A Look at the Candidate Experience Life Cycle (Part 1)

The Candidate Experience Doesn’t Stop When You Hire the Employee

The candidate experience doesn’t stop when a job seeker becomes an employee. Your courting, engagement and messaging continues throughout the entire employee life cycle every single day. I call this re-recruiting with the primary catalyst being a front line manager who has the most influence on employees. Executive and senior leadership communication is just as important and should be frequent with human resources playing their part in employee relations and internal communication and benefit marketing campaigns.

Candidate experience from the recruiting side of the house is slightly different with the recruiter being the most influential person the candidate will engage with in the weeks prior to their start date and even the first thirty days of being an employee. This is because of a baseline of trust and relationship that has been established between the two parties making a recruiter’s role in the success of retention, hiring as well as employment branding efforts more important than many are willing to admit.

The human capital and employee life cycle process is cyclical meaning that it is moving in cycles, evolving and changing. Like your company’s business strategy, it’s a moving target. Your candidate experience should be the same exact way. Candidates move through a similar cycle with a number of touches happening along the way. I call this the human touch cycle where recruiters, HR or employment marketing campaigns “touch” or “reach” the job seeker a number of different channels whether a job fair, social media or a referral from a friend. The path to candidate is different and unique for each prospect which makes it challenging to anticipate the actions that led the candidate to initiate a buying action by applying for a job.

How to Improve Your Candidate Experience

Measuring the touches that led to buying actions are a challenge, but it can be done. Relying on your candidates to self-identify the referral source is an unreliable option up to 83% of ATS referral information is inaccurate. There has to be a better way.

Survey your candidates & new hires. Just like in marketing, it pays to understand and research your target audience you are trying to reach. I recommend using an online survey to gather basic facts, habits and information before you begin arranging for focus groups to better understand the recipe for success to reach candidates who are the most likely to become employees.

Mystery shop your competition & yourself. Quarterly, recruiters should be applying for jobs of the competition while simultaneously evaluating their own recruiting processes. I call this mystery shopping their company. Have a trusted member of your team apply at competitor companies and audit their recruiting activities including social media, job boards, job fairs and college recruiting. See how they stack up to your own. How effectively are you as well as your competition engaging job seekers and where are they focusing the majority of their recruiting efforts? All these answers will help you build a more strategic and effective targeted recruiting strategy.

Use cookies & url coding to track your candidate source. Companies who allow candidates to self-identify the referral source are jeopardizing the quality of their referral data as well as the effectiveness of their future recruiting campaigns. Work with your applicant tracking system or other HR technology to create cookies or unique urls for each individual job opening and each source you are distributing. This means creating a unique url for Twitter campaigns from Facebook, Pinterest and other referral platforms to track the amount of candidate activity you have versus candidate conversions meaning those that apply.

This is a four part series that deep dives into the candidate experience. 

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Jessica Miller-Merrell

Learn more about Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR, SHRM-SCP, the founder of Workology, a workplace HR resource, and the host of the Workology Podcast. More of her blogs can be found here.

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