  • A positive candidate experience will improve the quality of hires
  • Your application process, response times and communication are key areas to revisit
  • Investing in your candidate experience is essential. The right technology can help you streamline your process, save time and money and find the right hires fast.

The Importance of Using Candidate Experience Surveys

“It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.” – Warren Buffett

From the moment candidates apply for one of your vacant roles to when you reject them or extend a job offer,  job seekers have a lot of interactions with your company. This entails a very important part of candidate experience. But first, let’s address the basics- what is candidate experience? And why is it important? 

Candidate experience is the series of interactions that a job seeker has with your company throughout the recruiting process. This includes attracting, sourcing, recruiting, interviewing, hiring, and onboarding. A good candidate experience will make candidates feel like their time has been respected and that there’s transparency and clarity, regardless of the outcome. This basically means that even if the candidate isn’t hired for the job, a positive candidate experience can go a long way.

To improve your candidate experience, you need to know the efficiency of your hiring process. Recruiters are advised to do this by putting themselves in candidates’ shoes by surveying them. Surveys reveal the strengths and weaknesses in each stage of your recruitment cycle, thus, allowing you to refine and improve your recruiting strategy. They can also help you understand what candidates are looking for from their next role. Are there any benefits that you’re not offering? Are there any aspects of your work culture and ethics that aren’t coming through clearly? You’ll never know until you start asking them.

Why is candidate experience worth measuring? 

Companies have been trying to learn candidates’ needs and expectations, and identify the factors that influence their experience the most. This is important for a number of reasons:

  • Candidate experience leads to sales losses. Virgin Records found that they were losing $5million each year due to the impact of their flawed hiring process.
  • An eRecruiter survey showed that two-thirds of employers claim to care about candidate experience at every stage of the recruitment process.
  • At the same time, 57% of candidates say that companies don’t care about people who are applying for a job.
  • The experience a candidate has with a company’s hiring process ultimately impacts a candidate’s decision to accept or decline a job offer.
  • The Talent Board reports that 73% of the candidate was never asked for feedback on their experiences in the application process
  • Candidates increasingly share their experiences with others. Poor candidate experience leads to distrust of your brand

For eg: 72% of job seekers share a poor interview experience on social media. Websites like Glassdoor make the recruitment process very transparent and negative experiences will be publicly shared.

  • Nearly 60% of candidates have had a poor experience, and 72% of them shared the experience either online or with someone directly, according to Career Arc

Certain studies also show that women and underrepresented minorities face challenges related to searching for jobs and interviewing for them that others do not. Learning about their perspective on their candidate experience can help you spot issues in your company’s interview process and identify strategies to address them.
How does a business find out about all of those things? With a candidate experience survey, of course!

What does a candidate experience survey do?

  • It captures the best qualities of your candidates.
  • Helps you become more self-aware of your business and its operation.
  • Gathers anonymous feedback about your hiring process.
  • Identifies the areas that need the most improvement.
  • Boosts your brand by giving something back.

When do you carry out the survey?
Make sure your candidates are informed about the surveys. Deliver a clear statement right at the top of the process to make them aware that you’ll be asking for their help. Informing candidates that you want to gather information about your process anonymously can ensure good chances of receiving unbiased information.

Pre-interview survey

Sending out a survey to candidates, before the interview process, gives you an insight into how your applicants perceive your brand.

This can help you measure the effectiveness of your marketing and advertising, finding out how accurate your job descriptions are, and what information was missing according to your candidates.

Post-interview survey

This helps you to understand the candidate’s experience of the interview process, their first impressions of the business, the areas that candidates considered well managed, and those missing or poorly delivered. The questions that can address areas like the clarity of instructions, how comfortable the candidates were, did they feel confused, belittled, respected, etc.

Final-stage survey

This survey helps to gain an understanding of communication issues and strengths, delivery of detailed information, consistency of information and dwells further into the elements that you missed that the candidates expected to see.

One of the most popular and easiest ways to survey candidate experience is utilizing the Net Promotor Score (NPS) method. This method has been used for years to measure the level of client experience in the field of candidate experience. It can include questions like: How willing would you be to recommend applying to company Y to other candidates on a scale of  0 to 10 (where 0 is “I strongly don’t recommend” and 10 is „I strongly recommend”)?

The final stage can also include a 5-star rating system. impress.ai is one such AI-based recruitment automation company that includes the rating system as part of its recruitment process. The candidate also has an option to give additional feedback. Impress.ai platform also  provides open ended survey questions to capture the candidate experience.

Conclusion:

And finally, none of your results and data is worth anything if you don’t use them to facilitate change in the necessary areas. Identifying your strengths gives you a platform to deliver more, and finding out where you fall short creates opportunities to fix the flaws and fill the gaps in your system.  To do this, recruiters can leverage any AI-based recruitment automation platforms such as impress.ai to capture & make sense of the candidate experience surveys. These platforms will help you identify their strengths, understand areas of improvement, and fix it. This will help to maintain a consistent & positive  candidate experience throughout the recruitment process.

legal risk & artificial intelligence

Legal risks in AI in recruitment and How to avoid them

“We must address, individually and collectively, moral and ethical issues raised by cutting-edge research in artificial intelligence and biotechnology, which will enable significant life extension, designer babies, and memory extraction.”

—Klaus Schwab

Merging recruitment with technological innovation always comes with potential legal risks, and this can occur parallel to the time during which employers are looking for faster, more accurate, and cost-effective recruitment platforms that leverage the latest technological innovations to streamlines the hiring process through artificial intelligence (AI) tools.  

Employers are turning to AI to transform recruitment and generate a seamless hiring process. This includes automating the candidate sourcing, candidate pool screening, and using AI assessment tools, such as conversational chatbots and video interviewing tools that can measure a candidate’s strengths based on factors such as facial expression, word choice, body language, and vocal tone. However, the use of artificial intelligence (AI) and other automated decision-making (ADM) technology doesn’t come without risk. Employers should tread carefully while implementing such HR Tech solutions.

In this article, we examine the legal considerations and safeguards that are currently being undertaken by the United States of America, Europe, and Singapore.

Legal considerations are generally rooted in two areas of law:

Both these laws are heavily disaggregated civil law considerations.

  1. Employment law
    1. The Employment law precedents are also the source of significant tort-based liability (in the US) owing to the low threshold set for discriminatory action.
    2. A big area of concern in employment law is bias and discriminatory effects (as opposed to discriminatory intent as is usually the concern in the human decision.
  2. Privacy Law
    1. Privacy law is increasingly being aggregated under the GDPR framework set out, and the developing landscape of the field makes compliance even more nuanced and imperative. However, in the US there is once again a very low tort liability threshold that opens up the risk of liability much more broadly. 

The two key areas of the Privacy Law to keep in mind: 

  1. AI and The Privacy Paradigm: In a field where personal data is necessary to product functionality, the following concerns occur: Is the privacy threshold raised? If non-discrimination as a result of opt-out isn’t viable, is that still a breach of privacy?
  2. Facial and voice analysis and privacy: Facial analysis in AI recruitment has already come under fire for bias, however, the feature has also been routinely criticised as an invasion of privacy as it performs in-depth analysis that arguably is not possible in a human interface interview. Additionally, the storing, processing, and analysis of biometric data presents another privacy consideration entirely. 
  1.  The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

The EEOC has made clear that employers using AI in their hiring process can be liable for unintended discrimination, and AI vendors regularly include non-liability clauses in their contracts with employers. Therefore, employers need to validate AI tools and take steps to ensure that they do not cause inadvertent discrimination when hiring. Employers should test the capabilities of the AI ​​algorithm in the pilot system to see if the results are biased. For large employers, you can use your company’s, Chief AI Officer. Small employers may prefer to contract with a data scientist. In any case, these individuals need to work with their employer’s attorney to validate the data, check for prejudices, and determine the risk of liability while protecting information in agreement with legal liability.

Although AI has not yet been federally regulated for adoption, Illinois has just passed the first law of its kind, called the Artificial Intelligence Video Interview Act. Beginning January 1, 2020, the law requires employers to analyze candidate video interviews using AI to: 

  • Employers must notify applicants that AI will be used in their video interviews.
  • Employers must explain to applicants how the AI works and what characteristics the AI will be tracking in relation to their fitness for the position. 
  • Employers must obtain the applicant’s consent to use AI to evaluate the candidate.
  • Employers may only share the video interview with those who have AI expertise needed to evaluate the candidate and must otherwise keep the video confidential.
  • Employers must comply with an applicant’s request to destroy his or her interview video within 30 days.
  1. EU and AI use in recruiting and hiring:

EU officials stated that AI technology needs proactive regulation now, as it may become difficult to regulate AI later due to the rapid advances in the technology, and insisted on finding a balance between reasonable, commercial, and operational interests of companies, and privacy and anti-discrimination rights of employees.

  • AI systems providers would need to supply detailed documentation about how their systems work to ensure that they follow the proposed rules and that failure to comply would mean facing penalties and fines of up to 30 million euros (approximately US$36 million) or even higher for large global organizations.
  • If the EU proposal passes, it will create a more standardized, ethical, and transparent approach to using AI in the recruitment and hiring process, noted Eric Sydell, executive vice president of innovation at software company Modern Hire.

The Commission proposes to ban completely AI systems that:

  • manipulate persons through subliminal techniques or exploit the fragility of vulnerable individuals, and could potentially harm the manipulated individual or third person;
  • serve for general purposes of social scoring, if carried out by public authorities; or
  • are used for running real-time remote biometric identification systems in publicly accessible spaces for law enforcement purposes.
  1. Singapore’s AI Governance Framework

Singapore introduced its Model Artificial Intelligence Governance Framework in January 2019 at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos. The two guiding principles of the framework state that decisions made by AI should be “explainable, transparent and fair”; and AI systems should be human-centric. These principles are then developed into four areas of guidance. 

  • The first is establishing or adapting internal governance structures and measures to “incorporate values, risks, and responsibilities relating to algorithmic decision-making”. 
  • The second determines the level of human involvement in AI decision-making and helps organisations decide what their risk appetite is.
  • The third area of guidance focuses on operations management and deals with factors that should be considered when “developing, selecting and maintaining AI models, including data management”.
  •  The final area shares strategies for communicating with stakeholders and management on the use of AI solutions.

The framework translates ethical principles into pragmatic measures that businesses can do.

Why you can trust impress.ai

The European Union (EU) General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a set of industry regulation that became effective on May 25th 2018. The purpose of the legislation was to give EU citizens greater control over the data that they provide online. GDPR covers companies that are operating within the EU and for companies that offer services within the European Union electronically, that track / store personal data in aggregate. With impress.ai operating primarily in non-EU jurisdictions, it provides both GDPR compliant and non-GDPR compliant versions of impress.ai’s’ recruitment automation Software-as-a-Service. Hiring companies, that are clients of impress.ai can require impress ai’s SaaS to be GDPR compliant as part of the service agreement.