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4 Ways to Prioritize Candidate Experience in 2022

Posted by
Akash Bhat
July 27, 2023

After a two-year slowdown, businesses are eager to shake off the dust of Covid-19 and get back to work. The number of US job postings on Indeed stands at 60.4% higher than the baseline in 2020. Jobs are coming back—that’s the good news.

The not-so-good news? Candidates aren’t.

Indeed reports that job search has increased but is driven by “non-urgent” search from already employed candidates. We’ve always said that the best talent in the market is already working for someone else. They may be looking and some may even be interested, but they are in no hurry. More importantly, the pandemic has changed the way people think about work. Employers cannot afford to ignore these changes.

If you have aggressive hiring goals for 2022, here are four ways to get top talent to pick you over the competition.

1. Think of your JD as a marketing pitch

Job Descriptions used to be pretty standard, covering two sections: key roles and responsibilities; desired skills and experience. Candidates who felt they fit the bill would apply. Recruiters would screen and move them to the interview process.

Today, the best candidates in the market are not just applying for a job—they are also evaluating you as an employer. To stand out from the competition and make a great first impression, you need to rethink your JDs.

The JD is a great way to market your organization and the role to a potential employee. So, go beyond what you want from candidates and give them the information they need to evaluate you. This can include an outline of the selection process, notes on company culture or a breakdown of what a typical day for the candidate would look like. Here is a great example of a 'How we hire' guide from Google.

Levels, a metabolic health startup from New York, has gone a step further. Their JD lists reasons a candidate would like or dislike working with them along with a detailed guide to their interview process. That’s as transparent as it can get!

Lastly, keep the voice in your JD conversational and friendly. Let your brand personality and voice reflect in what you say. This will help the candidate get a feel for the company culture from the get-go.

2. Make your hiring mobile-friendly

We do everything on our phones: sleep tracking, fitness classes, shopping, meditation…and now, job search and applications too. An Appcast analysis of 7 million US job applications showed that for the first time ever, more people applied via mobile devices (60.7%) than desktops (39.3%).

Whether it’s a job-search alert they set up or an outreach email you send, candidates are more likely to be reading it on their phones. When they click and come through to your job listings page, they expect a seamless digital experience. So make your entire application process—browsing openings, reading JDs, applying, tracking applications, making referrals—mobile-friendly.

This not only creates a great candidate experience but also increases conversions. For example, with our two-way text recruiting platform Sense Messaging, recruiting teams see an average response rate of 51%. Recruiters can send both personalized messages (Hey Taylor, are you interested in fullstack developer roles in Atlanta/remote?) and broadcasts (Reminder: the Women’s Day recruitment drive is tomorrow from 9AM. Details & registration here: <link>).

3. Eliminate the candidate black hole with conversational AI

Thanks to rapid advances in AI and natural language processing (NLP), more companies are willing to integrate conversational AI chatbots into their hiring process. Research has consistently shown that when companies deploy chatbots on their career site, they report higher candidate satisfaction and an increased flow of applicants.

In fact, one of America's fastest-growing logistics companies, which recently deployed the Sense AI Chatbot, reported a 94% candidate satisfaction rating and a 3X increase in applicants engaged.

What explains conversational AI's popularity? The answer is simple. Candidates dread the job-search black hole. When they apply or send a job inquiry, they expect a prompt response. But many have to wait for days or weeks to get even the most basic information. Fortunately, AI chatbots are available 24/7 to engage candidates whenever they show interest. They can provide critical information, match candidates to relevant openings, screen for fitment and even schedule qualified candidates for an interview—all in minutes. Not only does this add up to a much better candidate experience, but it also results in a significant reduction in recruiter time spent.

4. Build flexibility and empathy into your hiring process

This interesting post-pandemic hiring guide describes the workplace of today as ‘dynamic, digital, flexible and more likely to reflect the views of the outside world than ever before.’ Two years of the pandemic have brought work right into our homes. The experience of balancing the two and drawing boundaries has given today’s professionals clarity on what they want and don’t want.

According to Microsoft’s 2021 Work Trend Index report, 73% of employees want flexible work options. 94% of employees, especially Gen Z and millennials, want their employers to invest in their learning and development. Remote work has opened up access to a diverse talent pool that craves inclusion, authenticity and connection.

The bottom line is, when wooing top candidates for open roles, think beyond salary. Build flexibility into the process so that your recruiters have leverage during candidate engagement. If you find a great candidate for a niche role that prefers to work remotely, be open to that. Have a flexible benefits programme that lets candidates choose what they want. For some, an attractive learning budget would be a great incentive; for others, extra PTO might be. When hiring for senior or leadership roles, have deep conversations with the candidate to understand their strengths and interests. You can even co-create the JD with them.

Most importantly, use social media to boost your employer brand. According to Rally, candidates are engaging far more (174% more!) with social media content about people and culture than with job-related ones (engagement down 62%). So, go beyond job openings and talk about your values, life at work, L&D opportunities and other people-oriented initiatives. All of it need not come from the corporate pages—rope in employees at every level to share their unique, authentic experiences on their personal social media handles. Don’t be afraid to run polls and ask for suggestions/feedback. When you signal an open, trusting, empathetic culture, candidates will sit up and notice.

BONUS READ: Attracting and hiring the right candidates is a long game that starts way before candidates hit that Apply button. In this e-book, we’ve put together six actionable steps to get your candidate engagement strategy up and running. Download it here.

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