It’s no secret: candidate experience matters.
According to a new CareerBuilder study, almost four out of five job seekers view candidate experience as an indicator of how a company treats their employees. And one of the things they value most? Communication.
I mean, can you blame them?
The job application process is the first point of contact a potential hire has with your company — and making a good first impression can set the tone for top talent from the moment they stumble on your job posting, to when they begin their on-boarding process. And if they never hear from you at all, well, what kind of first impression is that?
So, let’s go on a little journey. In the first part of this series, we’ll outline how employers can engage with potential employees during the pre-apply process, long before your recruiters even see a candidate’s resume. According to the study, the 30 percent of job seekers say the pre-apply process can hurt their overall candidate experience — so it’s a piece of the puzzle worth paying attention to.
This is the point in the job search process where candidates begin to consider where they want to work, and what opportunities would best suit them:
Job Boards: Are your job openings positioned in areas where top talent are looking? For employers, pinpointing the types of candidates you’re looking for and positioning your job openings across the right mediums is essential.
Along with standard job boards, also consider:
- Job sites specific to your company’s industry or desired skill sets
- Visibility on your company career site
- Showcasing your open positions across your company social media channels
Job Descriptions: According to CareerBuilder, 53 percent of candidates want an employer to list how they plan to communicate with applicants as part of their job description. Providing a strong, well-worded job description can give a candidate an honest overview of job requirements, as well as set their expectations for their hiring journey with your company overall.
Note: Google for Jobs’ new search function also prioritizes the “most complete job descriptions” as it aggregates job openings from across the Web. Though it’s not immediately clear how Google evaluates this, it’s important to consider when tailoring your job descriptions to fit specific keywords potential job seekers may be searching for when applying to a job.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO): When looking to increase your job description visibility, get in the mind of your job applicant. What words would they use to search for your particular job opening? Using these “keywords” in your job description will help Google identify your post as something of interest to those searching for those particular terms, and help bring your job listing to the forefront. You can also use Google Analytics to see which keywords come up the most often for your company pages or job descriptions, offering insights on which words to target.
As we’ve written about before, once top talent have identified companies and job openings they are interested in, they will begin to research companies in order to decide if your company is a place they can actually see themselves working. It’s at this stage in the job seeker journey where strong employer branding really comes into play.
- Company Careers Site: According to CareerBuilder, 89 percent of job seekers cited an employer’s career site as an important outlet for job research. For employers, it’s a great place to showcase your company’s values, workplace culture, benefits and employee testimonials — giving job seekers a more in-depth look at what’s offered beyond the job description.
- Employer Review Sites: Job seekers will turn to sites like Glassdoor for peer reviews and other employee insights — so as an employer, it’s important to keep and eye (and ear) on what’s being heard through the grapevine.
- Social Media: Social media is another tool companies can use to showcase their company culture, highlight news and engage with potential hires — especially when targeting younger demographics that are more likely to search for employment opportunities on their mobile device. Some companies, like McDonalds, are even turning to social media channels to advertise job openings — and allow top talent to apply right on the spot.
Positioning your company in a way that provides a positive experience for candidates before they even apply sets a precedent for your company’s image as a whole. It also can help attract higher-quality talent, who take the time to research your company before diving into the application process.
So, what’s next?
In our next post, we continue our journey into the world of post-apply — with tips on how to engage top talent, keep them informed, and avoid that dreaded “black hole.”
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