For hiring professionals, it’s deflating to see a great candidate abandon their application or simply stop responding. On the flip side, many candidates are left in “application limbo” wondering whether or not they are still being considered—often leading to a frustrated email or phone call. These are often symptoms of a poor candidate experience. But with so much recruiting to do, how are you supposed to work on the big picture? Enter the Candidate Experience Manager: someone who is devoted to the candidate at every step of the process.
What is a Candidate Experience Manager?
A Candidate Experience Manager is an HR professional responsible for understanding, facilitating, and improving the process of applying to work for your company. This means dissecting the end-to-end application process, proactively communicating with candidates, responding to candidates quickly, seeking feedback on the entire candidate experience, and recommending improvements based on that feedback. A Candidate Experience Manager helps balance your tools and processes with the personal touch necessary for a great candidate experience. They will help refine the tools candidates use to apply, as well as guide candidates through the process with proactive communication and great responsiveness.
How a Candidate Experience Manager Helps Recruiting
The candidate experience may seem like a small part of your overall talent acquisition operation, but it can actually have a huge impact on your business. Happier candidates leads to happier employees, which has proven effects on productivity and revenue. Read on to learn more about the benefits of optimizing the candidate experience.
With a great Candidate Experience Manager, you can fill open positions faster. A long, complex application process will cause more candidates to abandon the application and move on to the next prospect. As you simplify your application process—with the help of a candidate experience manager who knows what applicants want—more candidates will see it through. This larger applicant pool will speed up not only this hire, but also the next one.
Speed Up Time-to-Productivity
Time-to-productivity is often overlooked as a recruitment metric, but it’s a key way to predict short-term retention. New, eager employees drop off at staggering rates when they spend all of their time on paperwork, administrative tasks, IT setup, and training at their new job. When Recruiters and Candidate Experience Managers stay connected during onboarding (and beyond!), new hires feel more included and stay longer. This means better retention rates, as well as employees who get up to speed and contribute faster.
Make a Great Impression on Candidates
These days, the candidate experience is part of your brand, and its impact goes far beyond HR. Almost 70% of people surveyed by CareerBuilder said they are more likely to buy from a company they applied to if they’re treated with respect throughout the application process. Making a great impression on candidates helps attract top talent, as well as encourage strong candidates who are initially rejected to apply for something else at your company in the future. A candidate experience manager can help you engage with candidates from application to onboarding and beyond—the key to a great experience.
Build a Positive Brand
Word spreads quickly when the candidate experience is bad. More than 75% of workers said they would tell friends and family about a bad experience with a potential employer, and almost 20% said they would post about it on social media. Sites like Glassdoor make it easier than ever to share an experience—either positive or negative—with other potential applicants. Your candidate experience manager can help you build your recruiting reputation by:
- Responding quickly to applications
- Responding quickly to questions or requests for follow-up information
- Proactively communicating with applicants
- Following up quickly after an interview (whether the applicant is accepted or rejected)
- Providing positive feedback on rejected applicants
- Encouraging rejected applicants to apply for a position in the future
Understand What the Role Needs
In order to understand which employees will mesh well with others, you need the input of the people they’ll be working alongside. A Candidate Experience Manager can work with future teammates and managers to understand what professional skills are most important, what personality traits are the best fit, and how the team works together. If possible, let the future manager (or even a future teammate) participate in the interview so candidates can experience their potential colleagues firsthand. (In fact, more than half of candidates think the most important person to meet during an interview is their future manager, according to the 2015 Talent Trends report from LinkedIn.)
Personalize the Candidate Experience
Technology has automated much of the candidate experience. This is great for communicating quickly and reaching top talent from afar, but it’s not always great for making a personal connection. A candidate experience manager adds the personal touch you need to balance out technology and automation. With proactive emails and phone calls, they stay connected to applicants in personal ways that enrich the candidate experience. They are the face of your company during the recruiting process, which is better than any form letter can do.
Free Up Your Recruiters
As an HR professional, you probably already know how important the candidate experience is, and you know what you want to do to improve it. The problem is just finding the time to do everything you want to. Your recruiters are busy finding great candidates in your Applicant Tracking System (ATS), posting new positions, placing ads, talking to hiring managers, scheduling interviews, and so much more—all while trying to follow up with candidates. That’s where a candidate experience manager can help. Let your recruiters focus on recruiting while your candidate experience manager focuses on:
- Proactively communicating with candidates
- Following up with candidates at key points in the process
- Providing feedback to a candidate after rejection
- Surveying candidates about ways to improve the application process
- Collecting data to share key metrics with HR stakeholders
- Streamlining the application process
- Collecting information to support recruiting efforts
Is It Time To Hire a Candidate Experience Manager?
If you don’t have a candidate experience manager yet, think about the following questions:
- Are we moving too slow for the best candidates?
- Are people abandoning their applications because the process is too difficult?
- Are people abandoning their applications because they never heard from us?
- Are our recruiters juggling too many responsibilities?
- Are we leaving our candidates in the dark?
If you answered yes to any of the above, it might be time to hire a candidate experience manager. Resources are limited and it’s important to prioritize, but never underestimate how the candidate experience affects your entire organization. A great experience leads to great hires (who are happier and stay longer), which lifts up every single department.