Design a Top-Notch Candidate User Experience

In a candidate-driven market, a top-notch user experience is crucial to your recruiting efforts. Is your company’s user experience driving candidates away? Beware if these are the first impressions your company gives veteran job seekers:

“I tried to apply online, but I got sent to another site.”

“I went to a career fair and the recruiter sat behind her table on her phone the whole time.”

“The interviewer was late and distracted.”

“I interviewed several weeks ago but I still haven’t heard anything.”

“I went to a virtual career fair and there was only one person operating several of the chat rooms. I couldn’t get my questions answered.”

###Stats Speak Volumes###

These days, job seekers do not keep their journeys to themselves. The Society of Human Resources Management (SHRM) reports that Talent Board, a nonprofit organization focused on promoting quality candidate experiences, found that candidates share their positive recruiting experiences with their inner circles over 81 percent of the time, and they share their negative experiences 66 percent of the time. Fifty-one percent of candidates also share their positive experiences via social media, while 34 percent share their negative experiences.

Simply put, negative candidate experiences can sink a company’s reputation and even affect the bottom line. If yours is a mess, the world will soon know. Smart employers will spot problem areas to avoid bad word-of-mouth.

###Ask the Hard Questions###

What can you do? Pretend you’re a candidate and take yourself through each step of the experience. Some companies create a “journey map,” which plots out a job seeker’s journey from start to finish in order to spot areas that need improving.

These questions can provide a starting point:

**Is your content linked to social platforms?**

**Where do your jobs live online?**

**What happens when a candidate clicks on one of your jobs?**

**Are candidates routed through an external site that bypasses curated content that you want them to see?**

**Do you have the kind of mobile functionality that allows candidates to browse your job offerings?**

And most importantly:

**Would any aspect of your journey map make any job seeker feel disrespected, or feel like an exercise in futility?** If the answer is yes, then you have some work to do.

###Keep Tweaking###

This is not a once-and-done task to check off your to-do list. The candidate experience should constantly evolve, improving as new information, technology, and feedback are garnered. Take a cue from the military: after every mission, all players participate in an after-action report (AAR), wherein every aspect of the operation is analyzed, adjusted, and improved for the next time.

Candidate feedback can be a fount of valuable information for improvements. Seek opinions from job seekers about their experience. What did they like or dislike about the process? Companies that take the time to continually tweak the job seeker experience will be rewarded with better talent, more loyalty, and a better reputation.