Job Candidate Experience Starts with the First Impression

Experience forms a lasting impression. If you go out to a restaurant and wait hours to be served, you probably won’t return to that restaurant any time soon. Or what if the menu isn’t representative of what they actually serve? What if they list a whole bunch of items on the menu that are unavailable when you order? Or what if a restaurant looks the same from the outside, but has changed its decor, menu, and staff so much that it’s really not the same place at all? — it probably wouldn’t be your go-to restaurant for long. 

Just like with restaurants, our experiences when applying for jobs inevitably shape our feelings about those jobs and the companies offering them.

When it comes to recruiting, most companies think about candidate experience from the time a candidate starts interviewing. 

But impressions can be formed far earlier – when a job seeker begins to check out a company and their job opportunities – and form a mental map of the employer based on their experiences – all frequently taking place even before a candidate has any contact with the hiring company. 

If your applicants don’t have a good experience starting from when they first consider your open jobs, they probably won’t accept your job offer.

Let’s say you’re considering going out to eat at a new restaurant in town, but when you try to pull up the menu online the website is broken or it takes you hours to find where the menu is located. That’s a frustrating experience that will impact what you think of that restaurant and may even dissuade you from going to that restaurant in the first place. 

So how can you make sure that what job seekers experience when they are forming their first impressions about your company leads them to apply to your open jobs and be more likely to accept an offer, if their application is successful?

Create stand-out experiences: Candidates looking for jobs today have a wealth of choices. So much so that it can sometimes feel overwhelming. Make your opening stand out by doing something different, don’t use the same tired text-based advertisements that everyone else is doing. 

Using video takes some of the strain off of job-seekers by allowing them to absorb a lot more information, much more quickly with a lot less effort. And it does you favors as well! 

With video, you can more effectively communicate what it is like to work at your company. You can share your values, give candidates a tour and let them hear from your current employees. 

Not only does this help candidates to decide whether they want to apply for your company but it helps you to make sure you’ll find a candidate who fits into your organization if they are hired. 

Show up for job seekers where they spend their time: Today’s job-seeker does their research. And that means checking out your company on more than one platform. 

Make sure all of your digital channels have engaging, up-to-date information, that informs job-seekers. 

Serve up the content that they’re looking for, make it easy for them to find the information that they need. Don’t make them search for answers about the open role, about your company, etc., because if they can’t find what they’re looking for they make look at an entirely different company. Or search somewhere that you lose control of what they find, like Google or Glassdoor. 

If you can keep them on your pages with compelling content, you’ll get to control the narrative around your company.

Honesty, Transparency, Authenticity: Transparency about the job will lead to a better fit. Using video to share your open positions will not only enhance the experience of applicants but also the experience of your eventual hire. Using video to educate and share details about the open role will be a much better barometer for your candidates to judge the position by. 

With more clear information about what their job responsibilities will be like, what their coworkers and workplace are like, they’re much more likely to have realistic expectations about their duties when they accept the job. 

By being honest and authentic in your recruiting materials, your candidates will also be better prepared for the hard parts of the job. 

You’ll avoid hires who quit shortly after accepting the job AND give applicants a better experience. It’s a win-win. 

Of course, candidate experience cannot make up for the whole of the labor shortage, but you can increase the odds that a candidate will say ‘yes’ to your open job by cultivating a winning candidate experience from the start. To attract great candidates, you’ll still need to look at the benefits you offer and make sure they’re competitive in today’s market. But providing a candidate experience that sets your company apart could be the deciding factor when all other things are equal. 

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