Candidate Experience

33 Candidate Experience Recruitment Lessons From The Pros

Profile photo of Kaitlyn Holbein
Written by Kaitlyn Holbein
33 Candidate Experience Recruitment Lessons From The Pros
5 (100%) 8 votes

At our first virtual conference, Let’s RallyFwd™ to Humanize the Candidate Experience, the Rally community was fortunate to have amazing speakers share their hard-earned candidate experience lessons with us. There was so much great info packed into 3.5 hours at RallyFwd, that I wanted to re-watch the RallyFwd™ sessions on demand to create this Giant list of our speakers’ insights. I hope their lessons provide you with the inspiration to continue improving the candidate experience at your organization!

Jeanne Bliss

Founder and President, Customer Bliss

1. Treat candidates like you would treat your mother. You have the power to improve candidates’ lives by being transparent and treating candidates with respect and kindness (the same way you’d treat your mother!) throughout every stage of your hiring process. This creates a stand-out candidate experience that will improve employer brand perception and encourage candidates to join your company or continue to be loyal customers.

2. Avoid “bar of soap” moments. Remove what makes it hard to be a candidate. Focus on eliminating pain points that cause fear or worry during the hiring process. An important piece of this is to avoid the dreaded “black hole” experience: make sure candidates hear back from you when they expect to and that they feel their time is valued.

3. Create a “you know me” experience for candidates. Don’t make candidates re-introduce themselves at every stage of the journey. Create processes and implement technologies that encourage strong communication between your recruiter and hiring managers, for instance, so candidates aren’t repeating themselves over and over again. 

Want more from Jeanne? Watch Jeanne Bliss’ RallyFwd opening keynote, Would You Do That to Your Mother?

Craig Fisher

Head of Marketing and Employer Brand, Allegis Global Solutions

4. Be more human. High-touch beats high-tech. Find ways to make your candidate experience more personable.

5. Provide 5:1 gives to asks on social media. Encourage your employees to humanize your organization by sharing things about their work life on social media. Craig recommends people share 5 things about themselves or their employer for every 1 ask they make of their network (such as, apply for a job).

6. Focus on employee branding instead of employer branding. Job candidates interact with employees better than brands. Give your employees the tools to brand themselves, and it will have a huge impact on your organization’s brand too.

Watch Craig Fisher’s RallyFwd session, What Your Social Content Says to Candidates.

Jess Schuster

Candidate Engagement & Experience Manager, Northwell Health

7. Rome wasn’t built in a day. It takes a long time to figure out a strategy, map the candidate journey and create enough content to personalize the candidate experience. Be patient with yourself, make a plan and take things day by day. Take your time to get it right. 

8. Use a personalized omni-channel approach to promote content. Provide content in different places, like by email, social media, on your career site and via programmatic ads. You’re more likely to get a candidate to see and engage with a piece of content if they encounter it more than once. 

9. Keep updating information so repeat site visitors will stay engaged. Northwell Health puts out career progression stories every week on their social media channels. Updating enhanced job descriptions and career sites regularly with new content keeps candidates coming back for more. 

Watch Jess Schuster’s RallyFwd session, You Get Me: How a Personalized Career Site Boosts the Candidate Experience.

Shari Conaway

Senior Director, People Department, Southwest Airlines 

10. Treat your candidates as consumers – because you want to be able to have your candidates become customers! Have people walk away feeling good about themselves and the process, even if they didn’t land the role.

11. Hire for attitude. Teach your team to hire people that already have your company’s values. You can’t teach someone to be nice or fun-loving, it has to be part of who they are already. But you can train the rest.

12. Leverage your people as recruiters. Your employees are your best brand advocates. Aim to get them out there talking about what it’s like to work at your company so candidates get the information they need from a reliable source. 

Watch Shari Conaway’s RallyFwd session, Showing Heart: When Candidates Are Your Customers.

John Turner

HR Tech Analyst, Trilogy Health Services

13. Take your time. When considering investing in a new technology to boost your candidate experience, take your time picking the right vendor and rolling out the tool. It’s worth doing your research and getting your team comfortable to ensure the technology is successful for you.

14. Keep it simple. Don’t complicate your communications to candidates. Keep the message personalized and make sure you have a call to action in each message.

15. Get creative with what you have. Think about some of the needs you have in your organization and consider some of the different ways you can use common communication tools (like text and email) to improve the candidate experience.

Watch John Turner’s RallyFwd session, Make Candidates : -) Using Text to Respond (And Hire) Faster

Mallory Brown

Product Marketing Manager, Glassdoor 

16. Make it easy for candidates to identify if they’re a fit. Create and update recruiting channels that candidates are using with the information they need to know to make an assessment about your company culture and the opportunities they’re interested in. Candidates want the real scoop on what it’s like to work for you.

17. Informed candidates = quality candidates. Informed candidates make better hires than the average job seeker because they have the information to apply thoughtfully to roles that are a good fit for them. On top of that, they have more realistic expectations coming into your company, meaning they’re likely to be engaged and will stay with your organization longer.

18. Update your channels with content that answers candidates’ concerns and questions. Examples of common questions you should aim to answer include: What does your company do? What does your interview and hiring process look like? What career paths and growth opportunities exist? What’s in it for me if I join your company (the employer value proposition)?

Watch Mallory Brown’s RallyFwd session, Recruiting Informed Candidates: How Anticipating & Answering Questions Helps You Hire Better.

Colleen Finnegan

Manager of Employer Brand and Recruitment Marketing, Squarespace 

19. Differentiate your brand. Determine what makes you stand apart from other companies as an employer.

20. Tell your story. Once you know what sets your organization apart, use this as the basis for the employer brand narrative you share across your platforms.

21. Track your success. Measurement is critical! If you’re not tracking how you’re doing and how many people are joining your company because of your efforts, you can’t advocate for how important your work is and how it’s helping your company grow.

Watch Colleen’s full session, Leveraging Your Employees to Humanize Your Brand.

Jared Nypen

Director of Talent Acquisition, Great Clips

22. Be authentic. Let your employees share what it’s like to work at your organization with candidates. We didn’t know what to expect when we started our video series “How Great Begins,” but the videos have been really effective because they are real stories that make an emotional connection. Your stories don’t need to be overproduced either, you can use your mobile device and tools like Facebook Live and Instagram stories.

23. Use a variety of content and don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Tell candidates about what it’s like to work at your company in different ways: using blog posts, pictures, videos and other content types. If you have content that doesn’t capture candidates’ attention as well as you would have hoped that’s okay too, because you’ll learn what works and what doesn’t! Don’t be afraid to try new things and make mistakes.

24. Don’t send too many emails to candidates! Watch your email unsubscribe rate. If candidates are getting too many mails from you, they may opt out of the communications. The unsubscribe rate can be a good indicator of how often you should be sending out nurture emails to candidates.

Charlotte Jones

Recruitment Marketing Leader, Lockheed Martin

25. Focus on the “what’s in it for me.” In every communication you send to candidates, think through what they’re getting out of the message and put that front and center to encourage them to take the time to read or watch the content. You should make your call to action equally clear, so candidates also know what to do after engaging with your messaging.

26. Keep your message short and sweet. Focus on fewer words and more visuals to capture candidates’ attention.

27. Personalize your message. Use auto-population tools to use candidates first names in emails. Customize and modify your language depending on the audience; you might speak to college students differently than more tenured professionals.

Watch Jared Nypen’s and Charlotte Jones’ RallyFwd panel, You Have Mail: Communicating With Candidates Like a Marketer.

Adam Glassman

Employment Brand Manager, Cox Enterprises

28. Technology can humanize your candidate experience. For example, a chatbot concierge can provide a faster response time to candidates at the start of the process, so they aren’t waiting days for a member of your recruitment team to respond to a question.

29. Identify your advocates. When trying to get a new technology off the ground to improve your candidate experience, try to pick some recruiters who can be your early adopters. Look for people who like technology and who are willing to do anything to boost your company’s candidate experience. Their voice will help others to pick up the technology too.

30. When implementing a new technology, focus on brand and messaging. To provide a good experience for candidates engaging with a new technology, you need to connect the dots so that they have a seamless experience and get the right impression of your brand.

Watch Adam Glassman’s RallyFwd session, How Chatbots Can Make Your Company More Human.

Trevor Higgs

Director of Candidate Experience, Johnson & Johnson

31. Technology can help you avoid a bad candidate experience. Technology isn’t the answer for everything, but it can help improve your candidate experience in a lot of ways. For instance, you can use technology to help track and stick to standard operating procedures. This can ensure that there is consistency in terms of how many days it takes recruiters to respond to candidates or close out with candidates who didn’t get a job.

32. Design counts. The interface and design of a technology platform or career site is super important. Candidates will notice a good, seamless design and it will encourage people to think of your company in a positive light. In today’s digital-first environment, it’s worth taking the time to get the visuals right.

33. A fragmented experience is a bad experience. If you have too many tools and systems and candidates are jumping from platform to platform, that can be a poor experience. Even if you’re using multiple platforms, there are ways to brand them so they look like one consistent experience. Or, maybe it’s time to consolidate your technologies so the experience is smoother and less confusing.

Watch Trevor’s RallyFwd closing keynote session, How a Transparent Experience Helps Johnson & Johnson Shine.

We hope you found these candidate experience lessons useful and inspirational! All of the RallyFwd™ sessions can be watched on demand. We’d love to hear what you think. Share your favorite lesson with us on Twitter @Rally_RM or on the Rally Recruitment Marketing Facebook page.

33 Candidate Experience Recruitment Lessons From The Pros
5 (100%) 8 votes

About the Author

Profile photo of Kaitlyn Holbein

Kaitlyn Holbein

Rally Content Contributor, and employer brand & recruitment marketing consultant with The Employer Brand Shop.

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